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RORY BUSHFIELD: BLOW IT IF YOU GOT IT

Catching up—if you can—with Nordica adventurer, Rory Bushfield.
Rory Bushfield roared onto the ski scene as a Canadian moguls skier, scoring the a title as 2002’s Junior World Champion. But the gregarious, self-titled adventurer was making it big in moguls during the emergence of the world’s freeski movement—a freer form that suits Bushfield’s make-the-rules-as-you-go kind of skiing. Before long he’d abandoned moguls for the wilder side of freeriding.

Bushfield, who was raised on a grain farm north of Calgary, ripped up the competitive freeski scene with several appearances at the X Games, a gold at the 2002 Planet X Winter Games Freeskiing Championship, and he became the first skier to successfully land a 1080 in an halfpipe competition. His film roster includes Matchstick Productions’ Seven Sunny Days and Attack of La Nina, as well as Sherpas Cinema’s Into The Mind.

He met his match in Sarah Burke, a fellow freerider and trailblazer—the two were married in 2010. Bushfield lost Burke to a training accident in Utah two years later, but he did not lose his zest for living. The following year he was on board with X Games celeb Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus Live Tour, double backflipping off a huge jump on roller skis with a group of athletes he’s called “like-minded lunatics.” His win on Splash—an ABC celebrity diving show (think: extreme version of Dancing With The Stars)—revealed to the world the easy laugh and enthusiasm he brings to just about everything.

In 2013, Bushfield—whose middle name is Wayne—designed the Bushywayne pro model powder ski for Nordica. Says his bio:

“NOT CONTENT TO JUST LEND HIS NAME, HE CONSULTED ON ALL CONCEPTION ELEMENTS, INCLUDING THE SURREALISTIC-STYLE GRAPHIC, WHICH BUSHFIELD DESCRIBES AS, ‘BASICALLY A SKULL THROWING UP PARTS OF MY GARAGE.’”

Meanwhile Bushfield continues to fly his own plane—yes, the 31-year-old adventurer is a pilot—and run the Sarah Burke Foundation, a non-profit working to extend Burke’s legacy, offering financial assistance to young winter sports athletes in need. The Foundation also supports numerous charitable causes like St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

We caught up with Bushfield—not an easy feat—in October 2014, fresh from a surfing trip and in the midst of instagramming pix of a ski plane he was contemplating buying under hashtag  #blowitifyougotit.

Nordica: You've been instagramming about planes and purchasing a new one — are you serious or just having fun?
Rory: I love to fly!  And flying is the best way to get places.  It's my dream to land on snow and ski out if my plane.

Nordica: When did your love of flying start?
Rory: I’m pretty sure I was born with it.  I got my pilot’s license six years ago now.

Nordica: You already own your own a plane… tell us about her.
Rory: Frogsbreath is my baby! She's so good to me. She’s a Cessna 172 with long-range fuel tanks.  She's just a little plane but she gets the job done!

Nordica: Where have you been skiing lately.
Rory: A lot in British Columbia. I live in Squamish and we have the most sled-accessible mountains in the world.  So lately I have been using the mountains near Squamish as my playground. Also, Whistler Blackcomb gets lots of my ski time.

Nordica: Did you work this summer with Whistler’s Momentum Ski Camps?
Rory: Yup!  It was awesome!  Best weather summer ever!  I also got to skydive into work from Frogsbreath a few times.  (Illegally of course) but who knows what frogs breath is anyway!  

Nordica: Tell us about the latest winners of the Sarah Burke Foundation Spirit of Sarah scholarship. 
Rory: Their names haven’t been released yet, but they have been decided and they are some great kids with bright futures.

Nordica: A recent photo posing with the Canada’s Governor General is on Instagram. Tell us about that special day...

 

Rory: I was lucky and enlightened to accept the Meritorious Service Cross for Sarah. Very few are given out—they are reserved for people who bring great pride to our country. I was extremely honoured. Afterward I got a chance to speak with the Governor General on the walls of Old Quebec.  He said some things to me I will never forget. That was a cool moment.

Nordica: Can you tell us about the late JP Auclair. You've called him your "hero"…
Rory: I take a deep breath as I write anything about JP. Legend.... I am at a loss of words at this moment.

Nordica: What's your dog Dextor up to today?
Rory: Fuckin’ shit up I'm sure. She's with my bud Ty at Mabel Lake. I will see her mañana.

Nordica: You spent some time surfing in September – where? Was it fun?
Rory: The most fun!  Yeah, we surfed in secret spots that Frogsbreath shows me.

Nordica: Name your favourite Nordica skis.
Rory: Bushywaynes! Because they have my name on them, but also because they rule!  The flex and the shape and the weight… oh man! 

Nordica: What do you like about Nordica the brand?
Rory: It’s an epic brand!  Everyone there is very open minded.  In my time at Nordica I have seen a lot of hard work and major growth.  I love those guys.

Nordica: What's brewing for you in Winter 2015?
Rory: The world is mine!  Skiing, filming, television (my own show,  a surf travel show) lots if burritos, maybe a ski plane, and, like 5,000 back flips!

Lori Knowles is a Canadian ski writer and editor.

 

 

 

 

Lori Knowles
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