Skiing. Wiping the snow off of my goggles, I sat next to three of my best friends on a chair moving nine miles an hour uphill. We laughed about the previous lap, we couldn’t be bothered with worries. The day started like any other, a simple text that read “Sierra?” I quickly responded with a meeting time. The car ride consists of 90’s hip-hop and groggy silence. Caffeine would soon hit the bloodstream, and we park right up front. The matter of cold ski boots weighs on my mind but after much deliberation, we load Grandview Express. It’s my 100th day of skiing this season.
My first season pass was for the winter of 1997 to Kirkwood, I would ride on my Dad's back down while he snowboarded down the Wall. I don’t think my dad realized that he was exposing me to the most defining part of my life that winter. I was born in South Lake Tahoe in March of ‘97. He was relentless in making sure that I snowboarded when I was finally able to walk. I stuck with it until I was 13, then I switched over to skiing. My friends were all skiers so I decided to try it out. My friend gave me an old pair of Salomon 1080s. I knew right away that this would be something that would change my life.
Skiing has taken me to places that I would’ve never expected. Most importantly skiing introduced me to my passion, filmmaking. When I first started skiing, my friends were exponentially better than me. Which meant I was most likely filming them, all of the time. I used to film them on this old Sony “Mom Cam”, but it was the most fun. I was making cheesy little edits with terrible frame blending and even worse music. There was a spark, and overwhelming motivation to make my life revolve around this simple joy. I kept making edits, skiing as much as I could. At this time I was a sophomore in high school. My teachers started to catch on to the fact that I didn't really about anything other than skiing and filming.
So my junior year of high school, this is all I wanted to do. The ski edits were fun but I had to start expanding my horizons, so I started playing around. I would shoot any chance I had. At this time, I was going to commit my life to this. I graduated high school in 2015 and that fall I released my first time-lapse film. Dubbed “Home”, it showed my home, Lake Tahoe in motion. That same year I moved to Salt Lake City and got an office job at Backcountry.com. I was spending all of my time working and skiing and I had completely lost track of what I truly loved. I was falling into a rut that I was scared of getting stuck in. I had just spent two years of my life completely dedicated to making this time-lapse film, and now I hadn’t shot anything in months. I needed to change.
When you begin to really put all of your energy into something, there's an undeniable fact that it will prosper. I kept seeing these time-lapse films on Vimeo. Films of Justin Majeczky, Tom Lowe, and Dustin Farrell. I was instantly captivated, time passing through a landscape, colors changing, the universe moving above us at 60,000mph. Undetectable to the human eye. Directions. I quit my job and vowed that I’d never have a boss again. I knew if I was going to make filmmaking my full-time job it would require all of my focus. I moved back home to Tahoe and set out on a journey that I would never regret. Skiing still was an important part of my life. So I made sure to find a balance between work and play, and every now and then the two integrate.
Now, with (more expensive equipment, bye mom cam) I'm following athletes. I’ve worked with so many amazing and talented people. Companies I've only dreamt of working with, projects that seemed impossible. I think the most important takeaway from this is to find your force. Notice what gives your life meaning, give it the energy it deserves. Fill your life with powerful experiences that leave you smiling. Put fear aside and step into unknown regardless of financial stability. Make sure that you realize what your force is. Don’t let your force die, live passionately, free, and happy. I can go skiing and realize how something so small and irrelevant to much of what I do now has had such a huge impact in my life.
As I move into my 21st year on Earth, I’m more motivated than ever to fill my life with force. I'm working harder than ever on a new time-lapse and short films.
Written by: Aj Marino, Tahoe Trail Bar Ambassador