Produced by Sweet Grass Productions in association with Teton Gravity Research.
Photos by Rock Menzyk and Christopher Bezamat.
Currently balancing his life as a pro-skier, a slope side realtor, a father and a husband, Dash Longe is a busy man. During the winter of 2018/2019 Dash helped bring his dream project to life in the creation of his new film, Stone’s Throw. We caught up with Dash to talk to him about the new film and ask him about his take on how he lives the mountain life in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Stio: Explain the idea behind Stone's Throw and how the idea came to life.
Dash: The idea behind the film starts with the name - Stone’s Throw. Salt Lake City is just a ‘Stone’s Throw' from the amazing mountains of the Wasatch. Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to make my own ski movie. After years of shooting with TGR and then doing a Warren Miller film, the timing finally aligned for me to dive into my own project. My new ski sponsor, DPS Skis, offered me the opportunity to create a DPS Cinematic Episode. I wanted to do something crazy and had recently started my own slope side real estate business so it felt natural to put the time into a project that would highlight the proximity of Salt Lake to the mountains and my new professional career to my career as a pro skier. It’s a film about a guy who has to work even though all he wants to do is ski, and Salt Lake City makes that dream possible.
Stio: What was the most memorable event from filming Stone's Throw?
Dash: The whole thing was kind of a roller coaster ride. During a different shoot in Jackson Hole I got frost bite on my feet so bad that I couldn’t ski for a month. I was sweating it really hard, but after a month got back to a place where I could finally put my boots back on. Then when we were filming at Alta shortly after that I collided with Zac, the main filmer of the project, and he broke a couple of ribs and couldn’t really ski for the next month after that. It felt like everything was working against us, but somehow we managed to pull it all together and make it happen.
Stio: What is it about skiing that you love so much?
Dash: Good question… I guess it’s a two part thing for me. First, the thing I’ve come to realize, that I didn’t fully recognize before, is that skiing allows me to become present. I’m a dreamer, so I’m always thinking about what I could be doing or should have done better, but for those split seconds when I’m skiing I’m not thinking about anything else. Not thinking about other struggles in life or problems I've been dealing with. When I’m on my skis and guru focused, people call it the flow, I could close my eyes and just feel the tips of my skis moving through the landscape in front of me. Feel the adrenaline and endorphins release. For a while, I didn’t understand that sense of presence. But now I know it’s that heightened sense of feeling that is the ultimate presence and that’s what I’ve truly come to appreciate when I’m on my skis.
Outside of the act of skiing, I like the process of just getting up to the hill, the warmth of the lodge in contrast to the cold, being bundled up in the mountains, basically everything involved in the ritual of skiing. Also, I have always had an appreciation for style and skiing is a way for me to express myself. From the clothes I wear to the skis I put on my feet to the way I go about the motion of putting on skis, walking up to the lift and skiing. I’ve always thought the whole tradition was pretty cool and my drive in life has been about being a part of something cool and doing something cool and I want to share that with people because I love it.
Stio: What advice do you have for someone that's looking to become a better skier?
Dash: Just have to have fun. If you’re worried about work, have anxious thoughts about the future, or whatever other life shit you’re dealing with then it will be hard for you to connect. You have to be able to fully connect and just be in that moment. Push yourself to ski something that is a little harder than you normally would because when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone your senses and the lizard brain has to take over. Your awareness expands and you are ultra hyper focused. That is the best way to not think about anything else and fully enjoy being on your skis.
Stio: When it comes to ski gear, what products do you use to build out your kit?
Dash: I almost always like to have the same dialed kit because your body becomes fully attuned. Usually my kit consists of the following:
Stio: What is your favorite ski resort to ski?
Dash: Alta is my go to. If I just hop in the car and am heading to the mountain then I’m going to Alta. But I love Snowbird too.
Stio: What does living the mountain life mean to you?
Dash: Some people are ocean people. Some people are ranch people. I’m a mountain person. And I grew up in the mountains. I don’t know anything different really. I always have grand ideas about all these outdoor trips that happen in the mountains and that would be impossible if I didn't live near them. Skiing is my life blood, and I’ve come to learn that more and more as I get older, but now that I’ve stepped away from the financial burdens connected to being a pro skier it’s brought new light to the fact that this is my love affair. My wife grew up in a ski town too, Sun Valley, and whether or not skiing becomes my kids love affair is fine with me, but being able to show them this life and the special opportunities it can provide is really important to me. Nothing really brings me pure joy like seeing my kids and wife enjoy their time in the mountains. When they’re doing it, and I see that smile on their faces, and they express that pure delight - it brings me incredible joy.
Stio: What value do you find in connecting with nature?
Dash: Funny question. My brother and I were talking about this recently and he pointed out that nature is just a word. But the reality that we live is sheerly what we perceive. I’ve never been one for mechanics and man made things; I have always been more interested in the natural world and the biological phenomenon of how we’re here and why. It’s fascinating when you disconnect from the man made components of the world and can experience the magic of the natural word. Someone taught me a few years back that if I’m dealing with any first world struggles that I should take a step back and stare at a leaf for two minutes straight. This always helps me change my perspective of the world around me. It’s just a small way to connect with the surrounding natural world. In the grand scheme of things, we will not be the last dominant species to walk this planet, so it's really about how we leave it when we die off.