Earlier this week I had the pleasure of taking some time and interviewing two very talented skiers, Aiden Urlich and Sam Winship. The brains behind the up and coming film group: Troupe.
Hey Aiden how's it going? Hows your winter been so far?
Aiden: Going well, my winter has been pretty low key; I’m coming off a pretty serious ankle injury that has been hindering my skiing so I have been grinding on physical therapy and mellow laps the whole winter. It’s acted as a blessing in disguise for sure though, it enabled me to focus more on my work behind the lens, I’ve learned and improved my film-making as well as skiing more this season than any other. This is also my first winter away from Jackson Hole, full-time, and I love it; Park City is such a fun scene and it is so easy to film and lap here compared to Jackson.
How did Troupe come about?
Sam: When Aiden and I were in high school our seasons consisted of school during the week and skiing Jackson Hole and competing all over the Rocky Mountains during the weekends. When spring rolled around, all we had for season edits were shaky gopro shots from Jackson, and grainy comp shots that were hardly worth putting out. We both came to the realization that it would be fun to focus more time on learning how to film and edit well and put out better content; that lead us to where we are now.
A: The stepping stones laid for Troupe in our years during high school were, in a way, based off of our mutual longing for an increase in exposure. I got into freeride skiing pretty late (my freshman year) and by that time Sammy was already filming with TGR and stacking medals in the slope and big mountain scene. I had a lot of catching up to do, and joining the Jackson Hole Freeride Program which surrounded me with coaches and older kids that ripped helped pave the way. Sammy and I will get into this part later, but we had a coach named Tony Seibert who really instilled something special in us.
I’m kind of bummed to say this, but in my early stages, I was definitely out there trying to create content to get noticed by companies and impress people, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. I am a firm believer that staying true to one’s self and really just “doing you” is the best mechanism to achieve anything, especially in the ski industry. Mad people are obsessed with getting sponsored now and marketing themselves in such sus ways to do so, especially to keep their sponsors happy. At times, I’m definitely guilty of pandering to that system in order keep the free gear flowing, but it is disingenuous to everyone involved. I never feel alienated anymore and I’m happy now that I have such good relationships with people that support what is happening with me and Troupe.
As Sammy said the majority of the shots we ever really got were from comps and we always aspired for more dynamic and unique footage, this lead to more of a commitment to bringing a camera out and stacking heaters. I knew I wanted more control of all the content I created and I felt the need for it to be all under one umbrella, in addition to this I wanted it be a process that involved all the people we felt fit the program.
Skier: Aiden Ulrich / Photo: Jackson Tisi
How did you come up with the name?
S: Kind of a funny story actually, we realized that if we wanted to be constantly putting out content, it made sense to “brand” ourselves. We struggled with names for a while and then when I was scrolling through the World Wide Web I found an article that had all the names for different groups of animals (birds = flock and lions = pride ect.) and apparently a group of monkeys is called a Troope. We thought that sounded kinda cool and encompassed the idea of what we wanted the “brand” to be.
A: We altered the spelling a bit based off of French roots, the french root word means a creative group or dance collective, which in a way is what I wanted it to grow into, and Troupe was birthed. The conception of the name may be a bit lacking, but it really felt right when the word came up for the first time, we’re definitely a group of monkeys on skis.
Skier: Daniel Tisi / Photo: Jackson Tisi
Who is all apart of Troupe?
S:Troupe is old friends and new friends. Fast friends and slow freinds. Jackson, Utah, and Hood friends, park friends, and pow friends; Troupe is just our friends who ski.
Our list of friends includes: Aiden Ulrich, Sam Winship, Henry Hawks, Corey Jackson, Charlie Leveroni, Daniel Tisi, Jackson Tisi, Quinn Wolferman, Kellan Baker, Tucker Addison, Taylor Bond, Kysen Hall, Riley Rose, Casey Rose, Chris Astle, Forest Smith, Tagg Francis, Kolton Smith, Connery Lundin, Munster Factory, Will Relund, and Blaine Gallivan.
A: One is not truly affiliated until they’re in an edit, Troupe is also just whoever is down with the cause, the list is fluid and as we move forward I cannot ever see it getting smaller.
What are your plans for the rest of the winter?
A: Most of us are going to be posted up in Utah riding out PC and the rest of the Wasatch until it stops firing. Henry and Sammy are living in California so hopefully we’ll be seeing some content coming out of Bear and Mammoth from them. Jackson Tisi our other filmer is shooting music videos in New York and attending NYU for film school and he has been putting out some really creative work. Everyone else is out there getting it, which is really great to see, there is such a shared passion and drive throughout the entire crew. Hopefully some will purchase a May pass up at Hood too, and keep an eye out for a few more Jackson Hole and PC edits.
Anything set up for the summer?
A: A lot is still up in the air, but if everything goes as planned a few of us will be posted up at Mt. Hood the entire summer. I have been actively trying to manifest this, and if not for the whole summer, we’ll spend some time there for sure. I can't imagine summertime without Timberline National Forest in my life, anyone who has spent time there knows how magical and grounding an experience it is. Whether you’re a camper at Windells or slumming that gypsy life in the woods, the stoke is the same and unmatched anywhere else. (Keep your eyes peeled for some Summer Swell Surfing)
Troupe Summer Vacation
Favorite edit you guys have put out this winter/why?
A: My personal favorite edit from this winter is the one I shot with Kysen Hall, it was all filmed over the course of a few hours one sunny afternoon at PC, so all of the shots are really cohesive. Kysen has the illest style around so it would have been a challenge to make a shitty edit of him. When I edit, a huge part of the direction I take with the footage is based off of the subject, with Kysen it was so fun to edit to his snappy clean style so everything just fell into place. The whole parallel motif that plays back and forth between myself and who I shoot is an aspect that keeps me engaged in the entire process. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out when you’re filling up hard drives and sitting in front of a screen color grading, or listing to ski sounds for hours on end, but the final result is always so rewarding.
Troupe Affill Kysen Hall
S: I would have to go with Slave Ship for a few reasons. First, I don't get to ride PC that often any more and the park there is so damn fun to lap! I was only there for about 5 hours so I didn't get too many shots, but everyone else had solid footage. Second, That edit has so many different riders and styles that it doesn't get boring to me. And last, Aiden's cuts on the snow felt very unique to me and gave the edit this very fluid movement to it.
We also have a new project coming out with in the month that was shot in about 4 hours by Jackson Tisi on one very foggy day in December featuring Aiden, Connery and myself. It is going to be a little different from our past few edits and I'm very excited about it! Keep your eyes peeled for FOG dropping soon.
Skier: Quinn Wolferman / Photo: Rocko Menzyk
Who influences you in the ski industry?
A: I would like to think that I draw inspiration, not influence, from certain aspects of the ski industry. I try not to bite anyone’s style, or aesthetic, and just stay true to my own intentions and stylistic approaches to skiing and film. With that said, there are so many people and creative collectives in the industry that inspire me, so I’ll fire off list of crews and filmers (I’d list individual skiers as well, but it would be way too long and I’m sure I would leave out a lot of people).
(in no particular order):
The Bunch, SIMPLE, The Trash Party, The Coterie, The Big Picture, Good Enough (RIP you'll be missed), GGW, RATNATION, The Hood Crew, Nimbus Independent, Keeshlife, Inflik, HG Skis Team, 860 Media, Goose Fiends, GGW, 4bi9, Sauce Posse, and BRS.
Ryan Braun, Wyatt Kadwit, Cam Willis, Jacob Callaghan, Jeff Kohnstamm, Gavin Rudy, Matt Tipold, Andreas Olofsson, Zac Moxley, Liam McKinley, Oliver Hoblitzelle, and Gustav Cavallin.
A: A lot of the inspiration I get is from outside of the ski industry, I consume just about all the content that comes out of the ski scene, so I am constantly looking for more media to satisfy my itch. This is where Yawgoons, Strange Brew, 1817, Videograss, The Impaler, LurkNYC, GX1000, William Strobeck, Gosha Rubchisnky, Pyramid Country, and countless other crews/people come into play.
S: I agree with everything Aiden said 100%. If I had to narrow mine down I would say The Bunch, The Big Picture, and Nimbus Independent. That, by no means, is saying I want to copy what they do, but I probably have the most fun watching those guys and I know that they are having the most fun while making their videos.
Skier: Daniel Tisi / Photo: Jackson Tisi
S: One last thing. Having an interview about Troupe wouldn’t be complete without talking about Tony Seibert. Tony was our coach from 2011-2013 and then got caught in a big avalanche early in 2014. Tony was a huge inspiration as a coach and a skier, but even more so as a good friend.
Tony inspired Aiden and I in a way that I have trouble putting into words, but we try our best everyday to live the way he did. Which, for those of you who never had the pleasure of meeting him, was a balls to the wall, experience everything, and do what makes you happy kind of life. I can’t honestly say whether Troupe would have come about without Tony, but he brought us all closer together, and we will never ever forget that. #Troupe4Tony
A: I can honestly say Troupe would not be around if I hadn't met Tony. #pardeeon
Keep your eyes peeled for more Troupe content dropping very soon. In the meantime, make sure to follow them on instagram!