Meet the Real Snow 2018 contenders, judges
This year's Real Snow competition has a pitted a couple newbies against a heavy mix of returning medalists. Learn more about the riders and filmers, and the judges who will be deciding who gets X Games gold, in this gallery -- starting with this fresh face here. "Growing up snowboarding in Germany, most of my idols and riders that inspired me were really far away and not reachable. I only saw them in videos and magazines," says Real Snow rookie Benny Urban. "Starting to film video parts myself definitely helped getting in touch with the U.S. scene."
"I've been filming video parts for over 10 years and have always been drawn to the streets because I've been skateboarding my whole life," says Bode Merrill, a Real Snow 2011 and 2014 gold medalist, and Real Snow Backcountry 2016 gold medalist. "I tried to bring that inspiration to snowboarding because it allows you to get way more creative and think outside the box. This is the fifth Real Snow I've been fortunate enough to be a part of."
"I believe skateboarding really helped me get where I am today," explains Ozzy Henning of his particular style. "It was my first love. Once I learned about snowboarding I just tried to translate my skating into it, and being strapped to the board just allowed me to try bigger and crazier things."
Anto Chamberland's first big video part was in DC's "Must be Nice." Then he was involved in multiple big projects, like the Shredbots movies, the Manboys movie and TransWorld Snowboarding and Snowboarder Magazine's 2017 Movie of the Year "Stronger," by Union. He is also the Real Snow 2016 bronze medalist and Real Snow 2017 silver medalist.
"I've been a professional snowboarder for 12 years, traveling around the world to film with companies like Capita, Union, Volcom, Absinthe and many more," says multi-gold-medal holding Real Snow vet, Dan Brisse. "My early winters are spent riding street/urban. After that, I love going to ride and film in the backcountry. I'm grateful to my sponsors for supporting me in every way throughout my career. I'm also a huge fan of both X Games and Real Snow, and am appreciative to be given the chance to compete again against the world's best riders of their kind."
"It's my third year doing Real Snow," says 2016 Fan Favorite and silver medalist, and 2017 Fan Favorite and gold medalist, Frank Bourgeois. "I'm still as pumped as my first year doing it. It takes a lot of work, dedication, passion and love for snowboarding."
Bourgeois' filmers: Will and Charles Demers
"I've been filming for eight years with these guys," Bourgeois says of his filmmaking teammates, Will and Charles Demers, of the Brothers Factory. "They are hard workers, solid filmers and good friends, and they always have good ideas and are pumped to go built and film a spot. Plus, they're always smiley. I couldn't ask for a better team."
Brisse's filmer: Mikael Ahtikari
"I asked Mikael to film my Real Snow part because he's an extremely talented videographer/editor who is committed to getting high quality footage," Brisse says of his filmer Mikael Ahtikari (right). "Real Snow is both amazing and intensely demanding, so having a guy like Mikael, who brings both exceptional skills and unwavering perseverance, is an invaluable asset!"
Chamberland's filmer: Sam Sosnowski
"I met Sam while we were working on a park shoot in Mammoth. Our personalities fit great and we got along really good," says Chamberland of his filmer teammate, Sam Sosnowski. "I also was really impressed with his background filming skateboarding and thought he could bring a different kick to Real Snow. He also worked on some crazy projects, like 'PipeDream' with DC shoes and Robbie Maddison, Ty Evans's 'Flat Earth' and Travis Rice's movie 'Depth Perception.'"
Henning's filmer: Cole Taylor
"I've known of Cole for about five years, but have only recent gotten to go on trips and actually hang out with the guy," says Henning of his filming teammate, Cole Taylor. "We were heading home from a trip, while filming for the movie 'Pepper,' and I mentioned how hyped I'd be to be to film a Real Snow video. From the back of the van Cole said, 'If you get the invite and need a filmer, I would be hyped.' That made me so happy because, to find someone who is a really good filmer/editor who is down to be with you for two months, willingly, is hard. Five months later, I got the call and went straight to Cole. I couldn't ask for a better person for the job."
Urban's Filmer: Alex Pfeffer
"Alex and I been long-time friends and filmed skateboarding together for many years. We've worked on several projects, which made me understand his work ethic," says Urban of his filming counterpart, Alex Pfeffer (right). "Also, I'm a big fan of his creative approach, and his filming and editing style, which is really unique. I can't wait to see how he'll put this segment together!"
Merrill's filmer: Jon Stark
"Jon is a really hard worker and lives to film snowboarding," says Merrill of his filming counterpart, Jon Stark. "He has studied skateboarding, snowboarding and film making most of his life and has an amazing grasp on what we do. He has a very artistic eye for snowboard film making and can bring to life a lot of the weird ideas I have in my head."
Judge: Louif Paradis
Who:TransWorld Snowboarding's 2017 Rider of the Year, multiple Video Part of the Year awards. Participated in Real Snow four years in a row; 2013 gold medalist. How he's judging: I will mostly focus on trick difficulty, trick selection and style. I'm looking for the person who went out the hardest, but also who took the time to find new spots and has new ideas to push snowboarding a little, in one direction or another.
Judge: Eero Ettala
Who: X Games Slopestyle 2010 gold medalist, Real Snow 2013 competitor, Snowboarder Magazine's Video Part of the Year winner, 2005 and 2006, professional snowboarder since 2002. How he's judging: Trick difficulty and editing style are important factors in a winning video. I want to see originality in riding and filming, and creative spot and trick choices. And, of course, I want to see the riders pushing their own limits.
Judge: JP Walker
Who: Filmed 21 video parts. Participant in the inaugural Real Snow event. Invented several rail tricks and other street riding techniques. How he's judging: I'm judging based on trick difficulty, overall vibe and feeling based on riders style, spots and trick selection.