Aaron Leyland – Pulling Focus and Putting on Miles
Pull up a chair, grab a vanilla latte and you will undoubtedly run into him at some point during the day. Alpine Cafe is Aaron’s pre-work breakfast and après sled beer spot. If you follow his Instagram then you will surely be familiar with the cafe’s location tag.
Being a filmer in Whistler isn’t uncommon—but making a living at it these days can be a challenge. The Vancouver Island native chased his snowboarding dreams to Whistler, trying to follow in the footsteps of backcountry cine’s like Pascal Gallant and Anthony Vitale, where his talent eventually led him to over a decade of work filming for Burton Snowboards.
Aaron’s success is largely due to his vision for cinematic shots and passion for being in the mountains. But his ability to lug a hundred pounds of camera gear in deep snow to get the shot is no small feat in itself, and part of what has helped Aaron stand out in a place with an unusually dense concentration of talented shooters.
Aaron enjoys spending over a hundred days a year on his sled, wiggling his 175” powder-slayer/tree-trimmer through nicely-spaced old growth en route to filming locations, where he fully admits that he’s been known to drive into the odd tree or two. With a healthy 50-50 split between work days on his sled and personal shred days, Aaron is not only doing what he loves but what a lot of us would love to be doing.
This past year, Aaron moved to Squamish and teamed up with Mikey Rencz, Mark Sollors and Dustin Craven for a backcountry snowboard project called Powderhounds. The guys chased storms between Whistler and Revelstoke, drank a few beers and scored epic days on the journey.
When not shooting snowboarding, Aaron spent much of the early winter filming with Chris Brown for Ride Whistler. And he wrapped up with a late-season road trip out to Clearwater to film the shenanigans of Brett Turcotte and his crew’s spring jump session.
In the process of filming Powderhounds last year, Aaron took a grand total of five (really good) snowboard runs. So while he may have moved to Whistler to snowboard in the first place, it’s pretty safe to say he’s a sledder who happens to film snowboarding now.