Up Next: Nick McNutt
Skiing is a sport that is constantly evolving. With winter quickly approaching, XGames.com is taking a look at seven skiers who will surely shape the future of skiing in the years to come. From an up-and-coming photographer and videographer to two skiers who are reinventing what's possible in the backcountry, these skiers are new on the scene and here to stay. They are up next. Second in the series is Whistler-based backward-skiing prodigy Nick McNutt.
There is a rumor going around about Nick McNutt. It goes something like, "The kid hates landing forward in powder." Watch Teton Gravity Research's 2014-'15 film "Almost Ablaze" and you'll believe it to be true. McNutt, 25, broke onto the scene one year ago as the runner-up in TGR's $100,000 online video contest The Co-Lab. From there, a late-night pool game with the TGR founders sealed his fate.
At September's International Freeski Film Festival in Montreal, McNutt took home the coveted Rookie of the Year award, and others are now taking notice.
"Watching McNutt's segment, I was stoked on the direction he was going," pro skier Pep Fujas says. "His skiing is playful and smooth, yet aggressive and stylish. He made riding backwards look attainable and fun, not like it's a chore or just something to do because not many people do it."
Nick McNutt: I grew up in Kimberley, British Columbia. It's a little town in the east Kootenay mountains. I live in Whistler now, and I've been there for nine years. I call it home -- my parents are here.
I'm a carpenter. That's what I've been doing for the last couple years. It's a good thing to fall back on. Skiing isn't a life-long career path. It can be, but filming for movies isn't the most sustainable career.
Growing up, one of my favorite skiers was Pep [Fujas]. "Session 1242" was the first segment I saw where he was doing 180s into pow. Then seeing the Nimbus crew and Charley Ager do it and having the ski technology improve to where you can ski just as well backwards inspired me to keep skiing that way.
I entered TGR's Co-Lab contest with my buddy Scott Titterington filming. We shot all year as we had been for the last couple years. We put together an edit and they liked it enough to invite me to film with them full-time. Scott's actually a filmer for them now too.
I went down to Jackson for the Co-Lab announcement. I'd met Todd and Steve [Jones, TGR founders]. I talked to Steve a fair bit, and he said he knew was it was a close vote, but they wanted to try and shoot with me regardless of the outcome. Then we were playing pool pretty late one night, got to talking and one thing lead to another. I ended up getting a contract out of it.
It would have been awesome to win $100,000, but in the grand scheme of things I think it worked out for the better anyways.
My goal was to try and have a full segment. I ended having a couple shared segments and my own segment at the end of the movie. I filmed a ton. A lot of guys were busy with other stuff or didn't have the best conditions. For whatever reason, I ended up with a fair bit of footage.
The first time I watched, I was expecting a different kind of song. Then it started to grow on me. Blake Campbell, the editor at TGR, put a rough cut together with "Take Me To Church" by Hozier. In the summer I started to hear it and it would be playing. It's gaining popularity.
That's one of the biggest compliments I get at premieres. They think the song in my segment is the best song in the movie. The movie has a good soundtrack. That's a huge part of a segment -- song choice adds a lot.
Winning Rookie of the Year at IF3 was awesome. I had barely sat down at the awards and it was basically the first award they gave out. It's hard to describe. It was surreal. I never imagined getting one of those skis on my wall. The award is leaning in the corner of my living room. I don't have a special place for it just yet.
I get a lot of people making fun of me for never going forwards. It's not true. I skied a couple lines. I'd like to ski outside of North America. I haven't done that yet. I'd like to ski longer lines as opposed to just mini-golf stuff.