We are excited to announce that 19 year old, Justin Mayers, has been added to the Jackson Hole athlete team. We have a very elite team with names like Travis Rice, Bryan Iguchi and Lynsey Dyer representing Jackson Hole. Justin is a great ambassador, very friendly and absolutely rips. He spins and flips off features with ease and has a very playful style. Growing up in Jackson Hole he obviously has a solid big mountain background.
Words by Justin Mayers
Highs and lows.
I have been skiing since before I can remember and March 31, 2013 will forever be engrained in my mind as the most painful experience I’ve ever endured in the backcountry. Matt Phillipi, John Sprigs, Amon Barker, and I were in Cooke City, Montana filming for Apres Visuals, where we snowmobiled 12 miles deep into the backcountry. There was no cell service and no civilization; it was just us and the snow covered mountains, pure bliss, right? We woke up to the sunrise on our last morning, packed our bags, got our gear on, and fired up the snowmobiles. As we arrived to the face we were about to ski, I got one of those gut feelings deep in my stomach but quickly ignored it as we continued our trek to the top.
That day the conditions were good and the skies were mostly clear. After a 30 minute double commute to get to the summit, Spriggs dropped in on his first line. From where I was standing all I could see was a snow cloud as he rode out to the bottom. At this point our window of sun was being smothered out by and incoming storm. The conditions continued to worsen and Amon Barker, who was filming us, could barely make us out across the valley. We finally made a call on the radio to wait it out and see if the conditions would clear up. After a hour and a half of waiting and no change in weather, I finally got ready to drop. The snow felt light and fluffy as I approached the prominent cliff by the tree on my left. As my skis left the ground everything slowed down for a second, I spotted my landing, and stomped it. Straight lining out of the air is where everything went wrong. I hit avalanche debris with my right ski and it ejected instantly. While I tried to recover with one ski I hit the next patch of debris and my left ski ejected instantly making a perfect sweeping motion striking my left arm. My radius instantly snapped in half and I was about to experience the most excruciating pain of my life. I knew exactly what had happened and knew that we needed to get out of there immediately. Its hard to describe the feeling you get being 12 miles into the backcountry with no outside communication lying in the snow with a broken arm and excruciating pain pulsing through your body.
Watch video to see what happened.
As I snowmobiled back with one arm, everything became a blur and after another 2 hour drive I ended up in the closest clinic in Cooke City. I saw my limp deformed arm and the doctor told me that they were going to attempt to put it back into place. After many screams and numerous attempts, my arm still remained the same; immobile and discolored. The doctor decided to wrap it up, give me some pain pills and send me home. Five hours later I was in my bed with a scheduled doctors appointment in the morning. At 6:00pm the next day on April 1st I came back home with six screws and a titanium plate. Happy April fools, I guess.
This story is really where it all begins, though. After putting just over 1,300 miles on my snowmobile and about 40 days of filming in the backcountry I ended my season with a bang, and a rough story. The following months I compiled all of my GoPro footage from the previous ski season and started a web series through Vimeo where I will be releasing a couple more episodes through this season. I have been interning for KGB Productions for about 2 years where I have acquired knowledge about the film industry.
I was later contacted by Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and was invited to join their team of elite athletes. My passion for cinematography flourished and I was accepted into the New York Film Academy for summer session to start my film degree in Los Angeles. There I directed seven short films and worked on over 32 projects in just over three months. Additionally, Volkl and Marker contacted me while I was in Los Angeles and invited me to join their incredible team and family of professional skiers.
Never would I have imagined that I would be where I am today. I have received so much support and have truly found my passion. By continuing my education in cinematography I hope to showcase the unbelievable talents that are found not only on the ski slopes as well as tell peoples stories through videos. A picture is worth a thousand words but a video is able to capture a thousand pictures.
Check out the new project Justin is working on with Après Visuals.