Logan Imlach is one of the countless “pro” skiers who supplement their ski career with hard labor. The tradition of banging nails all summer to ski all winter is well-established practice in skiing. Being a drilling engineer on an oil rig in the Alaskan outback is not. But after winning the Superunknown contest in 2010, Logan was presented with the opportunity to film with Level 1 just as his girlfriend was starting Master’s program in occupational therapy. In order to fund it all and still make time for skiing, Logan took his engineering degree to the front line of America’s search for oil. He went to the Alaskan frontier, and [works] three weeks on, three weeks off, twelve hours a day.
Original Q&A thread -- http://www.newschoolers.com/ns/forums/readthread/thread_id/753963/
Is there ever a time, probably when you're standing on a freezing cold oil rig, when you really question whether its worth it to work so hard just to live the dream for a couple months a year? -Dwarftosser1
I won’t lie, there are times when I really don’t want to be up here. But when it comes to that point, I have to take a step back and look at all the positives that come out of enduring the negatives. It’s not necessarily just “living the dream” 3 weeks at a time, it allows me to be financially responsible for myself and my family AND go on incredible skiing trips a few times a winter. There was a quote in an article about Derek Hynd (dude that makes finless surfboards) in Surfer Magazine like 2 years ago that stuck with me: “All our joy must be paid for by equal amounts of torment and struggle.” Once you get over the fact that you really need to work your ass off to get what makes you happy in this life, it lets you focus on the enjoyable parts rather than dwell on wading through shit to get there. I guess coming to that realization really helped me grow up.
What would it take for you to bring your "how-to" guides back to Newschoolers? -Mousseau
Just some free time and for you to ask me to do them, haha.
Do polar bears really drink Coca Cola? -t_rob
No, they eat salmon, caribou, and slow fat people.
Is Winston the greatest dog in the universe? -Magnus
Yes, yes he is.
For your Sunny segment, you drew inspiration from JP's line in All I Can. Are there any other inspirational film segments that you'd like to emulate/add your own twist to? -heitsy
The inspiration I drew from JP was that putting something together like that was possible. I had wanted to ski a line through that building for years, but until he came out with his segment I just categorized it into my “crackhead ideas” mental folder. As far as other inspirations, I think the best part in any sport of all time is Andrew Reynolds ender in “Stay Gold”, I would love to put together something that well rounded with that many hammers before I hang up the skis.
What's the best/worst period in your 12 hour shift? -dunesquirrel
The best part is 6 pm when I get off. The worst time is anytime throughout the day that I think it’s later than it is.
How many times did you mess up while doing the abandoned building segment for Sunny? -.Rybak.
The skiing part wasn’t that hard. Aside from the redirect at the end, everything in it was really basic, and only took a few tries to get the shot or cut that I wanted. The redirect however was a different beast. The angle that it was at made it super hard to ride out of without catching my tips and the one in the move wasn’t the cleanest rideout. About 10 tries after the one we used, I ate shit and separated my shoulder, ending the session. I had to come up to work the next day, so we had to stick with that one. It was pretty heartbreaking to end 7 days of hard work with that, and everytime I see the ender I just cringe. But what are you going to do?
Three locations, three riders, and three filmers. Where would you go and who would you take to create version 2.0 of your Sunny segment? -Mousseau
Oh man that’s a good one. I already have a couple of ideas for version 2 but I don’t want to talk about those until/(if) they happen. 3 filmers would hands down be Decker, Strassman and Mike Clarke (Berman would edit it again). 3 skiers would probably be Hornbeck, CLo, and Will. Location would be hard, but I think if we had a shitload of snow in an abandoned sports arena it could get wild.
Did you always want to be an engineer and pro skiing just came along as a bonus or did you decide to do it because you wanted to pursue professional skiing and still have a good financial backup? -Krotch
Skiing came along and bit me in the ass in my third year of college. After blowing my knee out at Keystone in 2008 (yeah I was a park jock) I focussed on school full time. My friends and I had always made movies, and we decided to make our last one and kind of move on with our lives. I took the footage from that and sent it to Berman thinking nothing of it. Then the whirlwind started and skiing came back as the forefront. Would I have continued focussing on school if I hadn’t blown my knee out? I’m not really sure. But now that I have finished school, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Nobody is going to be a pro skier forever, and most of them will need another form of income at some time or another to support themselves and their family. Whether its a degree or a trade, you gotta have something.
I enjoyed seeing you in the skiers cup this season and I'm wondering if you will be doing more big mountain skiing in the future? -itod910
I sure hope so. I’ve noticed that my 3 week breaks from skiing throughout the season hurt my ability to ski big mountain moreso than hitting urban though. It’s way harder to get back in the groove of trusting yourself and your instincts out in the mountains that it is on the streets. Not to mention my 3 weeks at work is spent at sea level, so no matter how much I exercise I’m fucked when I get to higher altitudes.
Who is your biggest inspiration in your skiing style? -Mr.Bishop
Anthony Boronowski. He never forced anything man, all of his movements were so natural. I feel like now days people try too hard to look casual, if that makes sense?
How long did it take to prep your abandoned building part in Sunny? -STNW
7 days of building and skiing.
Do you think your segment with level 1 this your will top your one from last year? -B-WASS
Would you? http://images.newschoolers.com/images/17/00/65/07/81/650781.jpeg -Mousseau
Can you clue us in on the Alaskan strip club scene? -pjosullivan
The Bush Co. is the place to go, especially in the summer when they fly strippers in from the lower 48. Fantasies and SinRock are aight but most of the girls are busted. Stay away from the Showboat and Crazy Horse unless you are into 45+ year old meth head strippers.
How many different takes/ segments of film went into the building scene in sunny? -SKIIOWA
I’m not sure how many clips we had when it was all said and done, but I would guess somewhere around 200?
your skiing is very unlike any other person. where do you get the inspiration to build your unique style ? --emile-
Tony, see above.
Will you ski with me up in Alaska? -lukemeahan.
How does it feel to know that you were famous on Reddit (for about 2 hours)? -Mr.Sloth
Haha, I didn’t even know what reddit and deadspin were until that happened and somebody told me they were a big deal. I haven’t been back to either site since that day.
SPEED ROUND -Ryanvdonk
1. Pancakes or waffles? Belgian Waffles
2. Stiff skis or soft? Soft
3. Pillows or spines? Pillows
4. Batman or Spiderman? Wolverine
5. Frontflip or backflip? Neither
6. Tall girls or short? Short
7. Screamin' or 360 Cossack? Mule Kick
8. Favorite ninja turtle? Leonardo
9. Gaper day: onesie or spandex? Onesie
10. Jedi or Sith? Jedi
BONUS: What color would you lightsaber be, and single or double blade? Blue, single
do you have any plans on going to skiing full time? or maybe using your engineering degree to advance the ski industry somehow? -[BoatsNHoes]
Nah I couldn’t afford it. Funny, I’ve recently gotten into designing skis and I’ll hopefully be building my first pairs next month, so we’ll see how that goes. My dream job would be designing, building, and testing skis.
what was it like winning super unknown? -MaineLandCollab
Craziest experience of my life. I still can’t believe that it happened and I’m still just soaking all of it in. It never gets old meeting people I look up to. I’m a way bigger skiing fan than a skier, so even when I meet people that are just “NS Famous” I get all shy and shit.
Coming from AK, what turned you into a jib ninja and not a big mountain shredder?
Weather in Alaska sucks 90% of the time, so when the weather was shittty we would jib. Plus jibbing is just so much more accessible for a young, broke teenager. You’re just a product of your environment I guess and that’s what my friends and I were more into at the time. I still love the backcountry and skin around often when I’m not filming.
I remember you wrote some online stuff for sbc, do you see doing some magazine writing in your future? -schism
I tried that, the editorial process involved with writing for a magazine just isn’t for me. That’s why the online medium worked waaaaay better for me personally. I could write what I wanted and it didn’t get chopped up and reworded by 4 different people, it came straight from my fingertips with my voice, and into your brain. I think raw writing like that is better anyways, even if sometimes the grammar and punctuation is fucked up, at least it’s that person’s REAL voice.
Where did you get the idea for the frankenskis ?
I had been hounding Moment for some edgeless skis for a while and when I was at their factory I saw some cheesy tramp skis with embedded edges and I said “THAT!”. Then I just decided to ask them to combine all of their weirdest components into one ski, hence frankenski.
Do you like the new format of superunknown? -tcurle
I thought it was sick. I mean everyone was pretty worried that a park jock was going to win, but it turned out that the least parky of the bunch got picked. In fact, I don’t think there were even any park jocks there.
You're an opinionated guy who doesn't shy away from volatile discussions on the internet. Tell us about an incident where in retrospect you wish you had maybe said less or nothing at all. -casual
Eh there are a couple times that I was kinda like “well that escalated quickly”, but I don’t really look back on any and regret throwing my opinion out there. There is always going to be someone out there who’s sharper and has more wit than you on any given day, so when you’re dealing with an online forum and you’re in there mixing it up, someone is going to make you look like a jackass at some point or another. Especially since anyone mixing it up on an online forum is a jackass anyways.
You have a pretty distinctive style....yes in the fashion sense....what trends/accessories have you adopted in the past that you cringe at now?
Has achieving a degree of ski success/"fame" had any unanticipated negative consequences for you? -casual
No not really (on either of the questions).
What shot have you logged in your career that your most proud of? -casual
The ender of my Sunny seg was probably the hardest earned shot I’ve ever had. That was session number 3 on that feature and all three of us were just beat. When I got it I just collapsed out of exhaustion/happiness. My most proud however wasn’t even in any of the movies. It was on my first real heli trip in Telluride and I skied this line with a choke in it about 4 feet wide and a bottom air on it and I just flashed it with like 3 huge turns. There was some miscommunication with the heli pilot and Berman though, so he missed most of the shot. Every time I see it though it reminds me that I can ski big mountain even if I don’t do it often.
What is your all-time favorite ski shot by anyone, why? -casual
One of the shots Will got this year. You just wait. Hands down the most technical rail shot i’ve ever seen, and its cliche, but the shot doesn’t really do it justice. It’s not nearly as gnarly in the shot as it was in person.
That or Pep’s enormous 5 in 1242. I went apeshit when I saw that.
What's your favorite corgi antique/collectible? -BikeMlatt42069
I have a “I heart Corgis” magnet on the back of my truck.
How tight are your pants now a days? -BikeMlatt42069
Not as tight as that one time.
The show NTSF:SD:SUV:: claims that Alaskans have special mental pathways that enable them to communicate with their dog. Is that true? -BikeMlatt42069
Do you miss your Alaskan payday check (the one that the state gives you for being Alaskan)? -BikeMlatt42069
What has been the weirdest thing to have happen to you while out filming? -MooseNuts
Haha, one time when I was younger my friends and I were hitting this rail with a 10’ drop off the side of it that landed on a sidewalk. This was before winches and bungees, so we were running and slinging each other into it (because of this practice, I will hands down beat anyone in a ski boot sprint). Some car rolled into the parking lot and just sat there for like 15 minutes while we were hitting it. We assumed they were just smoking weed and watching so we didn’t think anything of it. Then this dude gets out with all his gear, grabs his snowboard out of the back of the car and comes and straps in at the end of the inrun waiting for us to sling him in. We were like “What the fuck?” but then thought it would be funny to sling him in anyways because he looked like he was terrible. So we did and he ate shit really bad and didn’t want to hit it anymore. Pussy.
How was the trip to Finland and meeting the real skifi guys?Was there any inspirational moment? -SteezyJapaneezy
Its funny, this season I was kind of contemplating this being my last year trying to film. I have a rule that if a year goes by that I don’t do a trick that I’ve never seen done I’ll quit filming. This was shaping up to be that year. I was just kind of uninspired in my skiing, not super pumped on anything and doubting myself at the top of every drop in. Then I went to Finland and skied with those crazy little buggers. They are more stoked on skiing than any one person I’ve ever seen. They know exactly how they want to ski and what they want it to look like, and they have so much fun doing it. Every spot was like a social event, they’d have 4 or 5 friends hanging out, talking, helping pull the bungee, etc. I don’t want to give up too much, but that environment was just so stress free and awesome that we stacked more shots in a shorter amount of time than I ever have. We filmed a whole segment in like 8 days, it was ridiculous. Those crazy Finnish kids resparked my confidence and my love for skiing without even knowing it, and I can’t wait to ski with them again. Keep an eye out for a story on the trip in Freeskier, it should be hilarious.
How did you land your deal where you only work as an engineer in the summer? As somebody who's currently in an engineering program, I worry my career will consume my winters in the future. -Rparr
I don’t only work in the summer, I work year round, 3 weeks on 3 weeks off.
What has been the biggest/best change in your life since winning Level 1's Superunknown contest back in 2010? -dan1080
That I get to fly around the world and make friends that I probably wouldn’t have ever met otherwise.
who would win a monkey knife fight, decker or freedle? -HOTPOSSIE
Have you, will you, would you, ever slide a rail on the oil rig? -georgen12
I really want to, but I doubt anyone would ever let me because of all of the Safety rules up here.
Who do you think is on the come up in the ski industry? Who's the illest level 1 rider to work/shoot with? -BikeMlatt42069
Come up is Khai. He is fucking sick. Most fun to work with is the Dahrkness.
How does it feel to work in an industry that is feeding Merica's oil addiction? -Skibumsmith
How does it feel to be ignorant? The way I see it is until someone figures out a viable alternative to fossil fuels we are going to need them. Economically, why import gas when we can produce our own? As a society we need to pull our heads out of our asses with this environmental finger pointing and realize that whether or not we drill them or Pakistan drills them or Russia drills them, wells are going to be drilled. The oil and gas industry is held to higher environmental standards than any other industry on earth, ESPECIALLY on US soil. Why not drill it here and supply ourselves as well as possibly export some of it? We don’t export shit anymore, and people wonder why we’re broke.
Are you the maverick of rail skiing? -NattyIce1 Who is the goose of rail skiing? -NinetyFour
If I’m Maverick then Winston is Goose.
Logan, working 3 on 3 off, do you ever find yourself out of skiing rhythm? i mean that you spend 3 weeks skiing as much as possible and then go 3 weeks cold turkey. how do you stay sane? -Calb3rt
Yeah, it’s really hard. Generally my first day back from work I’ll go ski at Hood to find my feet again, but I would be lying to you if I said I haven’t gotten off of work and gone straight on an urban trip. Talk about sketchy, haha.
What is it like living in a place where there is only urban for you to ski park wise? -Bozite
There was a park at Alyeska, even if it wasn’t a good one.
What sparked your interest in photography, and now shooting film?
Shooting film is so much fun because when I finally get around to getting it developed I don’t really remember what I shot so it’s a nice surprise. I guess I enjoy it because it locks a memory into time. So even if I can’t remember right off hand how beautiful it was or what the temperature was or the air smelled like, I can look at a picture and all of it comes back.
Why do you seem to only post photos of WINSTON? -zbphoto
Because he’s the most handsome dog on earth.
What do you like about NS that makes you frequent the forums? Most skiers of your caliber seem to think NS is so amateur and they don't spend much time on here, you're really the only one on the L1 crew who's on here every day that you have internet access. So why NS? -gavinrudy
I just love Newschoolers. Internet forums are like an even playing fields, if some random kid wants to talk shit to a legend like Tanner he’s more than welcome to do so. Not to mention that there are TONS of really intelligent people on this site that keep the content intriguing as well as douchebags that keep it entertaining. I keep it on one of my tabs all day at work and check it from time to time throughout the day. I mean, if I’m waiting in line at the grocery store I would much rather read about what some random person’s most recent purchase was, who has the best tits in freeskiing, and the M&A forum than any news source. The news is depressing.
You recently went on a road trip around the West looking for a new place to reside with your wonderful girlfriend Kelsey and super pup Winston. Now that the trip is complete, what is your decision? Where are you moving to!?! -arcadebelts
Still not sure! Maybe to your spare bedroom.
How's your engineer career going?! -S.Ki
Alright for now, I can’t wait to take it away from the oil field back to heavy civil construction though.