Hickshow Productions is as grassroots as it gets: they’re Slocan Valley sleddin’ souls who have a scene or two to share. By Clare Menzel.
Six years ago, professional snowmobiler Denver Debes drove from his home in Ontario to Castlegar, British Columbia, despite the fact he knew only one person in the province. “Nobody had ever heard of me,” says the 24-year-old. “All I knew was, I was in the mountains.” And he knew there was a Slocan Valley production company named Hickshow that made films he wanted to be in.
Hickshow, owned by brothers Cam and Tyler Hicks, began producing movies featuring snowboarders in 2000. When their talent settled down to have families, Tyler turned his lens on Cam and filmed him on his snowmobile carving dreamy powder turns in the mountains around their home near Slocan. It was footage that evoked a deep sense of, and appreciation for, place. And while the snowmobile film genre typically favours heavy metal soundtracks and engine revving, the brothers went for a more mellow, organic and artistic niche.
That ethos struck a chord because the resultant “FollowCam” film series has made Hickshow a household name amongst sled-heads. Their videos and YouTube posts garner tens of thousands of views and Cam credits the success to their “sled-ski bum, sledder bum attitude.” His wife Julia, Hickshow photographer, concurs. “Hickshow is more about being on a budget, doing everything by hand, having the least expensive truck in the parking lot, doing it the Kootenay way,” she says.
Denver Debes, who’s now featured in many sled films, says of the success of Hickshow, “They’re still my favourite… they’re not out there for the money. They don’t make their product to impress people. They do it to have a good time.”