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Bellingham
Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Skiing is believing

By Ian Ferguson

He was raised on the mountain, by the mountain, learning to use its natural contours to soar through the air, navigating between tight trees and over massive cliffs, and documenting it the whole way through.

Micah Evangelista grew up in Glacier, Washington, spending every winter from toddler to adulthood on his skis – exploring the vast, white wilderness of Mount Baker. Whether he was destined to ski, or simply shaped by the mountain, Evangelista grew up in his element and consequently, his life fell in line with the snow.

For the past five years, Evangelista has skied with a sponsorship from K2 Sports, a popular skiing equipment company based out of Seattle. But in preparation for this upcoming season, Evangelista decided to switch directions and will now be moving forward as a rider for Faction Skis, another popular U.S. ski equipment company.

“The coolest accomplishments that I’ve had so far have all come this season,” Evangelista said. 

Evangelista gracefully performs a backflip on the slopes of Mount Baker. There is snow and snow-covered trees in the background.
Evangelista gracefully performs a backflip on the slopes of Mount Baker. // Photo courtesy of Cameron Munn

Skiing photographs of Evangelista have been featured on some of the world’s most widely-known skiing publications, including two full-spread photos in Powder Magazine and on the cover of the SBC Skier Magazine.

After taking a year and a half away from school to ski, travel and work, Evangelista came back to Western for summer 2018 to continue his education.

He said when he first came to Western, he began to pursue a business and marketing degree, but quickly realized it was not the route for him. He had spent his whole life documenting his life on the mountain, telling stories through film with his brother, and realized he wanted to pursue a major that would continue to support that lifestyle.

Evangelista is now a third-year student at Western studying visual journalism. He said once he graduates, he hopes to combine his love for skiing and visual storytelling into a lasting career.

Growing up in Glacier, a town with just over 200 residents and only a 30-minute drive to Mount Baker, he said he and his brother Mattias had no choice but to learn to love skiing and the outdoors.

Their parents met each other while skiing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They moved to Bellingham, where Evangelista was born, and shortly after settled in Glacier.

Evanglista tears down Mount Baker during a solo shredding session. // Photo courtesy of Cameron Munn

“Apart from skiing and mountain biking, there isn’t a whole lot going on,” Micah said. “That taught my brother and I to appreciate the amazing mountain that we have in our backyard, and that has definitely shaped my drive and love for skiing and the mountains.”

Micah said when he was 12 years old, his parents bought him and his brother their first camcorder. From that moment on, Micah and Mattias spent countless hours ripping through Mount Baker, building jumps and filming the new tricks they learned.

The hours not spent on the mountain were used to make videos displaying their natural talent on the snow. The popularity of the short films was Micah’s big break, ultimately landing him the sponsorship with K2. 

According to Mattias, becoming a professional skier for Micah always seemed like a possibility as they had grown up in a place where many local skiers had gone on to ski professionally.

It was never something they sought out to achieve, rather it was a product of the environment. Micah and Mattias skied so much there was no option but to be successful, Mattias said.

Mattias said from a very young age, Micah had shown a particularly high level of skill set compared to the other riders in their posse. Micah was the one going the fastest, jumping the farthest and flying the highest.

Micah’s natural skills, paired with his constant access to the mountain growing up, eventually led to sponsorships and opportunities to travel the world – and make some money while doing it.

“It’s something [Micah] has been working towards for a long time, but not too seriously,” Mattias said. “It almost just fell into place.”

Although not a professional skier, Mattias has also been able to create a career out of the sport. Early on, Mattias assumed the role of videographer, filming Micah and friends on the mountain, building up an impressive portfolio of films.  

For the past three years, Mattias has worked with the Prince Hotels and Resorts in Japan to make promotional videos for their ski resorts.

This year, Micah went along with Mattias, travelling restlessly to different resorts around the northern islands of the country, skiing at each stop. By the end of the trip, Mattias, with the help of Micah, produced a film that’s received nearly 50,000 views online.  

“Mattias has taught me so much about videography and video editing,” Micah said. “And I owe much of my skill and knowledge today to him.”

Micah said his brother has always been a large influence in his life. Just three years older, Mattias has always paved the way towards his success.

“As a skier, having someone to push you to always get better is also so important,” Micah said. “We would always feed off of each other’s energy which has had a huge effect in the way that I’ve developed as a skier and as a person.”

With ski season close on the horizon, Micah said he will have to balance skiing with his full-time school work. He plans on making a lot of videos documenting winter in the Pacific Northwest with Colby Mesick, a Western graduate, filmer and photographer.

“Super proud of Micah,” Mattias said. “Super stoked to see him doing what he’s doing.”

 

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