Skier: Vincent Prevost. All photos: Matt Sklar
The fourteenth instalment of Level 1 Productions SuperUnknown contest featured an amazing cast of characters, plenty of California sunshine courtesy of Sierra at Tahoe, and one hard decision. The result of this combination was one unforgettable week of skiing, filming, beer pong, and good times. One skier took home more than just a sunburn and a hangover, earning the title of SuperUnknown champion. Over the next week, recap videos will be dropping daily here on Newschoolers culminating in the announcement of this year’s victor.
Things started out mellow with the squad rolling in from their respective corners of the globe. This year’s finalists hailed from Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, and the USA. We settled into our digs in South Lake Tahoe in the shadows of the casinos, quickly discovering that the hotel tables were the perfect size for beer pong. The Level 1 guys warned us not to go too hard night one, so the crew opted for just a modicum of debauchery to allow them to be ready for skiing the next day.
The Sierra at Tahoe park crew killed it all week long with some awesome features. Not least among them was the whale tail jump. This snow behemoth included a large rolling lip into a mellow jump, a big left-to-right 80’ jump, a sky rocketing tombstone, and bowled out transitions. The sun was shining and the dudes were stoked on the jump. Speed was a bit of an issues on the big booter, but Miika still stepped up to throw a massive double front flip. Some other highlights include: Oliver did both switch dub 9’s, Aleksi went dub 12, Sampo joined the dub club, and everyone else threw a lot steezy 5s, 7s, and 9s.
We headed back to the whale tail for a couple days to session the guac-bowls and infinite transition opportunities. In the second session, Miika stepped up again to guinea pig the massive hangtime tombstone jump, taking the thing to the moon. It didn’t get a ton of action after that due to a bit of a flat landing for a jump with so much hangtime. The rest of the crew opted for the bowls where they could get their swerve on. Chase Morhman threw down some of the heaviest hits here, smacking tranny across the takeoffs and landings. His style and tricks here would translate really well to an urban part, sucking up huge impact redirects. Oliver had some nice handplants and stalls on the tombstone, and Ben threw some nutty nose taps on the tombstone, spinning big to the side landing. Zach gapped bowl to bowl, which was pretty wild, and the rest of the crew found new creative hits everywhere. Aleksi is one stylish dude, the way he flexes his skis while grabbing nose and blunt is straight up sick. The whale tail feature allowed the guys to showcase their styles and approaches, but it definitely didn’t highlight one clear winner, everyone killed it.
Meet the SuperUnknown XIV Finalists:
(5/10, the remaining 5 will be profiled tomorrow along with the finals video part 2)
I grew up in a small town called Wolcott, VT, but I’ve skied at Stowe my whole life. I ended up going to Stowe High School, and now I’m at UVM in Burlington.
I was skiing all of the trails at Stowe, and all of the glades, and I was getting kind of bored with it. So I kind of said “I guess the next thing I can do is hit rails and jumps.” At the beginning, I taught myself. Then I ended up getting some formal coaching and doing a few competitions through that.
I did one Colorado ski trip when I was younger, and I went out to Mount Hood last summer, but this is really one of my first seasons that I’ve been able to get out west more.
I saw the shots from last year’s SuperUnknown Finals, and I was like “damn, I really want to do that, it looks like so much fun.” So, I saved all of my shots from the season and threw an edit together with one of my buddies, and then I ended up making Semi-Finals. At the time, I was unbelievably stoked on. I was hyped to make it to that point. Then all of my friends and family supported me a bunch. Being at UVM was huge, too, I got a lot of support from that community.
This week has been so cool. I’ve been meeting guys I’ve been watching in videos, and they’re all so good. You see someone do a trick, and it pumps you up to try something else. It’s fun.
I grew up in Massachusetts, and started skiing in Vermont at Sugarbush. I went to Waterville Academy for high school, and had a sweet time there doing the whole competition thing. Then I moved out to Utah, where I’ve been living for the past five years. I did the school thing, and finished that up, and now my full effort is going towards skiing.
I’ve definitely been following SuperUnknown since I started getting into freestyle skiing back around 2009. This is actually my second year putting together a SuperUnknown entry. My first year out in Utah I made an entry. This year I decided, kind of out of the blue, to put one together. Mostly because I had the time without school.
I was stoked to hear I got into finals. When I saw my friend Rory [Walsh]’s name on the email list, I was stoked. I called him up and was like “Dude, check your email. We got in!” I know him from back east, we used to compete together back in high school. It’s really dope to come out here together. There are two Keeshlife homies, that came out together, Miika and Aleksi, so it’s cool having some different crews out here.
It’s unreal skiing with [these skiers from all over the place], they have some of the craziest skiing talent that I think is live right now. It’s so fun to ski with different people from all over the world, I think it’s one of the sickest parts of SuperUnknown.
I'm from Switzerland, actually from the French side. I started skiing at three years old in Turkey, I used to live there when I was really young. When I moved back to Switzerland, I skied at Cran Montana, or when I want to hit bigger features I go to Laax. I started skiing park at 13 or 14 years old. I was competing in racing at that time, but between race runs I would always go to the park. I just loved being in the air. At 14 I stopped racing and started skiing more park.
I’ve competed a lot in the last four years, but I feel like it’s not really for me anymore. I want to get involved in some different aspects of skiing, like filming, and just showing off style. I feel like the competitions have changed a lot in these past few years, and they’re just “spin-to-win.” That makes no sense to me anymore. I like Torin’s style a lot, he really inspires me. I also like The Bunch, because of the way they use creativity. SuperUnknown is one of the best things that has happened in my life. I had only made it to Semi-Finals, but then I received an email telling me I had a spot in Finals. After I got that, I knew I had to make it here.
This is my first time in the US. It’s been dope. The resorts, and everything are so big here. I like the landscapes here, but of course it’s more beautiful in Switzerland haha.
All of the finalists are so good, I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s no stress, you just go for it. Everyone is stoked to be here, and stoked on your tricks you do.
I started skiing at my local mountain in Norway when I was like three years old. I live like two minutes away. It’s crazy, I can just walk to the slopes. I did some racing when I was little, but then I saw my homies riding twintips and was like “fuck yea, I need to do that.” I was eight or nine then, when I started park skiing. Right in the beginning is when I realized that is what I wanted to do. It’s the sickest thing to do. You get to hang your with your friends, ski all day, meet new people, travel to new places, it’s crazy.
Coming back to SuperUnknown is wild. When I sent in the video this year, I didn’t think I’d make it. Then I saw all of the Semi-Finalists, and I was super impressed. Then I saw all of the other Finalists throwing down in their videos. It is so sick to just be a part of this. It’s ill to be here.
The vibe this week has been so good. Everyone is just throwing down, having a good time, crushing some cans, getting that beer pong going. I think that’s the illest part, playing beer pong every day haha. Skiing isn’t that fun. Skiing sucks.
I grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts, and I started skiing when I was four or five at Loon Mountain. I went to a ski academy called Carabasset Valley Academy. My dad taught me how to ski, he got a job up at Loon and we would go every weekend. I started park skiing around when I was 10. I almost raced for one year, then I was like “nah, I’m cool, I’m going to go ski park.”
My first year out of high school I moved to Bear mountain. I lived there for one winter. The I moved to Utah, where I’ve been for the last three winters.
I made my SuperUnkown edit last minute. The day I made it, I woke up and realized that it was due two days later. I made it in probably 20 minutes. It was all of my footage from last year, with maybe a couple new clips. I made it with natural sound because I’ve edited that footage before and I didn’t want to put a new song to it.
Getting in was dope. I was in bed one night and Chase hit me up and told me to check my email. I checked it, and saw the email from Josh Berman, and that was sick. I’ve known Chase since we were like 13 or 14. Coming out here with the homie is the sickest. The kid is such a sick skier.
Skiing with all of the finalists is unreal, for real. It’s sick to be around the europeans, because they’re so out of their minds style-wise and the way the ski is so crazy. They have no fear when skiing. Everyone wants to win, but I just want to ski well.