BY SAMMY KEENA
Photos by: Tyndall Wells and Conor Smith.
I think Tanner Hall said it best in Being, that “...skiing is so gnarly these days; you are either gonna compete or you are gonna film.”
Henrik Harlaut followed when he compared skiing to music artists and related that “making a film segment is basically like building or creating an album, whereas, competing is the live performance.” What a great new way to view the current state of skiing and how individual styles are expressed. There are countless, incredible skiers all doing it in their own unique way similarly to hip hop or rap, etc. and the many different flows that make each artist stand out apart from all of the others. Borrow from the past but make it your own; be inspired from the ones that came before but reinvent it.
Oscar Weary ( @Oski.toboggan)
In the past few years everything about skiing has elevated from the quality of film productions; the social media takeover; the competition setups; young people of every age who continue to raise the bar; the women who raise it higher than ever before (and are finally recognized for their skills) to the insane tricks that defy the laws of physics. It’s mindblowing and inspirational to watch the sport progress at such an exponential rate.Throughout the year of 2019 it seemed that a new ski movie dropped every week. Some of which are (in my humble yet damn opinionated opinion,) the illest flicks ever released. A few of my favorites include (in random order:)
-Level 1’s Romance -the Bunch released Color -Phil Casabon’s Nuance -the Keeshlife Movie 2 -The Collective by Faction -Mango’s Real Ski
(This list could easily go on forever.)
Personally, I spent the season 2018-2019 filming a project called Urbend, produced by Tristan Steen, with a group of local skiers. Featured were Oscar Weary, Mike Ashworth, Griffin Dahl, and Tyndall Wells. For the most part this was the first time we spent the majority of the season in the streets scouting urban spots.
Oscar, Tristan, Sam, and Zack
That project sparked the flame that fueled the mission this year. What was a dream snowballed into reality and here we are 4,000 kilometers from Bend in the snow-filled streets of Quebec City, Canada, and motivated to throw ourselves at the challenges of filming in the streets yet again.Let me tell you. “The streets hit different.”
first day in quebec
There are too many experiences to list here but a few memories that will never be forgotten must be shared. Following are only a few that immediately come to mind. There were a few times the police kicked us out of epic spots. And can't ever forget those big builds that take forever to set and drain your energy before they can be hit. The broken winch was a huge nightmare and the car that wouldn't f*ckn start was definitely not cool. There was a car crash disaster and getting broke off in an attempt to ride away from a trick. Sounds like fun right???
Oscar Wear, Roasted
The challenges were constant and always presented while we attempted to keep positive attitudes toward the vision we share. Not always easy.
This adventure has been filled with crazy, unexpected dilemmas. It's also been one of the greatest opportunities any of us, the crew, have experienced.
We attempted to ski spots the best skiers in the world have skied and painted our own picture: to approach a spot in a totally different way than ever before.
Tristan and Sam (@sonyhandycam @st. Keena). Lake Superior
Not easily forgotten is that frustration that comes with not landing the trick you envisioned. Of course our bodies take a toll. To build and throw yourself down a feature only to get defeated a million times tends to hurt a lot and occasionally makes for a very-not-so-positive day. Injuries are equal to limitations of the time necessary for the joy of skiing and absolutely required to film.
Tyndall Wells and Zack Pfeiffer (@tyndallwells @zpfeiff_)
Not to be overlooked is the variety of personalities, the good and bad moods and how to make them somehow miraculously come together for everyone's mutual benefit: the success of the mission. In the end, skiing is a small percentage of what matters. It's more about the crew and the time you’ve spent together. The ways we hopefully lift each other up after a battle lost is more important then throwing jabs at someone’s mistakes. To encourage and inspire each other to conquer another feature and guide your teammate to reach the goal is crucial. Learning to redirect energy that comes from disagreement into helping the inspired skiers vision is what is meant to put others before yourself. There's no place here for personal agendas to make this mission work.
We are not filming a ski project, we are filming a damn soap opera!
The crew, team huddle
Tristan and Oscar all smiles
So this trip has been full of the usual blood, sweat and tears. But more so filled with tons of laughter and fun.
This is what it takes to make an urban ski film. Hitting the streets sounds so easy when in fact it's anything but. It is so much more than one could possibly imagine -- the good, the best, the bad and the worst. There is defeat. There is angst. There is drama. At the same time and what stands out the most are the amazing new lifetime friends, group bro hugs and high fives. It is a journey and one helluva adventure and a big growth experience that will stay with us always.
Rudy (@B_rud_420) ripping on the winch
The rest of the experience lies in the creative minds that edit each moment captured for your viewing pleasure. In this finished edit, you're sure to experience every personality an urban ski trip has to offer. Right back to that concept of how a music video shows the story conveyed by a song.
Look out for Further Vol 1. Coming soon.
Big thank you to @smokeproper, @talltproductions, @muted.ltd, @deviationworks, @dstructureshop
All the wonderful people that helped along the way with places to stay and memories to share.