– Chad Sayers on finding the balance in life.
Canadian skier Chad Sayers is in many ways the archetype of a globetrotter. A ceaseless wanderer, he’s been travelling between mountains and surf spots all over the world for the better part of the last two decades, always bringing his camera along. In his new book “Overexposure: A Story about a Skier” he describes the intense joy and adrenaline of a life lived fully, but also opens up about his struggles with mental wellness and injuries.
“Many skiers get both emotionally and physically worn out by their way of life – the yearning to always make the most out of every day. There’s this constant pressure that you put on yourself. I had some really bad injuries in my early twenties, and I never really took the time to heal properly. I kept pushing through for nearly 15 years without ever really stepping away. A few years ago, I felt broken, but I wasn’t ready to give up on it. I just needed to find a new way to do what I do”, says Chad
A pivotal moment described in the book is when Chad is half way down the instep of a blue-frozen couloir in La Grave, feeling his skis losing their grip, but how he still chooses to continue down. He ends up dangling from one finger over a cliff of 300 meters, suddenly realizing that he is about to throw everything away.
“I felt that I needed to come really close to death to even care, that was a big turning point for me. After that I took some time off from skiing, and focused on surfing and photography for a while. I think that whatever the future holds I will try to be more mindful. I’ll keep traveling and skiing, but not compulsively ¬– only when I really want to.”
Chad has been working with Hestra since 2007, and through the years he’s been tried out tons of different gloves. He’s impressed by the range and the versatility.
“A great thing about Hestra is how they make gloves for all kinds of situations. I’ve been skiing dunes in the Sahara-desert, and I’ve been in Yukon skiing in -40°C, but the gloves have never been a problem. Ever since I started wearing Hestra, I haven’t tried any other gloves, and I probably never will. The quality, passion and attention to detail that goes into their product is just amazing.”
When Chad is ski touring, he generally wears a pair of lighter gloves on the way up, changing to a more protective model for the descents.
“I prefer longer gloves that go over the jacket, as I usually take them on and off a lot, working with ropes and snow. My go-to-glove is the Fält Guide Glove, an all-round quality leather glove that you can always trust. I also use the Vertical Cut Czone 3-finger model a lot – my hands easily get cold, and it’s got a lot of padding but is still nimble. And I really like the Army Leather Heli Ski 5-finger glove. And for expeditions I always bring a pair of really warm mitts as a backup.”
As the pandemic hit, many skiers became anxious and felt confined by how travels became restricted. But for Chad his life had just taken a different turn.
“Just as the world shut down, I became a father for the first time and I felt that it gave me a break to focus on my daughter and to work on finishing the book. I have a different mindset now, with a better balance in life. The last two days we’ve gotten 80 cm of snow in Whistler where I live, but instead of skiing I have been busy shoveling my drive-way. There will always be more snow another day.”