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Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The Godfather speaks

Mike Douglas during the Embedded Whistler project earlier this winter.

Mike Douglas may be the busiest man in the ski industry. At the beginning of this season, he spent six days "embedded" at the top of Whistler Mountain waiting for winter to arrive. Through his production company Switchback Entertainment, this year he rolled out the fifth season of the wildly successful Salomon Freeski TV series. The so-called Godfather of newschool skiing, he's also a pro skier, a TV commentator, a gear innovator, and more. We talked to him about this week's AFP World Championships at Whistler, celebrating Sarah Burke, and the next season of Salomon Freeski TV.

After five seasons, how do you keep Salomon Freeski TV fresh?
We are always looking for real skiing stories, as opposed to a bunch of pro skiers just going on a trip. The guys I'm working with -- Jeff Thomas, Blair Richmond, Bruno Bertrand -- are all perfectionists and won't settle for anything average. We don't quite get every project the way we want it, but overall I think we're getting better. Sometimes we get lucky and stumble across great stories we weren't expecting.

The teaser for season six of SFTV airs in August. What can we expect to see in the new season?
I'm always hopeful the new season will be the best one yet. I can say that we've got some great culture this year, a few really unique things, and of course, a lot of deep powder.

What do you think is the future of ski media?
I like to think there will always be a place for web, print, film and television. But, no matter what sort of media you're offering, you need to deliver a consistent, authentic, and credible product. Bad information spreads just as fast as good information on the web, and that is a very dangerous thing. I really hope that solid journalism and story-telling never dies.

What is next for Mike Douglas?
I'm still trying to figure out how to be a good filmmaker and I have a long way to go. More time with my family is my main priority right now.

Any predictions on what we'll see at the AFP World Championships this week?
I predict overall titles for Gus Kenworthy and Devin Logan, as well as a great contest to finish up the season. We have tons of snow in Whistler and the courses are all looking really good.

Describe the Sarah Burke celebration, which took place recently in Whistler.
It was amazing in every way. It's times like these that the freeskiing community really inspires me. So many people came together to celebrate one of the best and most-loved skiers ever. There were so many hugs, tears, and laughs. Sarah never would've expected something like that, but somewhere above us all, she was looking down and loving every minute of it.