Bryan Fox, Angel Collinson, and Kalen Thorien shred harder than most—between the three of them, they’ve been featured in dozens of ski and snowboard films and magazine stories (including this one). But each of them have passions that run deeper than just dropping big lines. Angel lobbies Congress each fall on behalf of Protect Our Winters, Kalen is a Youth Ambassador for American Rivers; and Bryan is the founder of Drink Water, a company that encourages people to eschew energy drinks in favor of water. We kicked the photo gallery off with Kalen and Angel. This week we add Bryan to the mix.Pro snowboarder Bryan Fox is the people’s rider. His style isn’t flashy, and he rarely enters competitions. When he placed third at 2013’s invite-only Red Bull Ultra Natural, beating out 13 of the world’s most decorated riders, it was his first-ever podium. Even so, it’s likely you’ve seen him ride. Since his first appearance in 2004’s cult classic snowboard film Some Kind of Life, Fox has appeared in some 20 films, including his own offering, 2014’s award-winning Pathology, which he starred in and made with collaborator Austin Smith. “I’ve always thought that our obsession with snowboards is like a disease,” says Fox. “Some people catch it, and some don’t. Pathology is the study of the disease.” This winter he appears in The Snowboarder Movie: SFD. He’s also a counterculture figure within the sport—his company Drink Water encourages people to eschew sugary drinks, whose purveyors are major sponsors of action sports, in favor of water. “I just want kids to think for themselves,” he says.
Photo: Smartwool SmartLoft Corbet 120 JacketFox grew up far from snow, in a small California town called Ramona in San Diego county. He started skateboarding at age 11 and surfing at age 12. He snowboarded a few times in high school but didn’t catch the disease until he moved to Oregon a week after his high school graduation. “I saw snowboarding as the best of both skating and surfing—the flow and that sense of flying, transcending the earthbound human experience. Oregon felt like home to me, and I could snowboard year-round on Mount Hood.” When Fox decided to drop out of college to snowboard full time, his parents were surprisingly supportive. “The first film premiere I took my dad to, he freaked out. ‘I didn’t know this was a job you could have,’ he said. To this day, he describes my job as ‘jumping off mountains,’” says Fox.
Photo: "This shot ended up on the cover of TransWorld SNOWboarding. Flying back to Girdwood after a day in the Chugach, Travis Rice made the pilot drop us off on this peak because it had the last light of the day. That’s him standing on the peak while I dropped in. He basically gave me a cover, which was quite kind."Fox has never done drugs and never drinks alcohol, which makes him an anomaly in his community. “I guess it’s a little bit of a punk sensibility—find your own identity, don’t be a follower,” he says. “I feel like people turn to substances when they are bored. That’s not my nature. I’m never bored. There are always a dozen things I want to do: snowboarding, skateboarding, making films. At the end of the day, I’m always fulfilled and tired and want to go to bed. Why would I sit in a dark, loud room and strain to hear conversations?”
Photo: Hiking in the Colorado backcountry near Steamboat in Smartwool Mid250 Baselayers.In 2011, Fox and fellow pro snowboarder Austin Smith founded Drink Water, a response to what Fox calls, “the infiltration of action sports by the energy drink companies. We wanted to remind kids that that don’t have to poison themselves to have fun snowboarding.” It started with the pair simply writing “Drink Water” on their boards with a Sharpie to counter energy drink makers’ logos and evolved into an apparel company that donates 10 percent of their profits to Water.org, a nonprofit that drills wells in drought-stricken nations. In addition, all the money raised at their annual Rat Race banked slalom event at Mount Hood’s Timberline Lodge goest to the nonprofit. Altogether since 2011, Drink Water has funneled more than $50,000 to Water.org, and now boasts a team of 26 pro snowboarders, skiers, skaters, and surfers.
Photo: Sporting a Smartwool NTS MID250 Reversible Headband, about halfway up Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park to film a sequence for TGR’s Almost Ablaze in March 2014.It’s official: Angel Collinson, 24, is on fire. That’s her on the cover of the November 2015 issue of Powder Magazine. And that’s her absolutely shredding Alaska's Neacola Range in the closing segment of Teton Gravity Research’s latest film, Paradise Waits. For those following her rise, this isn’t the least bit surprising. After narrowly missing a spot on the US Ski Team, the Utah native stormed on the freeskiing competition scene, winning the Freeskiing World Tour in 2010 and 2011 and finishing second in 2012. Later that year, standing in line for the Snowbird tram, she got a phone call from Teton Gravity Research, inviting her to heli-ski in Alaska for their 2013 film. “I was too stunned to get onto the tram,” says Collinson. “I felt like I’d just won the universe’s lottery.” She has since appeared in a half-dozen ski films, including Unicorn Picnic’s Pretty Faces, Sherpas Cinema’s Into the Mind, and four TGR films, including winning Best Female Performance at the Powder Awards for her opening segment in 2014’s Almost Ablaze. Photo: "This was in the Jackson Hole backcountry, on my first ever snowmobile trip last winter. We all got together and it started dumping, so we headed out to check out some new zones. For the most part we were zipping around on logging roads, which made it nice for me because I'm a totally beginner sledder."Collinson and her younger brother John, also a fixture in TGR films, grew up at Snowbird ski resort, where their father, the legendary Jimmy Collinson, was the assistant head of snow safety. The pair shared a 5-by-12-foot walk-in closet in employee housing that was furnished with bunk beds. Their mother home-schooled them, along with a few other children, so in winter they rarely left Little Cottonwood Canyon except to go to ski races at other mountains. “I don’t remember a time before skiing,” says Angel. She and her brother now share a house in Salt Lake City, near the base of the canyon. “He’s still my favorite person to ski with,” she says.
Photo: “I’m waiting for the lifts to spin at British Columbia’s Red Mountain. It’s snowing big fat flakes outside, so I’m just staying dry. This was our first stop on a pow-and-pillows tour for a TGR sequence. At Jackson Hole, we have to get a permit to go up early and film before the crowds arrive. At Red, there are so few people that you don’t need to, which is what makes it so great.”In 2014, Collinson drove to Jackson Hole from Utah at TGR’s behest, only to find out the night before that she was slated to ski the South Teton the next morning. “We started skinning at 4 a.m.,” she says. Five thousand eight hundred feet later, she and fellow pro Griffin Post, here in the lead, summited the peak.
Photo: “Griffin dropped in on the East Face first and shredded the line, but then he radioed up that conditions were sketchy—breakable crust,” says Angel. “We all made it down safe, but because the snow conditions were so bad, it wasn’t great footage and never made the film.”Collinson has only been winter camping twice, for three days at the base of Mount Moran for the March, 2014 Almost Ablaze expedition (shown above), and the year before in Denali National Park, when the Collinsons joined Ian McIntosh and a film crew from Sherpas Cinema to lay down some first descents on Mount Hunter. The group spent 12 days camping in temps that reached 40 degrees below zero (“That sleeping bag there is one of the great loves of my life,” she says), but they still managed to knock off a half-dozen new lines and make cocktails with glacier ice every evening. Along for the ride—as it is every ski day—was Angel’s favorite item from her rock collection, a golf-ball-sized meteorite that stays in her right cargo pocket. “I bought it in a rock shop in Moab, Utah, shortly after my boyfriend Ryan Hawks died in a freeskiing competition,” says Angel. “It’s literally a piece of stardust. It’s an antenna.”
Photo: Stretching out in her Smartwool PhD Slopestyle Tube Socks. “I had my own tent, so I could spread out. Mark Fisher, the photographer, always makes me laugh. I’m sure he’s making some little joke here.”Collinson is active with climate change advocacy group Protect Our Winters. As a member of their Riders Alliance team, she has traveled with the group to Washington D.C. to lobby for emissions control (pictured here), met with school groups to discuss climate change, and penned advocacy letters like this one. “Growing up at Snowbird, you can’t miss the effects of climate change,” says Collinson. “We’re seeing warmer winters and glaciers receding throughout ski country. Just in case I ever forget, there’s also the brown cloud of smog from coal-fired power plants that overhangs my home in Salt Lake City. Some days you can’t even see the mountains a mile away. I’m thankful to POW for giving my voice a meaningful platform.”
Photo: Angel with fellow POW athletes and advocates. Left to right: Willa Schendler, Ingrid Backstrom, Angel, Chris Davenport, Brody Leven, Carolyn Gleich, Auden Schendler, Kimmy Fasani, Alex Deibold, Gretchen Bleiler, Donna Carpenter (co-owner Burton Snowboards), Jamie Anderson, and Chris SteinkampBig-mountain freeskier Kalen Thorien, 26, has appeared in scores of ski flicks and nearly every ski mag. But to hear her tell it, she became a pro “almost by accident.” As a kid, she’d fake sick to avoid family ski days at Bogus Basin near her childhood home in Boise, Idaho. When she finally did catch the ski bug in high school, she admits that on a trip to Alta it took her “an hour to snowplow down the black runs.” Deferring college for a year to ski at the same fabled Utah resort, the former ballet and classical music student (viola) got better in a hurry by putting in 150 days a year on Alta’s famously steep and deep slopes. She never made it to college and instead financed her skiing ambitions with stints as a barista and as a wildlands firefighter. These days, she’s a full-time athlete, linking her adventures by living in a 17-foot trailer.
Photo: Racheting down at Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in Smartwool's SmartLoft Corbet 120 Vest"Being a wildlands firefighter was a great fitness base for me—you work 16-hour days wearing a far heavier pack than you’d ever take skiing. On that job, I learned how to suffer and how to enjoy suffering. After digging fireline all day in 100-degree temps, skinning 3,000-foot slopes through powder is a breeze. These days, my training is simply adventuring, plus a little ballet. The coordination, strength, and reflexes from ballet have stayed with me into adulthood. I can’t do gyms."
Photo: Keeping her cool in Smartwool's SmartLoft Propulsion 60 Hoody Sport Jacket in the backcountry near Silverton, Colorado. “Photographer Grayson Schaffer and I had skied over-the-head powder all morning off the lifts at Silverton Mountain, but come lunchtime, we still wanted more untracked. Just across the street is a beautiful backcountry zone that gets great afternoon light.""People love to ask me about my tattoos. I have a full sleeve on my left arm made up of my inspirations: wolves, the Wasatch mountains, and some henna designs inspired by my trip to India. Women get them at their weddings there. There’s a powerful, sexy femininity in that to me. That’s about as girly as I get, style-wise—you won’t often catch me in a dress. My latest is a mandala on my chest that I got for inspiration after a car wreck last winter left me unable to walk for a time."
Photo: Early morning rituals: Pull on Smartwool baselayers and trim skins."I was lucky enough to be invited on a Grand Canyon Private last year. It was the best trip of my life. We actually flipped on day four, and I got trapped under the raft and almost lost consciousness. I was pretty shaken up and had to take a deep dive into my head over the next few days to overcome the fear. The result was a euphoric sense of transcendence. Then it was two more weeks of rowing rapids, hiking slot canyons, and playing music around the campfire—all in the most spectacular place imaginable. It inspired me to get more involved with American Rivers to help educate about the threats to the canyon and all of our country’s rivers. The social media community is the way through to the younger generation."
Photo: Kalen at home on the river in Smartwool's SmartLoft Corbet 120 Jacket. “It was all the best stuff, on repeat every day.”