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High Flyer 

From small-hill origins, Dave Treadway has become a big-mountain star

click to enlarge Dave Treadway: Winner of a Powder Award - BOB LEGASA
  • Bob Legasa
  • Dave Treadway: Winner of a Powder Award

It's hard to believe that a small ski hill in the flatlands of central Canada turned out big-mountain skiing sensation Dave Treadway. Located on the outskirts of Kenora in western Ontario is Mount Evergreen, with a whopping vertical drop of 220 feet. This is the mountain where Dave learned how to ski with his family. The youngest of Tim and Deanna Treadway's three boys has always been that little brother in the background, shadowing his older brothers' every move.

"For me, it was always trying to catch up to what they were doing, and it was a challenge, and I think that's what helped me to get where I'm at today with my level of skiing," Dave says.

The entire Treadway family charges hard in everything they do. Mom and Pop earned $100,000 on the Canadian reality TV show Pioneer Quest, where couples live on the Canadian prairie for one year as homesteaders from the 1870s era would have, with only the basic tools of the time.

This ruggedness and ability to adapt have been a integral part of the Treadway family's fabric. "We grew up pretty rugged," says Dave. "Our ski hill had two tiny T-bars, 65 meters of vertical, and it was tough. Most of our skiing, we actually did behind a snowmobile, holding onto a rope. We spent a lot of our time out trapping and hunting. I kinda think that rough rawness translates to the type of people we are today."

With a true desire be a big-mountain skier and to live life in the mountains, Dave made the move out west to British Columbia's Coast Range to ski near Whistler.

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"My journey as a skier started as a ski bum; I moved out of home after graduating high school and headed up to the mountains. I did whatever I could to be skiing every day and just loved it," Dave says. "That translated into getting better, companies recognizing me, and being able to market for them through magazines and video parts. Now, I just get the pleasure of being able to enjoy the mountains and make a living skiing."

I had the pleasure of spending a few days shredding powder with Dave at Monashee Powder Snowcats in B.C., where Dave is treated like family. A spiritual man, Dave can easily be identified by the white cross he sports on his Giro helmet. It was a fun experience getting to see Dave in his element, skiing the backcountry. He's always calm and collected, even when it comes to skiing some of the burliest of lines that would make an expert pucker.

"He's just a class act," says John Witt, a former world mogul champion along on this trip. "What a talent ... just skiing with someone of that ability, it just gets you really fired up. He just goes off anything and pins everything. His talent is amazing; everything is calculated. I mean, it looks kind of crazy, but he knows exactly what he's doing. He lines up his jumps on top of the cliffs and pinpoints his landings."

That type of confidence and skill is why the readers of Powder magazine voted for Dave in the prestigious Powder Awards. "Last year I had an awesome photo published in Powder," says Dave. "It was a two-page spread by [photographer] Jordan Manley. He was shooting out of a helicopter, looking down, as I skied a fun pillow line. It was a blast, and we were really stoked on the photo. It actually won Photo of the Year at the Powder Awards — it just encompasses the type of skiing I enjoy doing."

He won another Powder Award as well: "I won POV Footage of the Year for the overall footage I've produced, by just throwing my GoPro on my helmet. That's an awesome one, because all you have to do is press the button and drop in."

"Drop in" is putting it lightly: the award-winning footage included Dave doing a massive front flip off a cliff in the Canadian backcountry.

Dave resides in Pemberton, B.C., with access to some incredible backcountry just minutes from his home. He and his beautiful wife, Tessa, are passing on the Treadway family values and tradition to the next generation, their young son Kasper.

His sense of values and his easy-to-get-along-with demeanor struck one of the stars from the iconic '80s ski film Hot Dog... The Movie. Lynne Weiland, who starred as Michelle, aka "Banana Pants," says of Dave, "He's been skiing with us for three days, and he is such a sweetheart and good guy. He's really knowledgeable and smart about what he does and how he skis. Dave Treadway did something on skis I've never witnessed in person: He threw this big ol' back layout off of a 40-foot cliff in the middle of the backcountry. I'm like really, OK, humbled."

For Dave, life in the mountains is his church, and he cherishes the time spent out there. I ask if he'll still be skiing at a professional level a few years down the road. "Whether I'll be doing it at a professional level or not, I don't really care too much," he says, "as long as I can just be healthy, alive and enjoying it with my friends and family." ♦

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