Phil Casabon

A Certain Gift: Phil Casabon’s Transcendent Style

The name on the Zoom call says Phil Casabon but the moving image on the screen is of a raccoon, its whiskers twitching inches from the camera. The raccoon’s name is Wapie, named after Wapizogonke, a lake near Quebec. Casabon discovered the orphaned raccoon as a baby on the side of the road. After searching for Wapie’s mother without success, Casabon and his then-girlfriend decided to take him home. A raccoon rehabilitation center advised him that a raccoon can be reared in captivity and successfully released into the wild, so Casabon retrofitted a shed in his backyard for Wapie so he could have his own private space complete with an elevated raccoon bed, doggy door and dog toys to keep him busy. He’s fallen in love with the playful and personable animal, but he and his ex—who co-parent Wapie—plan on releasing him into the wild next spring. This is Casabon’s modus operandi: to harbor both the curiosity that lets him see things others might not and the passion to see them through. 

At 31 years old, Casabon is one of the most influential and talented skiers on the planet. His pedigree is reflected in his laundry list of titles and awards—the X Games gold medals, the slopestyle and big air podiums, and the dozen-plus film segments with Inspired Media and Level 1 Productions. Casabon has always done it his own way, with a skate-inspired style honed in the streets of his Quebec backyard. Then, of course, there’s the veganism, the love of philosophy, his lasting friendship with freeski savant Henrik Harlaut, and the Wu-Tang Clan—rap legends Casabon has befriended over the past decade (he once narrowly lost a game of chess to Masta Killa, but maintains it was a draw that he conceded). It’s a story that can’t be told without its many parts, but its sum culminates in Casabon’s quiet force, and one of the most creative and prominent paths in freeski history…

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