Meet the Real Snow 2017 contenders, judges
Real Snow 2017, the all-urban, all-video X Games snowboarding contest, starts tomorrow. Read on to find out about the riders and filmers in the competition, who the judges are and how they will decide who gets X Games gold. 2016 was a big year for French Canadian wonder Anto Chamberland. He won bronze for his Real Snow 2016 video and somehow managed to put out two other full parts: in The Manboys movie and in Union's TransWorld and Snowboarder Magazines' "Movie of the Year" winner, "Stronger."
Frank Bourgeois grew up riding at Valle Du Parc in Quebec. He has been filming with William and Charles Demers of the Brothers Factory since 2011. Together, they've won two Stairmasters video contests, in 2013 and 2014, and in 2016, they took the silver medal and Fan Favorite award in Real Snow.
"Committing to this contest was a lot for me to take on," Fronious said. "Last year, I tore my meniscus pretty badly at my first spot filming. It was an eight-month recovery. Considering I was out the whole last season, being invited to compete in Real Snow was huge for me, just knowing people still believe in me and in my snowboarding. It also was a bit of an adjustment because [the injury] made me look at things/features in a different way. But I took it as a great honor, and hopefully people are excited about what I put out!"
"I like to film video parts that push the innovation and creativity of street snowboarding," TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders' Poll 18 Men's Rookie of the Year Jesse Paul said. "I believe there is a lot of human potential to be realized through movement and experimentation on a snowboard. I hope to inspire people with the art that results in the documentation of this process."
This is Dylan Thompson's fourth time competing in Real Snow. He's the 2016 gold, 2015 silver and 2014 bronze medalist. He used his prize money from last year to buy a snowmobile because, he said, "my goal is to film more well-rounded parts that include the big, gnarly street stuff I have became known for, with more powder and backcountry riding mixed in."
"I started snowboarding at a small hill in Finland," said Toni Kerkelä, the only snowboarder in Real Snow 2017 who hails from outside North America. "We started to hit the street spots next to the hill and film them. Since then, I have been filming a video part every year. I just love to be in the streets and be creative."
Kerkelä's filming teammate: Petrus Koskinen
"I have known Petrus since 2004," Kerkelä said of his filming teammate, Petrous Koskinen. "We started to film each other at the local hill and moved to the streets together. Recently, he was the main filmer and editor on the TransWorld 'Insight' movie. It's been a long journey to get here with him."
Fronius' filming teammate: Jake Durham
"Jake and I grew up riding/filming together," Fronius said of his filming teammate, Jake Durham. "He's [the] guy behind the lens on most of the edits that come out of Minnesota. We've come a long way, and it eventually brought us both to be a part of Videograss for the past three-to-four years. Jake's got a super unique way of filming and editing, and I thought he'd be perfect for this. After all, we both started this journey together, so I wouldn't have it any other way."
Paul's filming teammate: Colton Morgan
"Colton and I have been friends for years," Paul said. "We were both featured snowboarders in the movie 'Working for the City 2.' Since then, he has made the transition from snowboarding in front of the camera to being the lens man. He has slowly but surely become one of the best filmers in the game, but I have never had the chance to film with him until now. I was excited to ask him to make my Real Snow video part and was honored that he said yes."
Bourgeois' filming teammates: William and Charles Demers
"Their main job is to film hunting and fishing TV shows," Frank Bourgeois said of his filming counterparts, Will (right) and Charles (not pictured) Demers. "You can clearly see why: They don't worry about cold temperatures. They are very talented and dedicated, they're always ready to charge, they've been doing it since 2002, they're patient, good shovelers and really good friends of mine. We have each other's backs no matter what."
Thompson's filming teammate: Wojtek Targosz
Wojtek Targosz is no stranger to Real Snow. He was Scotty Lago's counterpart on his Fan Favorite-winning Real Snow Backcountry 2016 part. "I chose to work with Wojtek because he is a good friend of mine, and I think he does really good work with his filming," Thompson said. "He has a good eye for spots and angles, and I can depend on him to get a good shot. He is always down to wake up early or shovel or stand around in the cold as long as it takes and still not complain."
Chamberland's filming teammate: Mat Gibo
"Mat used to work for TV shows for 10 years, then quit to film snowboarding," Anto Chamberland said of his filming teammate and fellow Real Snow 2016 bronze medalist, Mat Gibo. "His knowledge of cameras and experience editing makes him great at what he does."
Judge: Eddie Wall
Why he's a judge: Pro snowboarder for 15 years who has filmed 20 video parts and stood on the podium of more than 30 contests. What he's looking for: "Editing and music are very important, but at the end of the day, it comes down to trick difficulty. I'm looking to see if they are doing tricks that have never been done, how big they are going, how technical they are getting and how much style they have. I'm also looking at how creative the features and tricks are. Are they thinking outside of the box?"
Judge: Cole Taylor
Why he's a judge: Snowboard filmer for 20-plus years with 13 movies to his credit. Real Snow bronze, silver and gold (filmer) medalist. What he's looking for: "Trick difficulty has more layers to it than just the trick itself. What was the size and consequence of the feature the trick is done on? Was the trick done with good style, and was it done proper? Has the trick been done before? These are things I look at with every shot in the part."
Judge: JP Walker
Why he's a judge: Pro snowboarder for nearly two decades with almost too many video parts to count. Inaugural Real Snow competitor. What he's looking for: "Style and trick difficulty with heavy emphasis on creativity and uniqueness."
Judge: Jeremy Jones
Why he's a judge: Professional snowboarder for 20-plus years who has seen (and participated in) every phase street snowboarding has been through. He was also one of the very first Real Snow competitors. "I feel like I am as close as you can get as a judge to truly understand what these snowboarders got through to get these sections done," Jones said. What he's looking for: "I want to see the highest level of street boarding. That includes spot locations, good filming and a rounded-out selection of tricks (tech gnar, gnar, tech, creative, never-been-done, etc.). If they come through with a good edit as well as all of the above, that rider and filmer team will be at the top!"