Marcus Goguen has always been an athlete. Now he can call himself a movie star—in a manner of speaking.
The 18-year-old Whistlerite is one of more than 30 skiers and snowboarders featured in Daymaker, the latest snowsports film by Warren Miller Entertainment. The movie, which screened Nov. 18 at Whistler Secondary School, depicts athletes throwing down tricks and carving their way through breathtaking backcountry playgrounds in Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Greece, Switzerland and, of course, British Columbia.
“Oh, it was great,” Goguen said. “A totally new experience being up with, like, the big dogs and the big filming crew. We hit it right with the snow conditions. We got 100 centimetres when we went up to Mustang Powder and it was game on.”
Weather and snow conditions are crucial for freeriders like Goguen, who trade the safety and control of artificially curated ski resorts for the untamed, infinite white of the open backcountry. They are trained in avalanche safety and often carry various forms of precautionary gear, especially in Europe, where outside supervision tends to be limited.
Freeride skiers and snowboarders are not to be confused with their freestyle counterparts: the latter, who compete at the Olympics and X Games, perform tricks on man-made elements. There can be overlap between the two: for instance, Olympic medallists like Canada’s Mark McMorris and New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott are skilled both in the park and on the mountain.
Even when conditions are optimal, freeriders are challenged with picking their own lines or routes through a specific section of nature that organizers have vetted ahead of time. Terrain inspection is key and the margin for error is substantially smaller than it would be on an artificial venue.
“You never know exactly what’s going to be under the snow,” explained Goguen. “Sometimes stuff does happen. Maybe you’re going to hit a rock off the takeoff, or there’s going to be some rocks in the landing. When you succeed, it’s pretty rewarding to know that you did everything right.”
Goguen has been doing things right for a while. Originally from Vancouver, he began skiing at age two on visits to his family’s Whistler cabin. A two-sport athlete, Goguen picked up mountain biking shortly after his introduction to powder and found success on dirt as well, winning a bronze medal in August at Crankworx Whistler’s U19 Canadian Open DH race. He also picked up some unexpected hardware: the Stevie Smith Memorial Award for competing in both Crankworx DH races this year.
But how did Goguen find himself in front of Warren Miller cameras? He was previously unfamiliar with the company, which is an active player in the snowsports movie industry. Miller himself, a celebrated late American filmmaker, stopped producing content after 2004, but Warren Miller Entertainment has outlived its founder’s career to showcase dozens of athletes across many films. These include Canadian alpine ski racer Erin Mielzynski, American halfpipe freestyler Aaron Blunck, and Goguen’s mom, Astrid.
Goguen’s mother is not a multiple-time Olympian like Mielzynski and Blunck are, but she was seen in an older Warren Miller film cruising around on skis as a child. Decades later, her son credits former sponsor Helly Hansen for getting him into Daymaker.
“What I’ve been learning the past couple of years is that if you’re filming, you’ve got to be patient,” Goguen said. “And then hopefully the line comes together for you. It’s a huge stepping stone in my career.”
The young Whistlerite isn’t ready to choose between his two loves just yet. He finds that his focus shifts depending on the season: skiing in winter and biking in summer. That said, he knows he will eventually need to pick one, and figures that the grand slopes of the big mountain probably have his heart.
“I feel like it’ll most likely be skiing,” Goguen admitted.
Learn more about the film here.