A Look Behind NOTHING. – Photos and words by Brad Andrew
Life is about people. We’re Nothing without people. As we travel along our walk of life, no singular object can bring more lasting happiness and joy to us than the people that join us along the way. People enrich us and inspire us to dream a little bigger and push a little harder as we travel the path along that journey.
Parker White is one of those people that is part of my journey, just as am I part of his. So when I found out last fall Parker was going to be living in Glacier, Washington and shredding Mt. Baker for the winter I was Michael Jacked-son! Parker’s fast and aggressive skiing style meshes seamlessly with the terrain at Mt. Baker so it only seemed fitting that he would make it home base for his upcoming film project with Level 1 cinematographer Freedle Coty entitled Nothing. Over the course of the winter I tagged along for a bit with Parker on his journey documenting some of what went on in front of the lens when the cameras were rolling.
I won’t lie, it did involve some dream days with stellar conditions and all star crews, but it also involved a lot more of the classic wet stormy days the northwest is famous for. The days where the precipitation is crashing to the ground in some obscure semblance of snowfall even though the temps are hovering around 34º Fahrenheit. Once this “snow” makes contact with the snowpack it quickly consolidates into what resembles smooth fast curing wet concrete. It’s wet and if you’re ill-prepared it will quickly soak you to the bone and put an early end to your day. Battling these elements is part of living and working in the mountains of the Northwest and having the best outerwear becomes essential because we all know it’s oftentimes the stormy wet days when the magic really happens. Staying warm and dry becomes paramount to success. It can mean the difference in getting the shot or not. Parker was prepared for the slogs. The majority of Paker’s season was spent rocking the new GORE-TEX SMARTY® 3-in-1 Weapon Jacket paired with everyone’s favorite bib in the game, the GORE-TEX Dispatch Bib. The combo is the gold standard and allowed Parker to push on all day long.
Some of the moments that really stand out from the days I spent with Parker were on the aforementioned gray wet days. After spending nearly 30 years on the slopes at Baker, these will always be the days I live for. The snow is always smooth when untracked and the crowds are sparse. We watched the temps warm and snow turn to mist many days but that never stopped Parker. He skis with such strength, power, and poise that sometimes I get the feeling snow conditions were the least of his concerns. He understands his place on the mountain, and when the time is right, it’s right.
It was right on this day and even though the snow conditions were marginal at best, Parker did what he came to do. The snow forced Parker to take a second try to get this backflip even though he stomped it the first try. It was so big and the snow was so wet and compact that when he landed the first attempt his skis violently exploded off his feet upon impact. Soft heavenly powder and it would have been one and done, but the snow was far from that and Parker just casually tightened up his bindings, hiked back up, and stomped it. Parker’s mental poise is otherworldly. I felt like I was going to have to get knee surgery from just watching the second go knowing how firm the snow was. This was one of the many hammers Parker put down on the days when a lot of people just pack it up and head home.
He never lost the drive to get the shots and kept pushing on, full of stoke, warm and dry, with an ear-to-ear grin.
Aside from all the gray days and stormy powder, we were blessed with two rare back-to-back sunny days in mid-February. We saw sporadic sunshine on other days, but the days I spend with Parker, the sun shone from sun up to sun down only for those two days. Those had to have been some of the most memorable days. Forest Bailey was in town staying at Parker’s place so he joined the crew and the magic moments happened. In the AM we stacked out the Hemis Gap and the crew went to town. Parker capped off the jump session in true Parker form stomping this crazy awkward trick called a Barani.
That’s what I love about Parker. He does Parker and Parker only. Watching Parker ski is really amazing.
After the kicker session, Parker got to scoping some lines and ripped this flowing turn around the dog head lurking in the shadows.
The wheels started turning. Watching the way Parker flows on the snow is far more reminiscent of a snowboarder milking out surfy turns than that of a skier. Seeing as Parker is a ripping snowboarder and skater, it’s easy to see why, but it was that fluid moment that gave me the idea to create another moment. So Parker and Forest hiked up and ripped a turn together and enjoyed a run. For me that moment conveyed togetherness and that regardless if you ski or board, we are all here to enjoy mountains together. It actually worked out perfect and I even had the lens cap off my camera to capture it.
Those were two amazing days in the mountains. Watching Parker and Forest work as one and be in that moment felt so right; I couldn’t help but smile.
The camaraderie and energy created between them was nearly tangible. Fire feeds fire after all and both these guys got the fire.
After the sun set on that second day it was back to storms. A lot of the days just blur together. Parker was on a mission to create and make Nothing happen and a lot of times nothing was happening riding the chairlifts at the ski area. We had some stellar days just lapping and Freedle captured some amazing moments with the dad cam in his pocket. Watching Parker blast through some of the lines one day in particular made me think Parker was riding a different mountain.
The snow was falling in droves but it was shallow with an ice layer lurking a few inches below. You would never know it by watching Parker ski it.
It was almost as if he was floating above the snow and made 4” look like waist deep.
The winter season was abruptly cut short this year but Nothing is now something. Exactly what Nothing is, you can see for yourself but I can guarantee you this, it will inspire you to get out and ski and snowboard this winter. Parker White is a man of many talents. He is also a great human and friend that has enriched my journey. That is something to me.