Chris Rubens has been wearing ski socks for 24 years, 14 of which as a professional skier...
Chris skis more powder, performs more switchbacks and spends more time on the skin track than most each winter with the majority of his time spent in the backcountry. When there, Chris is putting together beautiful parts for film and photo projects – most notably with Salomon Freeski TV, MatchStick Productions and Sherpas Cinema.
Between ski trips, Chris resides in the town of Revelstoke, BC which provides a backyard of endless opportunities for outdoor pursuits and one that he’s taking more and more advantage of as he trades in more environmentally harmful modes of transport for foot power – something we at Le Bent know all about. We caught up with Chris to discuss his skiing and welcome him as the newest member of the Le Bent family.
LB: Chris, thanks for speaking with us, and welcome to the team!
Thank you, stoked to be part of such a rad team, looking forward to the ride.
So how long have you been a professional skier and how did you begin?
Well, I guess it has been a pretty long time now, hahaha. I grew up ski racing in Calgary,AB with the Sunshine Ski Club, which meant we did a lot of freeskiing from a young age. Things didn’t work out for me in the race scene and I joined the Rocky Mountain Freeriders, when I was 16, this was the original free ski club based out of Lake Louise. I linked up with Eric and Steve Hjorleifson, Kevin Hjertaas and crew of shredders that obsessed with skiing. Over the next few years I got a few sponsors, filmed some segments, starting with Pimpin Frogz, Theory Three and eventually getting a break with Matchstick Productions. I moved to Revelstoke twelve years ago which visions of deep powder and pillows. Fast forward a decade and not much has changed, which is a great thing.
“I linked up with Eric and Steve Hjorleifson, Kevin Hjertaas and crew of shredders that obsessed with skiing.”
So how would you describe your skiing these days and has it changed over the years?
Skiing these days has become very backcountry focused. When I started it would only be a few days a year in the backcountry, now it is where I spend the majority of my time. With ski touring it is all good things, a little easier on the environment, more powder and lots of exercise. It is also a never-ending learning experience about moving safely through the mountains.
Has there been one trip, or place in particular that has shaped your skiing and approach to the sport?
I think that growing up in the Canadian Rockies really shaped my skiing. The amazing people and harsh mountains are very humbling and I developed a lot of respect for the mountains and the people in them. Since moving to Revelstoke, this place has expanded my skiing in a big way also. The mountains here have a huge amount of vertical relief, so fitness is key. This area has both an alpine and a treed playground. It is a great place to ski mountaineer but my favourite thing about Revelstoke is skiing deep powder in huge old growth trees and of course hitting as many pillows as possible. It doesn’t have to be gnarly it is just pure pleasure and fun.
Do you have a favourite Salomon Freeski TV episode you were a part of that you think our customers should go and check out?
I have been lucky enough to have taken part in some incredible trips with Salomon TV over the years. If I had to pick one it would definitely be the Eclipse episode, the short story of it is that we traveled to Svalbard, Norway in March to get a shot of a skier in front of a Solar Eclipse. The amount of luck, logistics and adventure will be hard to beat, it was truly a trip of a lifetime. The trip was incredible aside from the eclipse, but watching an Eclipse in minus 25 above the Arctic Circle in the middle of nowhere was something I’ll never forget.
We’ve obviously got Cody Townsend on board producing his own sock the ‘le send’, as a friend of Cody’s and fellow Salomon colleague, how has he influenced your skiing and decision to come on board?
I affectionately refer to Cody as “Captain America”, after many incredible experiences and trips over the years, it is a pleasure to call him a good friend. I always appreciate people that don’t take themselves very seriously and Cody is one of the goofiest people I know. At the same token he is extremely intelligent and skilled at moving through the mountains. To me, a good experience in the mountains is all about continuously making good decisions but being able to laugh your ass off throughout the day too.
What have you learned about ski socks in all your years wearing them?
The biggest thing I have learned is that feet are the most important part of my skiing. If it’s the best powder day of your life and your feet hurt, it will suck. Ski socks play a huge factor, it’s tough to find the right thickness, the right fabric and keep them thin enough for a good fit yet make sure they are still warm enough.
What is it about Le Bent you find most appealing?
Ultimately I’m to old to fall for a sales pitch so for me it all comes down to product. I love the blend of bamboo and merino wool, to me it is the perfect balance of dealing with moisture, warmth and comfort. On a personal level I love the feel of family that the Le Bent team shares, it is really important to be a part of something with people you like and have a product that you believe in.
Obviously, we’re nearly into summer in the northern hemisphere, what’s next for you in the short term and where will you be next season?
My summers are always a mixed bag of activities to keep me fit for ski season. It normally involves a lot of climbing, biking, running and more recently I have been getting back into surfing. I have a big sailing trip to Greenland in the works but on a trip like this, nothing is certain until you get there.