I've spent my fair share of time as a visitor in the little Kootenay town of Rossland, British Columbia. In the Winter it boasts one of the most epic ski-hills in North America, with ridiculously deep and steep powder. In the Summer the notoriously outdoorsy inhabitants can be found hiking through the woods, swimming in the lake or taking in all the alpine glory the Seven Summit's bike trail has to offer. The vibe is unquestionably laid back and friendly, and upon arrival all visitors are greeted with hugs and baked goods, or maybe that's just my personal experience, but it's worth putting to the test.
Credit: Words and Video by Liam Mullany // Absolute Zero
With such a vast quantity of outdoor activities pumping through this town's veins, it only seems fitting that the byproduct would be a few talented individuals being pumped out as well. Mike Hopkins has been traveling the globe first as a professional skier and then more prominently as a professional mountain biker for the better part of a decade. Despite the glitz and glamour associated with traveling the World on private jets and sipping Dom Perignon out of bejeweled camelback hydration packs (is that accurate Mike?), there's nothing quite like returning to your childhood home and revisiting the places and memories associated with those formative years.
So in I came as a transient cinematographer for the week to shoot both a short profile piece as part of the "Over the Edge" series I'm working on, as well as a teaser for Mike's secret project code-named "Imagination Station" (more on that later). Bruno Long, fresh off his first cover on Powder Magazine's latest issue came out for a portion of the week to get in on some of the action. The theme for the episode was revisitation, so in addition to spending a fleeting hour on top of Seven Summit's, we decided to go back and spend some early morning's on the trail we had previously shot for Mike's "Loam Factory" video, as well as returning to the epic forest he had shot for Life Cycles.
The result became this short piece: "Mike Hopkins - Homecoming"
It's been about 4 years since Derek Frankowski and Ryan Gibb shot the opening riding sequence to Life Cycles in this radioactive green zone the guys named "Green Turkey." As we walked through fields and climbed through bushes to get from Mike's truck to the zone, I watched the environment change almost suddenly from the standard Kooteny forest into what seemed like flawless doppleganger for Japan. Although I was told the prime-time for photogenic green vibrance was mid-July, the subtle mid-September transition out of Summer was pumping out some seriously banger colors in its own right. We only had a few hours to get what we could, and despite the picturesque nature of the strip of trail, the biggest trick was trying to avoid poaching the exact angles from the movie. It would basically be a case of walking around a berm for a while, finally seeing something that looked perfect - followed by a sudden realization that I had seen that exact shot somewhere before...
But once we moved past those small hindrances, Mike got busy doing what he does best - absolutely destroying berms - and before anybody interjects about the disrespectful nature of his riding towards those poor corners, in the words of someone somewhere's dad, "I brought you into this world so I can take you out."