Cover Photo by Alex Havey of Oliver Hoblitzelle, Jake Mageau and Sanch during filming X Games Realski.
“I like my friends and I like making ski videos. That’s all there really is to it, that’s what makes me happy,” said Oliver Hoblitzelle, a Salt Lake City based videographer quickly making his way up the ranks in the ski industry.
If you’re not already familiar with the name Oliver Hoblitzelle, then you might as well get acquainted now. The young filmer already has quite a growing resume without any signs of slowing down. To quickly recap: In 2017 he dropped his first full-length ski movie, Roasted, which can be briefly described as an innovative ski film with skiers who used every last drop of snow. The next year in 2018 he released the film Stain, another free full-length ski movie for the masses to enjoy. This year in 2019 Oliver, Jake Mageau and Sanch combined efforts to win the Fan Favorite X Games Realski Competition.
Despite a busy schedule, Oliver managed to find some time to chat with us about how he began ski videography, the controversy over the Realski Podium standings and his two-year video urban project for 2020.
Oliver began filming at a younger age than most. “It all started when I was in middle school and got a super bad concussion so I couldn't ski for a long time. The only way I could keep hanging out with my ski friends was to film them,” he said. “I picked up a shitty camera and it all stemmed from there.”
This year, his videography has also led him to a spot to film one of X Games Real Ski entries with Jake Mageau.
“Halfway through last year me and Mango were really thinking about the possibility of getting a spot. We felt pretty good about the footage we had and his part was looking like it would be a standout part,” he said. The duo then submitted Jake’s urban footage from Stain in hopes of getting a shot to compete in Realski.
He explained, “That turned into some campaigning and sending emails and showing them his part before the video came out. We just got lucky, there were a lot of people who deserved a spot this year.” After receiving the bid Oliver and Jake recruited longtime friend and fellow filmer Sanch for Realski as it was a “no brainer to work with him.”
Throughout the winter the group filmed in Minnesota as well as small amounts in Utah, Colorado and Omaha. However, “The bulk of the time was in Minnesota. We pretty much spent a month and a half in Minnesota and Mango probably skied ten days out of that period of time. He was pretty injured throughout most of the filming for the contest.” His injuries were no joke. Throughout filming Realski Jake was skiing with multiple shoulder issues - which then included an ankle injury from slamming into a huge kinked rail and later included a couple of broken ribs from another bad crash. Oliver explained that “We were able to just squeak by with the amount of time we were given.”
Poster by Sanch and Paddy Flanagan / Photo by Cam Zavell
The finished video won Fan Favorite, but to the disappointment of many, did not get a podium finish. “We’re really happy with the product we made. It’s one of my favorite videos I’ve ever made,” said Oliver, but noted that the final results felt "a little disappointing at first."
He added, “I would not put our video on the podium over any of the other videos on the podium. In my opinion, I think Phil has the best video this year. It’s an amazing part, I can’t complain to see him on top. Peyben and ABM’s videos are amazing as well.”
The momentum isn’t stopping there. “There’s a project I’m working on that means more to me than making another Realski - but I would like another shot at it. I’d like to see what if we could step up the video for next year,” said Oliver. For the filmmaker, his main focus for the rest of this year as well as next is on the all-urban video project.
“Sanch and I have talked about this video a lot. Our goal is to capture our friend’s personalities and all the crazy shit we do. This video will have a lot of Sanch’s creative direction, it’s a lot more collaboration then the previous videos I have made,” said Oliver. The film has been more thought out than both Roasted and Stain. “We all have a firm idea of how it’s going to look and how we’re going to portray the group. It’s gonna be a two-year project with a bunch of people who are both Sanch and my favorite skiers and favorite people to hang out with.”
Sanch, Jake and Oliver take a look at their footage. Photographer: Cam Zavell
The decision to make the film into a two-year project is rather unique in the ski industry. “Filming street skiing video is really hard to do in the short amount of time you can shoot street. There is a small window of time each winter.” He added, “Giving us twice the amount of time will hopefully lead to more than twice the amount of satisfaction with the final product.”
The goal of this urban project? “Make the best video we’ve ever made that will hopefully be remembered and contribute to skiing.” Oliver’s hoping to get the next generation of skiers stoked in the way The Bunch and HG videos did for himself years ago.