Meet the Real Ski 2016 contenders
The 2016 Real Series is kicking off with the first-ever, all-urban X Games freeski video contest, Real Ski. Meet the contenders, starting with Ahmet Dadali, pictured here. "I grew up in New york with no park for a little while, then a terrible one," Dadali says. "Instead of spending our days skiing the park, I'd go out with the crew to hit streets. If we wanted a down rail, we'd find one; double kink, we'd find one. Once I got done with high school, I got out as fast as I could to the West, and have been filming with Level 1 ever since." Over the past two years, Dadali has been producing his own street-heavy web series called "Flip The Script."
X Games Tignes 2011 Slopestyle gold medalist JF Houle quit competing in slopestyle three years ago to focus on filming. "Filming has always been the side of skiing that I enjoy the most; it's what got me to start competing at first," Houle says. "It's definitely not what sponsors get the most stoked on, but some support it and understand the importance of pushing the sport in the right direction. I was stoked to see that all the hard work I put into my last project, Houligan 'A ski story,' lead me to this opportunity. It's an honor to be part of an event like this."
Will Wesson grew up in western New York skiing with the "I Hate NY Crew." He went to UVM in Burlington, Vermont, and moved to his current base of Salt Lake City, Utah, after graduation. He has since appeared in eight Level 1 productions movies, eight Meathead Films movies, and he's the co-creator, producer and an athlete in the "Line Traveling Circus" web series. His focus on unconventional features recently earned him "Best Jib" at the Powder Awards.
Clayton Vila is a former halfpipe competitor who quit competing to focus on street skiing at the age of 18. "I am actively involved in the filmmaking aspect of this sport," Vila says. "I direct, produce and edit almost all my content." Last year, Vila produced and directed "For Lack of Better," a full-length documentary about the lives of street skiers. It won "Movie of the Year" and "Best Documentary" at the Powder Awards.
"I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and learned to ski at Seven Springs. Growing up on the East Coast, I didn't have much access to big jumps or powder skiing, so I ended up falling in love with rail skiing," says two-time X Games Slopestyle gold medalist Tom Wallisch. "I love the endless opportunities that urban rail skiing presents." In addition to his X Games medals (he also holds an XG silver), he has earned one Dew Cup championship, four Dew Tour stops wins and a World Championships gold to his credit. "While I do love competing in Slopestyle, filming for video segments has always been my favorite thing to do," Wallisch says. "I also just really love to ski with my friends at Good Company Ski."
"Growing up on the East Coast and enduring less than ideal skiing conditions, the only place I could find to push my skiing was the streets," Cam Riley says. "Now this is my only focus in skiing, and I spend every winter, start to finish, creating a street part."
Kyle Decker and AJ Dakoulas
Athletes may be the face of the Real Series competitions, but the contest rewards the hard work put in by the people behind the lens as well as those in front of it. Gold, silver and bronze medals go to skier/filmer teams in Real Ski. "Kyle and AJ are the primary videographers/directors for Good Company," Wallisch says of his X Games filmer/editor teammates Kyle Decker and AJ Dakoulas, pictured here. "We teamed up last season to try something entirely new in the ski film world. I had so much fun. ... While filming for my X Games Real Street video, we were also filming for our full movie for 2015-2016. I worked with both these guys, as well as many other members of the Good Company crew, to put together my video. Filming all of these urban features takes a big crew of hard-working people, and I couldn't have done it without all of the Good Company boys."
"Paul Bergeron, a.k.a. BPaul, is my best friend and also a rad skier," JF Houle says of his filmer teammate. "He is really talented behind the lens. I have all the trust in him when its time to get the shoot. He knows how to fix stuff, be it a winch problem, generator or light. He's always there to push me and help me out in tricky situations."
"Jonny is very positive, open to new ideas and is a very talented filmer," Will Wesson says of his Real Ski teammate Jonny Durst. "I enjoy experimenting with a wide variety of features and tricks, and sometimes things don't work out, so it's best to work with someone who can adapt and stay optimistic through trial and error. An unconventional approach to skiing means I need a cameraman who can understand what the best angles and shots are for each trick and feature."
Jameson Walter is the Real Ski filmer teammate for both Clayton Vila and Cam Riley. "We work well together," Vila says of his choice to work with Walter for his Real Ski part. "You need someone you can bear every day for months on end, and someone who can get you landing your trick, without fail." "I have worked with Jamo for a number of years now," Riley adds. "He knows exactly what I am looking for in a shot. There is no one that I trust more on a primary angle with a complex camera move. Plus, the guy can swim."
"I've known Jacob for a couple years but never actually worked with him," Ahmet Dadali says of his filmer teammate, Jacob Callaghan. "After seeing the work he put in for the movie 'We Trust Your Judgment,' I knew he'd work well capturing myself and the crew I'd be riding with for this."