Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Interview: Eric Hjorleifson


The big mountain specialist with a knack for hucking huge air and developing his own touring bindings and boots discusses saving his feet, designing gear, and how to get after it in the backcountry
By: Kelley McMillan

Eric Hjorleifson. Photo: Matchstick Productions
Whistler, British Columbia-based skier Eric Hjorleifson, a.k.a. Hoji, is a big mountain specialist with a knack for hucking huge air of off natural features in the backcountry and stomping pillow lines with unmatched power and fluidity—all in a pair of Dynafit boots and bindings. His hard-charging style bridges the gap between ski touring and aggressive alpine skiing, and proves that performance doesn’t need to be compromised by touring gear. You can still go big in the backcountry and rail turns on the resort in a pair of touring bindings and boots if you follow the gospel of Hoji.
What separates Hoji, 29, from many of his peers is the depth of his involvement in product development for the brands he works with. Sponsored by 4FRNT and Dynafit (among others), he’s equal parts pro-athlete and product engineer. In 2011, Dynafit signed him as an athlete and as a “boot and binding” consultant—and it’s not just some branding/PR plug. With a tricked-out workshop in his basement, which his girlfriend calls his “playpen,” he spends hours a day, thousands of hours a season, perfecting his set up to meet his performance demands. The result is this year’s Dynafit Vulcan boot, which hit the shelves last week (and has already won numerous awards), and a binding to be launched in January that’s poised to revolutionize ski touring. When he’s not tinkering with his gear, you might find him shooting for Matchstick, Sweetgrass, or Sherpas Cinema—he scored major segments in all three’s most recent ski flicks.
We dragged Hjorleifson up from his workshop lair to talk about saving his feet, designing gear, and how to get after it in the backcountry.

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