Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Erin Valverde-Pollard
There isn't a single word in any of the 6,912 languages of the world that can properly describe or sum up the Nimbus project. It would be next to impossible to argue the fact that they are some of the most forward-thinking people in the skiing community. They single-handedly threw out the standard ski filmmaking rule book last year by releasing a series of feature-length and highly-entertaining webisodes called Hunting Yeti that both revolutionized the distribution model for ski films and broke down barriers that others are now just beginning to climb over. And just when everyone thought they had seen it all, they unleashed an entirely different movie of the same name that skiers of all ages hailed as timeless. All that, and the impeccably talented and unique group of riders that make up their crew have spent the better part of their time on snow helping change the way we look at skiing while taking the sport in directions that were previously unforeseen. This year they were back at it, releasing another critically-acclaimed webisode series called En Route which saw them traveling to the four corners of the globe in search of deep snow and good times. And as I type this, the iconic Eric Pollard is undoubtedly hunkered down in his editing suite in the shadow of Mount Hood creating their second movie, Contrast. Hot on the heels of the release of the one of a kind trailer for the not to be missed film, I had the utmost pleasure of chatting with Eric Pollard, Pep Fujas, Andy Mahre, Chris Benchetler, Ike Smith and their producer and marketing manager Gary Winberg about the past, present and future of Nimbus. - Jeff Schmuck
So this is the second year of Nimbus and you guys again released a tremendous series of webisodes over the course of the winter in En Route, and are now working on your feature length film Contrast, which you're dropping the trailer for right now. Before we get into the actual film, how do you feel the En Route webisodes turned out, and what are your thoughts on people’s response to it?
Eric Pollard: I think it all came together really well. It was non-stop, the entire year was the most busy I have ever been. We scored good weather and good snow each En Route and I think they were pretty entertaining to watch. Hands down the most fun I have ever had.
Pep Fujas: I believe they went really well and captured the essence of the places we went accordingly. When I go back and re-watch them the feeling and vibe of the trips reemerge which tells me we did a good job portraying what happened.
Andy Mahre: The webisodes turned out great. It’s been a big learning experience for me, and I’m guessing it’s the same for the rest of the crew. I expected some people to like the webisodes, and some to dislike them. I hit that thought on the head of the nail. Overall though, I think the majority of people enjoy watching what we had done the previous month.
Chris Benchetler: I felt they turned out great. We had a few hiccups with weather, but managed to portray a more personal, trip-oriented experience, compared to the Hunting Yeti webisodes. I also think that vibe will only improve as we move forward and figure out more and more when and where to turn on the camera, which will in the end truly capture the temperament of our crew. As for people’s thoughts, I’ve received numerous emails expressing fans support, and I couldn’t be more stoked. The viewers and fans are everything, so it’s relieving and refreshing to know people appreciate and enjoy all our hard work.
Gary Winberg: I think they turned out really well, En Route - Japan is probably my all time favorite. I’m the office jockey and don’t travel with the crew, so my experience of the webisodes is more like a normal viewer. But I enjoy the entire process, the quick turnaround and seeing them develop. From receiving email updates or seeing the blog posts, then gathering images and getting stories, to the creation of the electronic promo tools to the final release and syndication of the episode, it’s just very gratifying. Then the best part is reading all the comments, like those left on the Newschoolers posts or our own site. The production life cycle and feedback all happens in a month instead of just once a year. I do wish more people would download the HD computer versions, as the quality and viewing experience is so much better than the streamed.
After your first film project, IDEA, what made you decide to switch up the format and make the webisode series? It seems like Nimbus is leading the online video charge, so where did this new distribution method come from? Seems like it’s a lot more work for a season?
Eric: Every year prior to Hunting Yeti we captured hours of great footage that we didn’t end up using. We knew we wanted to utilize that footage and make edits throughout the season, and we just needed a way everyone could watch the edits. After some brainstorming with Gary Winberg (our producer and marketing manager) and K2 skis we came up with the idea of committing to a webisode series. I had made edits throughout the filming for IDEA so I knew I could manage the extra work. We settled on five webisodes the first season of Hunting Yeti, and we shortened that to three for the new series; En Route. We felt it was super important to change up the way movies were being made and the way they were being distributed. Our crew is all just a bunch of skiers, we can all edit, film and ski. It’s truly a rider-run production company.
Gary: I wasn’t part of the crew during the filming or creation of IDEA, I was just a sponsor at the time. At the end of the summer, right after I had finished watching a pre-screening of IDEA, I was all excited and started rambling to Pollard a bunch of different business models. One of the main goals was to reach as many people as possible, sharing these guys’ viewpoint on skiing. As a new film company trying to build a brand, you can reach so many more people in a shorter time span with digital distribution. There are a ton of logistical hurdles to make it happen, but creating a solid online series met the main objective. I also had done a little something like it in my old days working at Helly Hansen. When I was there, Eric did a re-edit of his film part and we had something like 30,000 downloads off the site in a month. This was a year after we had done a free team promo DVD and produced over 300,000 copies. That’s when I learned with a DVD you are physically bound by a production cost, that you have to pay up front before you can reach or communicate with people. With digital media there is no variable cost per person you reach and less barrier to entry. So it was something I had begun at Helly but never totally finished before I left. It also came up during a meeting with our presenting sponsor, K2. If I remember correctly, Mike Gutt really pushed us to do webisodes. I could go on about the business stuff for a long time, but I don’t want to bore you. And yes, it is a whole lot more work, but mostly for Eric.
Pep: Yeah Gary was definitely the brains behind that move but it was something that we all knew was the future of media development. More people are using the Internet then ever before so it seems only natural to be able to give people more content then one movie every year. We also wanted people to be able to watch things as they happened throughout the year, opposed to a one-time glory film. Also, only so much can be said in a half hour to hour-long movie. The webisodes give us a way to show everything, opposed to jam packing a movie with just skiing. It basically just means more work for Eric in the editing room and more development when we are on a trip or filming.
Andy: The Internet really is an amazing marketing tool, and it was only a matter of time before there was to be up to date content added on a regular basis. It is more work trying to document more than just the ski side of things for each trip, and the editing puts a huge workload on Eric’s shoulders, but more work doesn’t always mean less fun.
Ike Smith: I think what it came down to was that everyone agreed that we needed to figure out a way to get the content out there sooner, and more frequently. Ultimately it came down to Pollard being able to ski and be a pro editor all winter long. It can be more work trying to produce content for a 25-minute webisode over the course of two weeks, but that is the time frame available when you’re trying to make it for one trip.
I snuck a peek at the trailer for Contrast the other day and I can confidently say that it's easily the most different trailer I've ever seen for a ski film. Will the movie be reflective of that? Do you worry a teaser that’s so different from the standard format might not be well accepted or viewed?
Chris: Well, it’s always hard to say. But, I think when trying to stay at the forefront of the ski film industry, and when trying to follow your heart, risks need to be taken. That’s the one thing I love about our crew; no one is a sheep following the herd. We all love skiing and do the best we can to show that through our videos. The movie itself will hopefully be received well. It will feature rider segments and we are trying to get the rights to some bitchin sound tracks, so I hope you will like it.
Eric: I’m glad you find the trailer to be different, because that is exactly what we are going for. We have a unique group of skiers. Pep, Andy and Chris have all skied for the biggest film companies, Warren Miller, MSP, etc. Each of them stopped filming for large companies because they wanted something more out of the films they were skiing in. That is why Nimbus is in existence, to bring something different to the table. I’m honored that each of them traded a life of high budget films and larger recognition for a more authentic approach and a different kind of motion picture. Contrast is going to be a different. We are not trying to compete with all the film companies that are releasing movies based on the best and newest tricks thrown last season. We are making movies that all skiers can relate to, and be inspired to ski. The dominant and proven ski movie format that just shows jump-jump-lifestyle-jump will always have a place. We are simply trying to be different with IDEA, Hunting Yeti, En Route and now Contrast. I’m really happy with how Contrast is looking so far, it’s close to being finished, and I think people are going to really like it a lot.
Pep: I think people will accept it for what it is. It is truly unique and captures more then just the skiing. Everyone knows that skiing isn’t just about getting that one turn or landing that jump even though that is why we go to great lengths to get it. It is all about the process leading up to it, road tripping, environment, friends, camaraderie, and the overall enjoyment you get from the experience. The teaser is a foresight to how prolific the movie will be in terms of capturing the whole experience.
Gary: It may be a little different, but it’s still about skiing. Whenever something is done differently it’s always harder to judge or compare, but I think as long as the group is proud of the work, that’s what matters most. Of course it won’t be for everyone, but that’s how life is supposed to be.
Ike: I think the movie will definitely be reflective of something different in the ski industry. And as far as not being accepted right away, I think that usually means you’ve done something right.
Andy: We make movies to share our love of skiing. We want our viewers to feel more than just amazed from watching amazing stunts. We want them to relate to our views, make them think back to when they started skiing, or the great times they have had skiing with their family and friends. As for acceptance of our teaser, I’m not worried. People will like it, and others will dislike it. That’s a fact of life and if you get all worked up over something you can’t control, you are wasting energy.
How challenging is it to stay unique in an industry with so many other film companies out there, most of whom are also striving to do something different?
Eric: The difficult part isn’t being unique. There are so many different perspectives to take, the challenging aspect is deciding which kind of movie to make each year. We loved making our webisode series; En Route. It really shows what we do each trip, bad weather or epic conditions, more than just jump after jump. We edit and release the movies days after we get home so people can watch what just went down on our latest trips. It is also really high quality if you don’t mind me bragging, so we are going to continue that series. Movies are different, we get an opportunity to sum up a year of skiing, portray individuals and take more time to create a more polished motion picture. Contrast will be different from Hunting Yeti because we skied a lot of locations that we didn’t make an En Route episode of, so the footage will be unique to the movie.
Andy: Every company does something different. Sure, some videos may give the same vibe, and have similar looking shots, but no one really duplicates what the others do. We all just have fun, and try to express our views through our videos.
Chris: I think I answered this above, but we just follow our hearts, take outer inspirations, and feed off each other’s ideas. Basically we just do what feels natural. The mountains are an endless domain to test your creativity.
Hunting Yeti was my favorite film last year and a huge part of why I loved it so much was the soundtrack. I know you guys have some great plans for the musical aspect of Contrast. Can you give us a little tease of what you'll be skiing to?
Eric: That’s rad it was your favorite film, thanks very much. Music for movies is what really sets the pace and the feel. Last year we went with a classic rock feel, it was something I had wanted to do since I became a professional skier. This year we used some classic rock again, but we are also adding some indie rock, reggae, and more. It’s different from last year’s music, but with a few choice tracks from the classic rock era.
Pep: I’ll try to sing my song for you…"All the wiiindows are glowin’, the branches bendin’ low…the skyyyline is swingin’, rockin back aaand forth, walkin’ down this dirt road, watchin’ at the sky, it’s all I caaaan do, it’s all I caaaan do!"
Last fall I gave a copy of Hunting Yeti to my dad who's an old-time ski bum and he quickly called me after watching it saying he thought it was the best ski movie ever made, because in his words, he felt like it could get everyone from a tall-tee wearing 12-year-old jibber up to an old geezer like himself stoked to just go out and ski. Is being appealing to that broad and diverse of a market something you guys strive to do with your film projects?
Eric: We definitely want to relate to skiers in all age groups and all styles of skiing. We are not going for mass-appeal, that would entail us making some kind of tall tee music video. We just want to make a film that is captivating and artistic, something that all skiers can watch.
Chris: We hope for anybody (skier, surfer, snowboarder, young, old) to pick up one of our movies and say, “wow skiing is really cool.” “I had no idea.” “I want to try that.” The feeling of traveling with close friends (or even family), and skiing powder is something truly special and should be shared with the masses.
Gary: There are universal themes or truths about skiing and the lifestyle that relate to everybody who is fortunate enough to be apart of the sport. I think because some of those elements come out in the Nimbus projects, that they have a broader appeal. My parents loved it too, which was nice because now they don’t think I’m wasting my time. (laughs)
On the heels on that story, I think it's fair to say that Nimbus has unquestionably become one of the most unique and more passionately followed film projects in skiing. Did you ever think it would become so popular so quickly? And how does it make you guys feel?
Eric: It’s huge to us. Like I said earlier; Pep, Chris and Andy didn’t have to choose this path. They could have carried on creating great parts for big movie companies, but they chose to take a chance. So it’s means a lot to each of us that people are watching our project and enjoying it. Thanks very much to everyone watching!
Andy: We’d be crazy not to hope we’d gain popularity quickly, but you don’t actually know until you try. So that’s just what we did, we tried. It’s cool to have as many people follow what we do. As much as I’d like to say that I do this for myself, I can’t because it’s not entirely true. Without viewers and fans, this wouldn’t be possible.
Chris: I had no idea we would get so much love. I certainly hoped for it, but it’s definitely an awesome feeling. To see people across the board within the industry striving to do what we are doing with online distribution is very humbling. I just hope we maintain that support so we can keep doing what we are doing for years to come.
Gary: It’s extremely gratifying to see the organic growth and following. We don’t have a big budget to do huge advertising, so the word of mouth and people telling their friends is awesome. It reaffirms that what we are doing is going in the right direction and inspires me to keep working.
Pep: Wait, we’re popular? If we’re popular then where are all the ski bunnies in my non-existent hot tub wearing nothing but neon headbands? If we are popular like you say we are then it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside and makes me want to go buy that hot tub to see what happens.
It seems kind of silly to ask how your season went since we've had the pleasure of seeing a lot of it via the En Route webisodes, but in your own words, how was your winter? Did it work out as planned?
Pep: (laughs) As planned. That made me laugh. Generally speaking, Japan went as planned and Austria did not. You can only expect so much when taking trips, so you really have to go with the flow and take what you can get. What we got was an abundance of powder and fun times so I think it went very well.
Eric: I had my best season ever. We never stopped traveling and we kept getting great snow and good weather. Canada, Japan, Austria, North Cascade Heli, Poland, Slovakia, Cali, Oregon. Each location was so much fun. I was able to capture a few things I had been wanting to do for a while. Each season presents new opportunities. I try to approach it with an open mind. I don’t go out and think to myself before I even see a jump, “I want to do a fakie 7 to the left into pow today,” I just go out and see what there is to offer that day. Maybe it’s a line to rip, or a windlip to slash or a roller to butter. The season just rolls on of it’s own momentum that way. Sometimes it’s difficult because in the end it’s only what you capture that you are judged by. There are so many different variations on slashes, airs, spins and turns that I want to capture, but I cant get ahead of myself. We only get a limited number of days to film what I want. This year we shot the entire Austria webisode in three storm days and one sunny day. Japan was one and a half sunny days and a number of storm days. This year I probably only had about ten sunny days total to capture everything, but it worked out. Personally I just love skiing powder. Turning, landing, taking off, everything feels different in powder. I grew up watching Peter Line and Devun Walsh, today I watch Gigi Ruff and Nico Muller. Those individuals have the same mindset, natural, fresh and style. I don’t get motivated by crowds, money or fame. I get motivated to ski and push myself by terrain and conditions. I came from park so I will always love it, but it’s not what I like to film anymore. Contrast is broken up in a variety of ways, but each rider has a part. I think my part this year is my best ever.
Chris: I had a blast too. I definitely had goals and aspirations of hitting a lot more jumps, and trying a few more new things, but I’m very thankful I stayed healthy and got to ski all year. So, yeah the season was unreal, but I just hope for the opportunity to try some new ideas next year.
Andy: Yeah this last winter was nothing short of epic. I hoped to ski a bunch of powder, and that’s exactly what happened. Everywhere we went there was good deep snow and decent weather.
Ike: The winter was definitely great, we scored on both overseas trips, which I’ve heard never happens. As far as the plan, well, nothing goes according to plan when making a ski movie.
And speaking of the overseas trips, much like you guys did with IDEA, you spent the bulk of the 07/08 season on your home turf in the Pacific Northwest, and then this past winter you guys seemed to shift gears a bit by doing more trips over the pond to Japan, Austria and Eastern Europe. What made you guys decide to do the bigger trips and how did it go for you?
Pep: Well I love the traveling aspect of skiing and really enjoy skiing in different cultures and environments. Going to these places really enriches my soul and character. Chris and I seemed to have lots of problems with our landing gear, which caused both misery and humility, but in the end upon checking out the footage we realized we can still throw down and crash with the best of them. (laughs)
Eric: We wanted to change it up, go back to some places we hadn’t been for a long time, or places we had never been. The En Route format works well with travel and new locations. We are going to continue to explore and hopefully our En Route series will be helpful to skiers who want to go to the same places.
Chris: I think we just wanted to make the webisodes a unique and fun traveling/skiing experience. Traveling, experiencing life, and becoming worldlier are some of the best aspects of our jobs, so why not take advantage of every opportunity possible. It went really well in those countries. We scored amazing snow, had a great crew, ate some phenomenal foods, and got to experience very different cultures. It doesn’t get any better.
Andy: And you can only show the PNW so much before it begins to get repetitive. Not to say we won’t continue to film there, but we had to change it up to ski and experience different cultures. Keep things changing, you know?
You guys have teamed up with Poor Boyz and I know you have some really good things coming down the pipe thanks to the partnership. What can everyone out there expect to see from you guys in the future and what exactly is the partnership with PBP all about?
Gary: Working with PBP is great. Tyler, Johnny, Cody and the whole team over there are really easy to work with. Since Nimbus is so small with less resources than some of the bigger film companies, we needed a little assistance. The main part of the association is the film tour. Film tours are a ton of work and we weren’t going to be able to organize and execute one by ourselves.
Pep: We love Poor Boyz and Poor Boyz loves us, so why not work together and form a bond that can help push each other to new heights. Yes we are competing factions but at the same time we share similar goals. Among other things we will be touring side by side with Poor Boyz all across the nation and globe sharing our movies with the masses.
Speaking of which, the Triple Threat Tour you’re doing with Poor Boyz in particular is shaping up to be a monster of a tour, and I spoke with the PBP guys about it last week and they're damn near wetting their pants in excitement over it already. Tell everyone out there what's going down with it this fall.
Pep: Hopefully they are wearing Depends because that might be embarrassing. But yeah, the tour is shaping up really nicely and I will be trying to make it to as many premieres as possible because they are going to be really fun events, not just ski movie showings. It will be a bit of a longer affair that will include a photo and art exhibit prior to the movie showings, the movies and then a no-holds-barred after party. I mean to say Andy, Ike and Wiegand will probably have nightly bouts depending on the quantity of alcoholic beverages consumed. If that’s something you want to witness then you know what to do.
Gary: Yeah and it’s the most organized it’s ever been. The tour has been branded as a separate event with three parts: an art and photo exhibit, the film showing and then an after party. There are already something like 40 stops booked. Be sure to come check it out when it comes to your town. It all kicks off in Seattle at the King Cat Theater on September 12th.
Gary you were also telling me that you guys have a really cool project in the works where people will be able to digitally download your films, and if I'm not mistaken, that's the first time a major ski film company has offered that. Give us the scoop.
Gary: Well I don’t think we can claim first to offer digital downloads for dollars. I’m pretty sure TGR, MSP and Rage all sell their videos on iTunes, but iTunes really dictates price and it’s kind of like being a ski title in a Blockbuster video store you know? Where it’s just hard to find unless you know what you’re looking for. So we did a deal where we will sell direct and will have a custom digital download storefront right on the Nimbus site. People will have the choice to buy Contrast, Hunting Yeti and IDEA as an HD computer, iPhone or iPod video file. It should be pretty cool.
I also heard that Hunting Yeti and the En Route series will be available on TV? Did Nimbus secure a new TV deal, and if so, where can we watch it?
Gary: Having the webisode edits on TV was part of the plan from the beginning. In the first year, our digital distributor was Rip.tv and they had a mountain bike series called “Drop In” that was on TV and online. Nimbus was trying to do something similar. We structured each episode to be at least 22 minutes, so it could translate to a half hour TV show. Unfortunately the TV aspect didn’t come to fruition in the first year. I honestly was starting to get kind of nervous because we were spending some serious coin on music. We cleared tracks for TV, digital download, DVD and theatre for a five-year time period. So some music can be almost twice as much as it would be just for DVD. If it weren’t for Chris Stoltz and Tired Eyes producing a lot of the music, it wouldn’t have been possible. So we are really happy to have the webisodes shown as they currently are edited on The Ski Channel. It’s a video on demand service that’s available in 12 million households.
Dan from Rage Films was telling me in an interview a few weeks back that he's always been somewhat envious of you guys, because you're such a tightly knit crew that tends to stick together most of the winter and get your work done as a singular unit as opposed to having multiple film crews and athletes running around all over the place. And obviously with sponsorship dollars and the way contracts are structured it can be very difficult to film only a handful of athletes. What are the advantages and disadvantages of that?
Chris: The main disadvantage, like you said above, is sponsorship dollars. It’s tough spending your own money and getting so far in the hole, because eventually you might not come out. We have to work very hard to stay within budgets, travel less, have less camera equipment, etc, but on the flipside, there are tons of advantages, which is why we started Nimbus. You contain complete creative control, ski and film with close friends and a trustworthy crew, travel where you want when you want, become very “hands on” and involved with filming, etc. I definitely love what we have going on.
Eric: Having less skiers is vital to our creativity and our maneuverability. We can decide where to go, when to leave, and how to get there on the fly. It also allows us to depict more personality and have a motion picture that doesn’t drag on with part after part for an hour plus. I love skiing, and I can watch more ski movies than anyone I know, save for maybe Benchetler, but I can hardly make it through the larger film company films. They are just too long and repetitive. Having a smaller crew also makes filming for En Route possible. It just wouldn’t work filming nine skiers on one resort with two filmers. The one thing that is a negative is that having less skiers makes generating sponsorship dollars very difficult in comparison to the normal ski movie format where production companies charge ‘x’ amount for each athlete.
Andy: I’d say the biggest advantage is we are all friends, so working together is a given. We know each other’s ability and we have similar views on what we want to do. One disadvantage is we are together as a big group so often it can be stressful when we are in a small zone that doesn’t have an abundance of features or lines.
Ike: I see the advantages being that you get the small crew, and you have the freedom and mobility to drop everything and move when needed. The only tricky thing is the whole crew is together a lot, which can wear on the dynamic at times.
Gary: And the advantage from a business perspective is the operating costs are lower. The disadvantage is the options for endemic sponsorship are limited to the four athletes. If their sponsors weren’t so supportive of them as individuals, it wouldn’t be possible. Another advantage would be that having only four athletes allows Nimbus to tell more of a story in our feature film than trying to squeeze 20 riders into a 60-minute film.
Tell us about the birth of Nimbus and when, where and how you guys came up with the idea to conceive it.
Eric: When I was editing IDEA, I knew I wanted to make more films. I just couldn’t bring myself to go back to filming for another company and watching my footage get cut up and portrayed a way a didn’t agree with. So I pretty much just made a decision that summer to make a film. I spoke with Gary who was my Line skis team manager at the time and asked for some advice. He got so excited about changing the format of ski movies that he came on board full time. The first skier I asked to be involved was Chris Benchetler. He signed up right away. I had spoken with Pep and Andy a bit while filming for IDEA, but they didn’t come on board until later that summer. So stoked Pep and Andy did, they are irreplaceable. They are both such individuals and talented and creative skiers and are perfect for the project. The only reason they hesitated was because they were working on some other plans. After that we went to all of our sponsors and told them what we were planning to do. We asked them to support us, and they did.
Chris: Yeah it was definitely Eric’s baby. He came to each of us with the idea to continue making his own movie after his success with IDEA. I was so excited, I basically lost my mind when he called and asked me to join forces. And as time went on, we brainstormed and thought of new ways to create something different.
Pep: During that year we were filming for IDEA, we all knew that our path had been laid for us. It basically took Eric calling us and simply confirming that we were still onboard to go forward with the next project. For me, I mentioned to him one day while filming each other that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my career. That was the day for me. I am sure it all came to each one of us at a different time, but it was all kind of a non-spoken agreement that our situation couldn’t get any better and now was as good a time as any to take the reins and lead ourselves down the path less taken.
I know that Eric Iberg played a huge part in Nimbus' inception when he worked with you guys on IDEA. When he told you that it was likely going to be his last film, did you question whether or not to continue? Just how influential was he on you guys starting Nimbus and what advice did he give you?
Eric: Iberg has had a major impact on me from skiing, to filmmaking and finally to starting Nimbus. He has had similar influence on the three Phils, and Tanner. I met Iberg years ago when I was competing at the X Games in Mount Snow. He was filming for a Dynastar movie with the Phils, Mickael and Candide. We hit it off and he allowed me to film for that movie and I the only skier who was not on Dynastar. That movie was Royalty. It is still one of my favorite ski films. We just carried on making films together, though I wasn’t making the films with Iberg, I was just skiing in them. After Royalty we did Stereotype and WSKI 106. Then we talked about making a different kind of film together. Small number of like-minded skiers, with my good friend Justin Wiegand filming with Iberg, and Pep and Andy skiing with me. It worked out well. I didn’t doubt that IDEA was going to be Iberg’s last project. He really poured himself into it. What he did for me was allow me to do what I wanted with IDEA. He would let me grab the 16mm and film whatever I wanted even though he knew we were over budget and we would have to make it up in other ways. He also let me pick music and edit the way I wanted to. He instilled a creative freedom in me that I ran with and when I started Nimbus. He told me when filming for IDEA that his goal was to inspire the three of us to carry on and continue making films. Some of my favorite shots in that film were shot when I would just grab the cam and go shoot my friends at Hood. Like Ike goal posting the two big firs, or Pep skiing switch through the trees. Those simple shots, just skiing with friends are what made me want to make movies.
Now that you're two years in, what are your thoughts on the past, present and future of Nimbus?
Eric: I’m really proud of what we have pulled off the past couple years. I’m happy to be where we are now and I’m excited for the future. We have a lot of plans for the future.
Pep: I think the past was very productive and we showed ourselves what is possible for the future. We are currently staging in the process of evolving our tactics and expanding our outlook in terms of our own capabilities. The future holds exciting things that should reach far beyond just a simple film company.
Chris: I’m really happy with everything we’ve managed to accomplish. The past winter was definitely some of my best memories in skiing thus far. And I think the future holds big plans, and an epic feature film. If we can pull off what we have in mind, it’s going to be all time. I can’t wait for the new season to start and see what lies ahead.
Gary: The past has been an incredible learning experience. Lot of people didn’t think we’d be able to achieve what we have, at times I didn’t think some of it was possible. The present is very exciting as all sorts of opportunities are now becoming available. The future, well, I foresee widgets, iPhone apps and more time for me to ski as the foundation of the business is now set up.
Andy: And as long as the clouds continue to form and drop frozen H20 on the planet, we will continue to produce ski videos, photos, and stories.
We touched on the trailer a bit earlier but what can everyone expect to see when they scroll down to the bottom of this interview and watch it for themselves?
Chris: It shows a close group of friends enjoying life, travel, and Mother Nature. I think it also shows how much daily fun we have along with a “tease” of good action that you can only see in the feature film.
Eric: Well I imagine if they are anything like me they will bypass the interview and watch the trailer first. Then they will go back and read this interview. So I hope you enjoyed it, and if you haven’t seen it yet check it out.
Andy: Hopefully they will enjoy what they see and reflect back on the reasons why they started skiing, and why they continue to ski.
What are your guys plans for next winter?
Eric: En Route Season 3 (including Hunting Yeti) and making another final project that will be different and hopefully refreshing to all the skiers out there.
Pep: Plans? Skiers don’t plan their seasons this far in advance. The thought of not knowing makes next season so much more exciting. I’m just trying to get back on my feet after a couple months of rehabbing my knees.
Chris: Continue traveling and making the webisodes, as well as make a timeless feature film like no other. I can’t wait.
Andy: Film, film, film. Ski pow, ride sleds, and smile.
Ike: And doing it bigger and better!
And lastly, is there anybody you’d like to thank and/or recognize?
Pep: I don’t think there is anyone I don’t want to thank. Thanks to everyone who supports us, yes that includes you, you and you, our sponsors and their vassals, lords and minions. To all of our parents and their abilities to conceive us as we are truly part of the lucky sperm and egg club! To Michael Jackson for Thriller. To Eric and Erin Pollard for being so diligent with their efforts to achieve success. To Gary Winberg for all of his insight and business abilities. And lastly to the Nimbus clouds for their ability to blanket this earth with snow!
Andy: I have to thank my family and friends. My parents have supported me throughout my career, and my sponsors have too. I also have to thank everyone that makes Nimbus possible. From the business gurus to the athletes to the fans. Without you, I wouldn’t be doing what I do, so thank you. JH, you’ve supported me for a long time, thanks.
Chris: I’d like to thank my family, sponsors: Atomic, Sessions, Dragon, Da Kine, Cti, Clif Bar, Joystick, Mammoth Mountain, my girlfriend, Nimbus Independent (the whole crew), all the fans and viewers, my outer inspirations, and Reese. R.I.P Dad and Shane McConkey.
Ike: And to all the sponsors for allowing us to call this our job...thanks!
Gary: Again I have to thank Tired Eyes and H-Mob Productions. Their music really fits our style and without them we couldn’t afford what we are doing. Hopefully we’ll be able to make it more worth their while in the future. Everybody always thanks the sponsors, but for us the support is really cool, they didn’t have to take a risk on a new ski film company when there are already so many good projects to support. I’d like to thank the athletes in Nimbus, as they took a huge career risk becoming part of Nimbus when they were already stars in major productions. Dan at VAS Entertainment for also taking a risk on us, allowing the digital distribution side. Luke at BNQT for grasping the business plan and building us such a killer website. Lastly I have to thank my parents, above all else I hope I make them proud.
Eric: Too many to name. First off Newschoolers, you guys are awesome. Thanks very much for doing what you are doing and including us. Thanks to everyone who watched En Route and Hunting Yeti. BNQT, for building an amazing website with us. The Ski Channel for showing our webisodes. We have received so much help from our presenting sponsor; K2, thank you. The rest of our sponsors; Helly Hansen, Oakley, Atomic, Dragon, Marker, Tecnica, Bern, Da Kine, Line and EVO (evogear.com). All of our media partners throughout the world. Looking forward to next year. Stay tuned for Contrast…