Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Jeff Schmuck & Duncan Lake
What have you guys been up to since JOSS?
Walker: The volcano stranded the JOSS crew in Sweden for six days, so LJ, Henrik and I filmed with Duncan for the 4bi20 edit. Once I got back to the States I moved out of my house in Breck and drove out to Oregon with LJ for the Poor Boyz shoot at Mount Bachelor. I just bought a sled, so I have been having a blast brappin it around Bachelor! Stoked for a month of park shoots and then Windells this summer!
LJ: I was able to spend a few days hanging out with homies in SLC and catch up on some old school work before meeting back up with Walker to head out to Mt. Bachelor.
Gus: I've just been filming at a bunch of park shoots with MSP. For the most part it's been really successful, but the first one we had was kind of a bust. We were in Steven's Pass, Washington for 11 days and had 11 down days. We got to hit one really sick, really gnarly, urban up rail on the first day, and then just sat around the rest of the time. Got the opportunity to catch up on some fun off-mountain activities though. We went bowling a lot, went golfing for my first time ever, went to karaoke night, played around in the arcade, and saw "Clash Of the Titans," which was the worst movie I've ever seen. After that we had a short shoot at Keystone which was really fun. It was kind of windy, but we managed to get a lot of work done. The jumps were perfect, and they had the cherry picker out, so I think we got some cool shots. After that, we had a sick shoot in AK! They built us a massive jump, 103 feet to the knuckle and like 125 feet to the sweet spot, and it went off. It was the biggest jump that any of us had seen, with the most scenic backdrop ever. I don't want to trick claim, but everyone should definitely be looking out for the new Matchstick movie this fall. Following this, Bobby and I are going to California to get our pipe game on at Mammoth. Get ready for it!
Kevin: After escaping the Icelandic volcano, I've been back in Salt Lake finishing up school and getting things sorted for the next trip.
Duncan: I was back in Breck for a bit and then cruised up to West Coast Session at Mount Hood, Oregon. We got a bunch of snow up there the first two days but then the sun broke and we were able to have some sick sessions on everything. Everyone really threw down and it was nice to be able to get a full sunset shoot this year. I just got down to Mammoth to do some shooting with the Jiberish crew, it was dumping last night but it looks like we are going to get some nice weather this week.
Looking back on JOSS, how would you say your experience at the event was overall?
Gus: JOSS was the craziest experience that I've ever had - it was amazing. I got a first hand glance at how everything works behind the scenes in the ski world. It's definitely more stressful than people think, but it was definitely a ton of fun. It was basically just sessioning a ton of fun park features, in the sun, with my friends! So sick!
LJ: Epic! I pride myself on living a busy life, trying to do it all; school, skiing, etc, and still I feel like we crammed a ton of living into that short two week period.
Walker: I loved it. It is an amazing event in an amazing setting. I am so glad I got to go!
Duncan: The whole experience was truly unforgettable. I had never been to Sweden before; I had high expectations and they were all exceeded. For the most part everyone was very friendly and welcoming. Åre is an incredible place, it’s hard to put everything we experienced into words.
Kevin: JOSS was a really great experience, I think everyone on our team was on the same page as far as having a good time but more importantly wanting to work hard and to really do our best in representing Newschoolers.
What was your favorite part or moment of the event?
LJ: That's a tough one. I'd have to say just shredding down the mountain with Walker after the first or second step-up session. Everyone else had long since gone down, the sun was setting, and we had just finished a stupendous day. I just felt sooo good.
Walker: For me it was the second session on the step-up, because it was one of the dopest sessions I have ever witnessed. Pretty much everybody learned a new trick with Russ and Andreas doing right dub 12's and Schlopy doing forward and switch double 14's...craziness!
Gus: Honestly, I think that my favorite moment of the event was getting to ride in the helicopter from the Ostersund airport into Åre. It was my first time in a heli and we kept egging the pilot on to do tricks, so he basically just scared the shit out of all of us.
If you guys could go back in time and change anything about how you approached JOSS, would you?
Duncan: In hindsight, when you finish an edit, there is almost always little things you wished you had more time to clean up or certain supporting shots you wish had gotten. Overall I wouldn’t change much about our approach though...we came hungry.
Gus: I personally don't think so. Our team went in with a super agressive, hungry approach and we all skied as hard as we could and as much as we could, and I think that it showed, so I don't know what else we could have changed.
LJ: I think in retrospect, if we could go back we may have done a few things differently, like taking better advantage of each session because of how many weather days we ended up having, but all in all I'm pretty stoked on our final product.
Kevin: We had a lot of after parties in our room, and since we were all JOSS rookies I feel like the other competitors liked to move the party to our room because we didn't know any better. So next year we'll know to take all the parties to Team NS 2's room!
Walker: And I would have booked my ticket a day earlier so I could have hit the rail garden setups on the first day! (laughs)
Were you guys happy with your result?
Walker: Definitely. Being a 100% rookie team and coming in 2nd makes me really proud.
Gus: Yeah we were really stoked to come into the event as the underdogs and to take home second. I think that we were pleased with the final product we put out, and so far everyone seems to be stoked on the video too!
LJ: For sure. I mean obviously we all wanted to win, but it was nice to see that we at least measured up to the best out there.
Duncan: You have to be happy with getting 2nd place while competing against some of the best skiers and filmers in the world. However it seemed to me like there was some inconsistencies with the whole judging "system" from the start of the event to the end.
Kevin: I was really happy when after the overall points were added we ended up in second, and now that we know how the event works it would be sick to have a go at it again.
Duncan and Kevin, you guys had never met in person before arriving in Åre, which must have been a bit nerve racking going into it. How'd it go?
Kevin: It was awesome working with Duncan. From the first night we met up we both kind of seemed to be on the same wavelength, and he ended up being a really great filmmaker to work with.
Duncan: It was definitely a bit tough coming into the event not knowing each other. We were able to talk online before the event a fair amount and toss some ideas around though. When I finally got to Sweden we hit it off pretty well and definitely seemed to be on the same page as far as our vision for the final video. Our different styles of shooting and editing seemed to compliment each other nicely and we worked well together in the field. Kevin is super talented and it was an honor to work with him.
And Kevin, I know you just won Best Action Sports Film at NFFTY. Tell us about that.
Yeah, I spent this season shooting for 4bi9 media and I cut together a short experimental piece with all my footage to enter in NFFTY. I was pretty excited when I got the call that my piece "Sound & Light" had made the official selection for the Festival and even more stoked when it was voted Best Action Sports Film. They had over 7,000 people view and vote on the films over the weekend and it was fun to show a completely different community what we do. "Sound & Light" will be a bonus feature in this year's 4bi9 release as well as the footage being included in AJ and Napes' cut of their new movie "Gunnie Season".
And LJ, Walker and Gus, what were some of the biggest highlights from your fellow teammates?
Gus: I can't really think of just one particular highlight from the event, but those boys just straight killed it the whole time. We did a good job pumping each other up and getting stoked on everything, so I guess the highlight for me was just skiing all day, and then going from a jump session straight to an urban rail, hitting it for a few hours, and then packing up, changing and going straight to the club. It was wild!
LJ: Walker did the best right 9 I've ever seen, as well as a rodeo 9 that was literally perfect. But when he did both switch 10's off the JOI jump I just lost it. Oh, and did I mention they were all blunted? And then it goes without saying that Gus slayed the urban scene, sliding the gnarliest piece of metal I've ever seen and then switch-up pretzel 4'ing a rail that took us hours just to get. And his switch 10 mute to blunt was legit.
Walker: Both of those guys killed it throughout the two weeks. LJ doing the switch right dub 10 on the step-up and Gus sliding one of the gnarliest urban rails I have ever seen were definitely highlights. I think the c-rail setup with the mandatory switch-up around the pole was the most impressive highlight though. I separated my shoulder that day, so I just helped whip them in and got to see everything. Neither of them got close to locking on again after the switch-up for at least four hours. LJ and I were talking about calling it and then on one of his last tries, he stomped a k-fed. This inspired Gus, but we only had one camera left with one battery and the battery light blinking. Gus was literally sprinting up for just one more and luckily he stomped it just before the camera died. It was definitely an inspiring session to watch, we were all so jazzed after that.
A very limited edition run of customizable Team NS jerseys is now available in the NS Store. Get em before they're gone!
Would you guys go back to JOSS again as the same team if given the chance?
Gus: Definitely, I'd be stoked to go back!
Walker: I dunno, JOSS is a blast for sure, and I think every pro skier should experience it at least once, but it's amazing how much of a segment you can film in the month of April. Hopefully we get invited again though, and I'll decide when the time comes.
And lastly, what would you like to say to all the kids on NS that gave you this amazing opportunity?
LJ: I'm honestly so thankful and honored to be given such an opportunity. I skied my hardest hoping to stoke everyone out and take full advantage of the opportunity you guys gave me. So thanks!!!
Walker: THANK-YOU! I am so glad you picked this team and I hope we made you proud!
Gus: Thank-you guys all so much. I really appreciate the opportunity, and I'm pumped to have you guys supporting me! I think you chose a great team, and I hope you think so too!
Kevin: Thanks a ton for all the support as a filmmaker, and I hope everyone enjoyed our edit.
Duncan: Thanks to the NS kids for selecting such a badass team of skiers! They all worked their asses off and repped Newschoolers hard.
JOSS: Team Newschoolers