Behind Real Ski with Dane Tudor
X Games Real Ski 2013 contestant Dane Tudor returns to this year's competition on a mission. Last year, the Rossland, British Columbia, native dislocated his hip while filming in the Revelstoke backcountry, ending his season and putting his whole ski career in doubt. After extensive rehab and a gradual return to snow, Tudor was able make it back in time to film his second Real Ski segment. We caught up with Tudor in between mountain bike sessions in Sun Valley, Idaho, to hear a little more about shooting with Teton Gravity Research and Poor Boyz for his segment, putting his injury woes in the rearview mirror, and what he has in store for us this time around.
ESPN: How did you feel about your edit this year?
Dane Tudor: I feel good about my video this year. It's a mixture of everything -- a little bit of powder skiing, a little bit of pillow skiing, a few jumps -- because that's how I ski in the backcountry. It's a bit of a roll of the dice because it's a bit of jump-oriented contest, but I see backcountry skiing incorporating every aspect, so that's what I've done with my video.
Where did you film?
I filmed the whole video in Revelstoke. I would have liked to have gotten out to other places as well, but we had good terrain and good snow so we just stayed there.
What type of conditions were you guys dealing with last winter?
I filmed a little bit early and got some really nice powder skiing. Then I filmed some in the middle portion where we got some of the big mountain stuff. In the spring, we went out and built some jumps and the snow stayed good, so it was a pretty ideal year for us as far as conditions go.
You suffered a tough injury last year filming. Why did you decide to give it another try this time around?
Funny question, actually. After the whole process was over and I submitted the video, I didn't even know what it was going to be like coming back this year. I was wondering if I'd ever do tricks again or ski the way that I used to just because a hip injury is definitely one of the biggest injuries as far as core goes -- you need your legs to be strong.
As the season progressed, I felt really good and just kept stepping up my game as I went along and decided to take the opportunity. It's hard to shut down X Games, you know? When you get that opportunity, you take it. I'm stoked on the outcome.
Was there an "aha moment"? When did you know you were officially back?
I think it was more a natural progression throughout the season. I started ski touring at home in Rossland before I went out to Revelstoke, and I just took baby steps throughout the season. At the end of the season I threw down some tricks I was really stoked on. I landed some tricks I'd never landed in the backcountry before, so I guess that was big.
What was your biggest takeaway from your injury? How has it motivated you moving forward?
It's given me more patience in the mountains, for sure. So now if I go out and see a great line but the conditions aren't quite right, I don't mind waiting for it. I've learned a lot more about safety and what you actually need for equipment in the backcountry.
I also learned that it's really cold out there and you can die quickly even if your injury isn't life-threatening. It becomes life-threatening with the cold.
It also motivated me to live a healthier lifestyle and stay super-active always, so I'm way more fit than I was before. I spend a lot of time mountain biking and swimming and trying to get as strong as I can.
You do most of your own editing, so what's it like to put an entire season into 90 seconds?
It's definitely a challenge, but that's what makes it fun. Over the years, I've done a lot of editing with different film companies like Poor Boyz. It definitely taught me a lot about cutting footage down and still getting the shots the way I like them. Now it isn't that hard to fit into 90 seconds.
Do you think your background in editing affects the way you ski?
Not really. I look at my line first, and then I also have a little conversation with the filmers and see what they're thinking and try and find a compromise on an angle. I like talking to them because it's something I'm interested in, and usually the result is pretty good.
Real Ski class of 2014
Now back for its second season, X Games Real Ski Backcountry brings together seven of the biggest names in freeskiing to compete in an online backcountry video contest. The fan vote starts Aug. 27 and the winners will be announced on ABC's "World Of X Games" TV show on Sept. 14. Here are the seven athletes competing in this year's contest.