In episode three of this season of Westward, we meet Jon Rockwood, who wears many hats: He waits tables at a restaurant in Truckee, he’s a ski coach at Sugar Bowl, he’s a new dad. And for most of the last 15 years (it took a 5-year sabbatical in the financial services industry to realize the 9-to-5 grind was not for him), he’s been the lead (read: only) producer, cinematographer, editor, and over all hype-man for his own one-person film company that makes one perfectly homegrown ski movie a year.
Rockwood makes no-budget ski movies that sell out the local theater. He debuted his 10th film this year, called Labor of Love, and it truly is that. He shoots his friends—all Tahoe rippers, but none of them pro athletes—in their natural environment, the backcountry terrain out their doors. The footage and conditions feel attainable—low-angle trees on a storm day, friends goofing around in a parking lot, and crap snow during a January dry spell.
The purpose of his films, indeed the purpose of Rockwood’s day-today existence, is as simple as it is inspiring: provide as much stoke as possible to the community he calls home.