For a ski bum photographer like me to go on a heli ski trip in the ski dream land haines alaska is a pure phantasy , a dream alike seeing unicorn shitting rainbows. That was until i met with christian cabanilla in chamonix ….after a few days showing him the best of chamonix , a road trip thru switzerland and a month worth of a platonic internet relationship he made it clear that i will enjoy the AK powder this year. Wether i want it or not. i am happily kidnapped. He hooked me up with seaba (south east alaska backcountry adventure) , organized my itinary , paid for my lodging and a month worth of food. When i arrived in juneau, we immediatly floated to haines where i met with the seaba crew and the fort seward lodge . I was thrilled and exited , everyone there is hearthy, genuine and are characters. The guides, the cooks , the owners every one is the embodiement of awesome. There are no plain , boring persona. The fort seward lodge is unique and it is clear that you are here to ski. You could easily compare seaba/ fort seward lodge with chamonix. It has the same vibe the same kind of people. A skier’s dream. The first 5 days were shitty weather :we went slednecking , met with awesome locals. Chris was sick for 2 days which i spent making a cattrack with nick trimble (one of the owner of seaba) for future catskiing. When the first clear day came up, i was hired by guests to take picture of their day. That day was my first day skiing AK, my eyes wide open looking at the endless snowporn in front of me. . The second day, cab and myself were given a seat with 2 AK locals who come and ski here frequently. They are good riders so the pace is fast and the runs bigger and steeper. I am skiing the dream: Haines, AK. Cab is so stoked to see me having a blast . living the dream. …. But. Unicorns dont exist and the fuckin ridge broke off. In 3 seconds i fell off from heaven thru the 300 meter asshole of hell and with no rainbows. Its like a nightmare, an out of body experience. I could see my body bounce off stuff and fall thru darkness. Painless but frightening. Cab is dead. And im here in haines ak, in his house , in his bed, in the middle of his clothes . Broken up, heart broken and completly lost. I was not expecting a 7 days trip in haines. it was more a month worth of skiing a safer-than-cham snow heaven . but destiny decided otherwise i guess, the bitch. why so short? why chris?. WHY now?
The seaba crew and guests helped me a lot recovering, trying to see the light. I m poping oxy like candies. Drinking beers smoking. Trying to figure out what to do, what to think, what to understand. What did i learn from cab’s death, from that fuckin accident. Nothing really. Or nothing i didnt know already. I will go back to haines . To the fort seward lodge skiing with seaba. (well! without cab’s loving generosity it might just stay a dream. )
Time will take care of the my loss: Chris Cabanilla. my beloved friend. my brother in arms. it’s been way to short, i had important stuff to tell you . you had to show me your playground. fuck. it sucks. rest in peace.i am swimming in a dark cloud.
For now, i am trying to heal and I cant wait to get back on my skis and honor Chris Canabilla with skiing the rad and fast.
here are some pictures. unfortunately, i only had 2 days riding and i thought i had a months shooting lifestyle…so its limited to a few runs…