We were honored to have the opportunity to work with photographer Richard Seehausen on his Mizu Mission, from Mt. Baker to Jackson Hole. Check out his inspiring adventures & tips on how to travel reusable below!
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(yes, he has the best Instagram handle out there)
"My name is Richard and I am a freelance filmer and photographer based out of Portland, OR. I am a lifelong snowboarder and I focus on documenting snowboarding and action sports.
Mizu was started by snowboarder Jussi Oksanen, so I knew I wanted to reach out and work together on a Mission. Mizu has close ties with snowboard brands, magazines, and others within the industry which I value greatly. Plus, I use their products daily."
Where did your mission take you and what did you do?
My focus for this mission was to document snowboarding by way of my truck and camper. Sleeping in resort parking lots is integral to snowboard culture, especially in the PNW. I wanted to take people on a journey up to Mt. Baker, WA, perhaps the most notorious snowboarding spot in the U.S.
We packed up in early January and caught the tail end of a massive storm coming down from Alaska. Mt. Baker holds the world record for snowfall in a single season, so it is known for wild weather and massive snowfalls.
We arrived right as the lifts closed and set up for the following day which was staged to be a rare bluebird day. We woke up early and, sure enough, the sky was completely clear and the snow was light and deep. After a little coffee and breakfast in the truck camper, we headed up to Chair 8 for some fresh laps.
Words cannot describe the beauty of Mt. Baker nor the daunting terrain that you can access right off the chair. Being used to riding the low-angle, playful terrain of Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Baker was intimidating and demanded respect. We rode all day, cracked some beers in our Mizu glasses, and cranked the heater in the camper as we settled in for a cold night. We had struck gold, but our luck was about to run out.
The next day brought some classic Mt. Baker weather. The day began dumping heavy, wet snow with high winds. The forecast called for a switch to rain by noon, so I set out to get as many laps as I could before things turned wet. High winds closed Chair 6 and Chair 1, but the crowds were non-existent. When the rain hit, I headed back to the truck soaking wet and dried off inside. News broke that Mt. Baker was closing for the next few days as a warm, wet system passed through. We decided to cut the trip short and head back home as rain fell all the way up to the highest peaks in the area. Although short lived, the trip was well worth it for a bluebird powder day at Mt. Baker and the experience of sleeping in the parking lot.
Our Mizu Mission soon turned into a Mizu month. After a brief time at home, we drove 10 hours east to Jackson, WY for the first stop of Natural Selection. We used to live in Victor, ID on the west side of the Tetons, so it was a great opportunity to get back and visit friends and ride some different terrain. Despite only 6” of snow in 3 weeks, the Tetons had remained cold with lows down to -20F, so the snow was still good on Northerly aspects. We took some laps on Teton pass throughout the week, and on Tuesday and Friday I went to Jackson Hole to photograph the event. Natural Selection has quickly become the premiere event in snowboarding, and the community that comes together for the event is pretty special.
What are some highlights you’d like to share with our readers?
The highlight was waking up to bluebird skies at Mt. Baker. Despite living in Oregon for 5 years, I had yet to make it up to Mt. Baker. It was pretty special to experience it that way and be able to fully take in our surroundings. The amount of snow and lift-serviced backcountry terrain make it one of my all-time favorite mountains. I’ll be back this season for sure.
Another highlight was photographing Natural Selection. The event always brings a special kind of energy to the valley, and this year was no different despite the lack of new snow. Highlights included seeing the winning runs in person and getting to ride the course at the end of the competition. It is hard to understand the scale and difficulty of what these riders are doing until you actually set foot on the course.
What inspires you to get outdoors and explore?
Definitely snowboarding. I’ve snowboarded all over the world, and I’m always searching Google Earth for new zones to explore. It’s the best way I’ve found to get out there, experience different cultures, and challenge myself mentally and physically.
Shooting photos is a close second. I consider myself a bit more of a filmer, but photography is my way to stay creative on a more consistent basis, and shooting landscapes is perhaps one of my favorite genres. It’s just much easier to pick up a camera and go. Even if the snow sucks, I can have a great day by just bringing my camera and trying to get creative.
How do you manage to adventure while also taking care of the planet along the way?
This can be hard in snowboarding. It often involves a lot of driving or flying unless you’re one of the lucky few to live in a small mountain community. I’ve turned to splitboarding to reduce my footprint a bit, and I always carry as many reusables as I can on my travels to avoid single-use trash. I also try to position myself as close as possible to the mountains to avoid lots of driving or flying to do what I enjoy. Recently I have also adopted a majority plant-based diet and try to buy locally whenever possible. I think it is important while traveling to engage with local goods and produce as a means of reducing your carbon footprint and enjoying a richer experience.
What was your favorite Mizu product/s used through the mission and why?
The V7 bottle was our go-to. Dual threat as a travel coffee mug and insulated water bottle. We loved the rope lanyard for carrying the bottle or securing the lid so we never dropped it while wearing gloves.
Runner up would be the cutlery set. This was amazing to have for meals in the truck camper. Avoid the single-use plastic cutlery and get one of these sets! We loved how it rolled up within its cloth mat for easy storage and organization.
Any tips and tricks for keeping a low footprint while hitting the road?
Don’t buy bottled water. Ever! Fill up your bottle for free at a soda fountain, sink, stream, wherever! Mizu has a filtered straw if you are worried about contaminants.