Meet the Real Ski 2018 contenders, judges
Meet the class of 2018
Real Ski 2018, the all-urban, all-video X Games freeski contest, starts Wednesday. Read on to find out more about the skiers, filmers and judges in the competition, and how the judges will decide who gets X Games gold.
What do you need to know about Real Ski 2018 contender, Philip Casabon? According to him, it's simple: "I eat well and am relentless about skiing." Enough said.
"I'm working on becoming a 'now' skier," says Real Ski 2017 gold medalist, Magnus Granér. "It just means I'm skiing fully in the moment, not thinking of the trick I'm just about to do or the trick I did not land. I have skied for so many years so I can lose my mind and be one with the skis and my creativity. I don't want any thinking to be done. I just want to randomly throw tricks out of the blue. You can reach a point where you don't even know you could do the trick you are doing. Knowing what you can and can't do puts limits to what you actually can do. My goal is to be free and just flow."
"I was born and raised in Michigan and learned everything I know about skiing on 300 vertical feet of pure fun," says Mike Hornbeck. "After high school I moved out to Utah and then Colorado, and throughout this I was always filming. I finally moved back to Michigan five years ago, and it was the best decision of my career. I moved to a place that I could wake up and go ski in the city everyday. I am one of the few, if not the only, skiers to make the move from the West to the Midwest and stay in skiing. Hopefully people see this so we see more skiers east of the Rockies making it."
2017 was a good year for the Portland, Maine, native, Keegan Kilbride. His segment in Level 1's "Habit" earned him "Discovery of the Year" accolades at the 2017 IF3 Movie Awards and "Breakthrough Performer" at the 18th Annual Powder Awards. He then went on to take first place in the Dew Tour Street Style competition. This is his first X Games contest.
"I started skiing around 16 years ago and have been competing in slopestyle and big air events, including X Games and the Olympics, for a long time now," says Finland's Antti Ollila. "Filming has always been a big part of what I do. I enjoy, and try to do, all types of skiing -- in the park, streets and around the backcountry as well, but filming in the streets has been a big part of the Finnish freeski scene for a long time. I started doing urban approximately ten years back."
"Though I excel more at rail skiing than any other aspect, I've done my fair share of big mountain and contest skiing and woefully reject any typecasting or association with a specific style of skiing," says Real Ski 2017 Fan Favorite and bronze medalist, LJ Strenio. "I try to be as much of a renaissance man as possible in skiing and in life in general. Instead of trying to 'top' last year's Real Ski part, my filmer, Jake, and I decided to take a very different route, with high hopes to circumvent expectations."
Strenio's filmer: Jake Strassman
"It's incredibly difficult to find someone qualified to film an urban part," says LJ Strenio of his decision to work with Jake Strassman (left) on his Real Ski part again. "Lots of people can point a camera but an urban filmer needs to understand the skiing that's happening and what aspects of a trick need to be highlighted. They're like a Swiss Army Knife of ski production. Jake is like if my mom had an expertise in cinematography: He knows when I need a break and an apple, and as you'll see, he does one hell of a follow cam. Jake is a pivotal part of all of the decision making. My spot selection tricks and skiing would look very different with someone else behind the lens. I'm grateful to have him!"
Ollila's filmer: Joonas Mattila
"I started out making ski movies with Joonas," says Ollila of his filming counterpart, Joonas Mattila. "Recently, both of us have been a bit on our own programs, with me filming for various skiing projects and Joonas doing professional film work, including TV and documentaries. It's been really cool to reunite and work on Real Ski together, especially as both of us have learned a lot on our sides of the camera during the past years."
Kilbride's filmer: Ethan Timmons
"Ethan is an amazing videographer. He's very driven and has the same vision as me when it comes to what a shot should look like," says Keegan Kilbride of his Real Ski filming counterpart, Ethan Timmons. "I think we work well together, and we have lived together for like four years. It makes it really easy to just go out and film with people that have been your best friends for a long time."
Hornbeck's filmer: Spencer Milbocker
"My filmer is my long-time friend, Spencer Milbocker," explains Mike Horbeck (left). "He's also a very good skier. I grew up skiing with him. We have always said that if either of us got into Real Ski the other was going to be the filmer. So here we are! I also wanted him to film it because his filming style and ability. I wanted more movement in my footage. Being a skier himself, he is able to go the distance to get a follow shot."
Granér's filmer: Gustav Cavallin
"Gustav is a artist," says Magnus Granér of his filmer counterpart, Gustav Cavallin. "I recommend looking at his works 'India Kash' and 'Interpretation.' He makes some really progressive videos that appeal to anyone. Working with him is a obvious choice because I want to work with someone who does things differently and has passion for their art."
Casabon's filmer: Brady Perron
Former professional skier Brady Perron is the man behind Phil Casabon and X Games legend Henrik Harlaut's two-year movie project, "Be Inspired." So, naturally, he was a fit to be Casabon's filming/editing partner for his Real Ski 2018 part. Says Casabon of his teammate: "He is a genuine, educated genius."
Judge: Tom Wallisch
Who: X Games slopestyle hero, 15 years filming and creating urban ski video segments, Real Ski 2016 Fan Favorite. How he's judging: "The most amazing aspect of urban skiing is the ability to find creative and interesting urban environments to ski on. I'm going to be looking closely for creative feature selection and unique trick choices -- not simply doing a new trick on a feature that has been hit by hundreds of skiers and snowboarders. I'll be looking for technicality and sheer size/gnar factor of tricks involved as well! Go get 'em, boys!"
Judge: Vincent Gagnier
Who: X Games 2015 Ski Big Air gold medalist and 2014 silver medalist. How he's judging: "I put trick difficulty and skiing style in the same category because one is dependent on the other. A difficult trick done with little-to-no style won't get me super excited, but a trick we have seen before, done with good style, but with just a different twist will get me to jump off my seat. What I love the most is the unexpected. Everything new, everything fresh, everything that I have to play back just to understand what happened. That's what I'm looking for."
Judge: Ahmet Dadali
Who: X Games Real Ski 2016 competitor who's been putting out street skiing video parts for nearly a decade. How he's judging: "I want to be surprised with how much these guys have stepped outside the box with the features they hit, how they hit them, and the way they stand out through their own unique styles."
Judge: Jeff Schmuck
Who: Editor of Forecast Ski Magazine, communications manager of the Association of Freeskiing Professionals, head judge of the International Freeski Film Festival, Real Ski judge since the beginning. How he's judging: "I'll personally be looking for a video entry that consists of a plethora of both creative and technical tricks (the more, the merrier) in unique urban environments. I'll also be intensely focusing on the way an athlete approaches features, along with trick execution and innovation, the cleanliness of their style, and the overall WOW factor of their video as a whole."
Judge: Josh Berman
Who: Former professional athlete turned team manager turned owner/director at Level 1, which has produced award-winning feature ski films for 18 years. Started and has been running the Superunknown contest for 15 years. How he's judging: "Style and creativity are the most important aspects of defining a successful street edit. All of the best riders have a deep bag of tricks these days. It's just a question of when, where and how they apply those skills!"
Judge: Evan Heath
Who: Content manager for Newschoolers.com, ski-industry filmer for more than 10 years. How he's judging: "The biggest aspect of these videos to me is the difficulty of tricks and the creative use of terrain to perform these tricks. Throwing down the biggest and most technical tricks is very important for this contest, and using the terrain to its full potential will score big with me this year."