British Columbia

Squamish snowboarder soars on film shot in Sea-to-Sky backcountry

Twenty-four-year-old Ryan Paterson is making a name for himself in the world of snowboard filming.

24-year-old Ryan Paterson is making a name for himself in the world of snowboard filming

24-year-old Ryan Paterson of Squamish is a featured rider in a soon-to-be-released snowboard video. (crispincannon.com)

It isn't that Ryan Paterson hated organized sport or being on the provincial snowboard team. 

It's just that what he's doing now — unorganized sport, you could call it  — is so much more fun and satisfying.

"Some people can really thrive in contest environments, but I wasn't so good at it. But when I started filming and shooting photos, I started enjoying myself a lot more and riding a lot better because of it," he said.

Paterson is an emerging figure in the world of snowboard filming, and one of the featured riders in a new video called Out of Service: Made for T.V.

Some footage of the 24-year-old human highlight reel has already hit social media. 

"I'm really happy with the whole video. Some of my favourite scenes are the free riding down the bigger mountains," he said.

Paterson learned to ride in the Mount Seymour terrain park near where he grew up, competing in slopestyle and big air.

But once high school was done, he made tracks for Whistler and fell in with the filming community, where his talents and fearlessness could shine in a different realm.

"It's fun when everybody's landing tricks and getting shots — that's the main goal. And then putting together a really awesome video at the end of the day, that's part of it, too," he said. 

'Failing and nasty bails'

Relocating to Whistler wasn't a straight shot to celebrity. Paterson says his spent his first few seasons doing "a lot of failing and nasty bails," while learning to land in powder snow instead of the competition ramps he was used to. 

He admits his crew does push the envelope while filming, and that there's always a little pressure to try for a more sensational shot.

But ultimately, he'll never go against gut instinct where safety is a concern, and will never hesitate to call a run down.  

"You have to be able to say no or you're going to get yourself into some bad situations," he said.

"For example, sometimes when you're hitting jumps, we look at the snow on the ground. If it's too firm or too heavy … we'll either go up higher and look for better snow or come back another day." 

Funding the filming habit

If your last name isn't McMorris, snowboard filming is likely more of a lifestyle choice than a rent-payer, but that doesn't make it any less challenging or addictive.

To support his habit, Paterson plumps his personal finances in the off season, working long days as a carpenter from spring to Christmas, before taking the entire winter off to focus exclusively on riding and filming. 

It helps, too, that he's landed a handful of sponsors who provide snowboards and clothing in exchange for exposure in his videos.

Paterson is pleased the latest release will show more of what goes on behind the scenes of film production — including the crashes — along with the usual dose of spectacular riding.

The final cut of the film will be released sometime in January. And while there's no oversized novelty cheque or gold medal waiting the end of the day, the rewards are no less gratifying.

"It's just a really awesome community and everybody is just super stoked when somebody is riding really well and producing cool photos and good videos," said Paterson.

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