Really cool profile of the man who some consider the founding father of freeskiing. Dag Aabye was 76 when this video was produced (now 82) and at that time he was living life on his own terms in an old school bus in a secret location in the forests of British Columbia. This is his story:
Somewhere in the mountains of Vernon, British Columbia lives a 76-year-old man by the name of Dag Aabye. He has no cell phone or email address. Revered by locals for having escaped from the shackles of modern society, he is the champion of the 80-mile ultramarathon aptly named the “death race.” Aabye is the oldest person to have ever finished the race.
Determined to locate and interview Aabye, filmmakers Adam Maruniak and Justin Pelletier spent weeks canvassing the nearby town, leaving postcards with their contact information. They visited the bar that the reclusive septuagenarian is said to frequent and even summited a mountain in search of him—to no avail. Then, the day before the co-directors had planned to scrap what they thought was a futile project, Dag called them from a payphone. Their resulting documentary, Never Die Easy, is named after Aabye’s motto.
“Never die easy,” Aabye says in the film. “To me, there is no age. Age is something other people put on you. You put a person in an old folk’s home, and this person’s gonna die pretty quick because you tell them, ‘You’re old now—you’re ready to go.’”
True to local lore, the filmmakers were taken by Aabye’s ardent self-reliance and motivation. “In our final moments with Dag,” Maruniak said, “he embraced us both and told us, ‘Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping, and always have a mountain in life to climb.’ Those words will resonate with us forever.”
p.s. Dag’s favorite bar Rooster’s has a free wing per year of age birthday policy. If you’re ever in Vernon you should check it out.
A new book about Dag Aabye life was published in April 2023 that looks like a great summer read. BUY HERE.
Into the Wild meets Born to Run meets The Stranger in the Woods in a fascinating true story of a marathon-running hermit and a journalist’s quest to solve the mystery at the core of the enigmatic man’s existence
When journalist Brett Popplewell first heard about Dag Aabye, an aging former stuntman who lived alone inside a school bus on a mountain, running day and night through blizzards and heat waves, he was intrigued and bewildered. Captivated by the seemingly implausible tale of a wild super-athlete aging more slowly than the rest of us, he was determined to meet the apocryphal white-haired man who was pushing the boundaries of the human mind and body beyond what anyone could dream was possible.
What Popplewell witnessed on a secluded mountain perch led him on a six-year odyssey to uncover the true story of the 81-year-old man.
Outsider takes readers on a remarkable journey from Nazi-occupied Norway to Argentina and British Columbia. The book chronicles how a child born under mysterious circumstances during World War II finds his way onto the big screen in Goldfinger, is heralded as the world’s first extreme skier, and is later driven into the wilderness.Both joyful and tragic, Outsider presents a bold challenge to our notions of aging, belonging and human accomplishment.