Interview by Mike Rogge
Photos by Dan Brown
Just who are Andy Parry and Will Wesson? If you're from the East Coast, chances are you've run into these down-to-earth guys at a rail jam or perhaps at an urban location in New England. If you've seen their segments in Meathead Films' Head for the Hills or Will's segment in Level 1's Turbo, you know they're responsible for throwing down some of the most progressive urban rail tricks ever. I sat down with Andy and Will for an over-the-phone interview where we discussed becoming a pro skier, skiing in backyards, Ahmet Dadali's taste in music, and their new webisode series, Traveling Circus.
How’s it going Andy?
Andy Parry: Pretty well. Just hanging around.
AP: Pretty sweet. The mountains out here are like nothing I’ve ever seen before, except for maybe Utah, and looking out the window and seeing them is pretty sweet.
You just graduated in May?
AP: Actually I graduated over a year ago, like in June.
God damn, how old are you?
AP: I’m going to be 22 on the 22nd.
So you graduated early from college?
AP: Yeah, I was in a three-year trimester program so I was in school for about 10 months out of the year.
Dude, you’re 21, you have a college degree, AND you’re living in Colorado with two of your best friends? That’s crazy.
AP: …and I just got a job at Ruby Tuesdays!
Sick! What are your job duties over there?
AP: I’ll be a server’s assistant or some shit like that, I don’t know. I needed a job.
Did you mention to them your ski schedule during the interview process?
AP: (laughs) Well, I think I’m probably going to end up just peacing Colorado around January or sometime around there. Most people end up staying in Colorado for the entire winter but that’s probably not going to happen for me.
Are you planning on competing or filming in January?
AP: Definitely not competing. Will and I are working on a webisode project and we’re probably going to go to Utah for like a month and then, depending on when the snow is good, we’ll both probably going to head back east. Geoff (McDonald of Meathead Films) wants us back so we’ll go back for like a month. Then we’ll come back here and maybe go back east again.
I’ve never heard of anyone moving out West and then coming back east then going back out west during a winter.
AP: Yeah…we’re retarded. (laughs)
Nah, you’re not retarded. Do you think maybe it’s that east coast mentality everyone’s always talking about?
AP: Yeah! You know, I like the east coast. I didn’t mind living there last year. I guess maybe its because I don’t know anything else right now. Plus I was helping Geoff out a lot and it was a really, really good opportunity to film anything with them.
Your segment this year, you were at IF3, and you saw, people went ape shit for your and Will’s segments in Head for the Hills. I was talking to Berman and he said one of the things he liked and found interesting about you guys is that your doing new tricks and people don’t even know what to call them. Is that something you’ve always done or are you just trying to be different?
AP: It started about three years ago. I started doing different grinds or trying to do grinds like Charles Gangier was doing three or four years ago, like the crossed legged grind. I didn’t really know what I was doing and my friends would keep telling me to try it. Of course I was eating shit all year. I used to be all about big spins out of things, like trying to spin 450’s onto things, or doing 270’s, and it just got to the point that it was getting too scary and there was a risk of me getting really, really hurt. And it just wasn’t fun anymore because everyone else was doing it so I was kind of like, ‘I might as well try different and weird things’ because that’s what I had more fun doing.
How did it feel for you putting all your hard work in with Geoff and the rest of the Meatheads crew, then seeing the film at IF3, and I mean, everyone was so stoked on your segment.
AP: It feels really good. I worked really hard this past winter and you know, I was just barely being able to eat and pay rent and other stuff. I mean, everything was pretty cheap. I was living way below the poverty level but it was really cool seeing, you know, where I put all my hard work into. Especially because my parents, you know, I’d tell them, “Ok, I’m going to Manchester again to go film” and they would be like, “Well why the hell are you going to do that? Why don’t you find a job or something?” Now my parents are becoming more interested in what I’m doing with my skiing so now they’re actually watching the films now. It’s kind of nice because the films help them see why I do it and all that hard work I put in ended up becoming a super sick segment. I’m really pumped on it especially when other people get really pumped on it. It’s really cool. It’s definitely something I never thought could really happen.
I was watching Head for the Hills with Johnny D. and Cody Carter from Poor Boyz and one of the first things they asked me was one, “Who is that kid?” and two, “Is he here.” After you guys met, I know Cody mentioned something about you heading out for this year’s Jib Jam. Is that something you think you want to do?
AP: Oh yeah! That’s what I like most about skiing right now is having the opportunity to travel and be in all these cool places. Otherwise, I’d be sitting back home in Victor, NY. It’s really cool and I’d definitely be stoked to go to that and it was a cool chance to meet those guys. I mean, Poor Boyz…(pause) who would’ve ever thought? (laughs) you know?
You mention Victor, NY and some of the people out there might remember that it was you, Will, Ahmet and Giray Dadali, and some others filming together in the I Hate NY videos, then you guys came up through the Meathead films, and now three of you guys are living together out in Colorado. Did you ever think skiing and filming in your backyard that you guys would all be where you are now in your ski careers?
AP: No, I never thought about it but I knew Ahmet and Giray were always extremely good. For a while, I was always trying to catch up with them and try to do the same tricks but it just got to a point where they got way to ridiculous. At that point I was like, “Well I’m going to take a different path with my skiing.” I mean, Ahmet, he has a career in skiing. Him, Will, and Giray, they’ll have careers in skiing. Ahmet is a pro skier, Giray, he has the talent for it, and so does Will. Hopefully, I’ll just keep on doing this because eventually, in the next few years I’ll probably stop and find a job. I mean, it doesn’t pay anything. Actually my team manager Josh said to me, “You’re never going to be a pro skier. You’re never going to make money off of doing this” and I was like, “Dude, you’re right.” But it’s really cool because they’re going to blow up and hopefully I can tag along with them for a few years (laughs) …and ideally find a job somewhere in the industry. I mean, that’s something I’d like to do.
You’re approach is slightly different than your friends. Usually the way skiers have ‘come up’ is they start with the AM comps, film a segment, do a few big comps, try to make money, grab the sponsors, etc. For you, it seems like you’ve always desired to be a film skier, do your own thing, and really just enjoy yourself, right?
AP: Actually, I liked skiing comps but then I started doing my weird grinds. I mean, I’d be at a comp and do something like that and no one would know what the hell to call it or how to score it, they’d just be like, “That’s really weird and kind of cool but oh there’s someone doing a pretzel, he’s going to win.” There was really no way for me to compete with the way I was skiing. It was pretty much completely different. I mean, I don’t think its any less or more difficult, it’s just different and I mean, how were they going to judge that?
But now the cat is out of the bag. How are you going to feel if you go to a hill and see kids trying some of the grinds they saw you doing in your segment? I mean, there’s a good chance that rail jams this year are really different after your and Will’s segments.
AP: I saw a few kids last year trying some of my tricks, like Hippy Killers, stalling on the box, or stuff like that. If I’m on a mountain and I see someone trying it, or they’ll ask me how to do it, I still think, “Why the fuck would they want to do that?” It’s pretty cool and I don’t ever really know if it’s going to go more mainstream or more kids will start doing them but it’s a possibility. Who knows? I guess we’ll wait and see.
It’s been said a thousand times that skiing is being pushed in so many directions, but you have to admit its pretty crazy that a group of friends from Rochester, that grew up skiing together, are changing the way people looks at rail slides. I mean, it’s pretty wild. Do you ever sit back and think about that?
AP: Definitely, I think about it a lot. I mean, we were just chilling at Dumont’s house yesterday and with the way he skis and the way Ahmet skis and just everything with people doing big stuff, small stuff, urban, its pretty crazy. I don’t consider myself…well…I’m just like off on the side just doing my own thing. I mean it’s cool but at the same time I wish I could ski in events or get to the same level as Will and Ahmet on rails and jumps. For me, I think its crazy just being out of New York. I would have never thought that we’d be living in Colorado together, skiing, and filming or even that I’d be skiing for Line. I mean, when I was growing up, that was the company, those were the skis I wanted, and that was my whole dream, you know, being like, “I want to get sponsored by Line!” It’s been so cool doing stuff with them, meeting all these pros. I’ve watched some of these guys for the last six years and now, it’s like, “I can’t believe I’m meeting you.” It’s really cool. I’m excited for Will and Ahmet this year because I think they’re going to blow up this year and the same with Giray. Going from skiing in Will’s backyard to where we are today is…(pause)…wow…it’s pretty mind blowing. I mean…it’s out there. (laughs)
You used to post a lot of your videos on Newschoolers and it’s been really cool for the NS community to sort of watch you guys go from the backyard to the big screen. Are you hoping to go back to the feel of those earlier videos with your new webisode series, Traveling Circus?
AP: I think a lot of the stuff we’re hoping to put out this year, the kid’s on Newschoolers will really like. We were trying to change it up, have everything out there for free. I mean, that’s why originally with Pterodactyl Blood, we wanted to put it out for free on the Internet. That kind of happened, but not really (laughs). We want to keep the direction of the webisodes being free and hopefully appealing to the masses. Our whole thing is sort of the anti-ski resort type thing where you hike up the ski resort if they’re open and try to poach it if you can’t afford a pass or whatever. Or you go out and hit a rail or jump through a tree. More stuff that kids can relate to. Hopefully the kids on NS and whoever else is watching it will like it because its all stuff they can go out, build, and do themselves.
How many webisodes are you looking to do, how often, what’s the format going to be like?
AP: Our first webisode was filmed in my backyard and Will’s backyard. We also filmed a little bit this summer in Hood. I think we’re going to try and do one every two weeks or so. Will just got a new computer so we’re going to start editing on that and maybe try to put out 24 of them over the next 12 months. We’re going to try and stay on top of it as best we can but sometimes we’ll be moving around so it might be harder. Primarily, we’ll be filming each other. We want to have our friends involved more. Maybe have about 50% skiing and 50% non-skiing. Like, we’re living here with Ahmet and one idea we had was having Ahmet maybe being my style coach. We really want to go to Utah and film with Lil’ John because he’s…well…he’s just a character. We just want to make it fun.
There’s quite a few former East Coast kids in Colorado, isn’t there?
AP: Oh yeah! It’s funny, we went up to Breck, and there were a few people up there from Pennsylvania and a few others from near us in NY. There are quite a few East Coast kids here but I still get ragged on pretty hard for wearing my Ski the East hoodie out here. (laughs)
You’re in the land of professional skiers. Has there been a skier you’ve met out there that maybe you looked up to in the past?
AP: Not really out here. I mean, it was cool at Dumont’s house hanging out with him and Peter. Actually at IF3, I got a chance to meet Charles Gagnier at the bar and I probably scared him off a little bit because I was like, “Holy shit! You’re my favorite skier!” I would say pretty much Charles and Dave Crichton were the only guys I was ever in awe about just because of the way they ski. They’re not necessarily the ‘best skiers,’ well, in my opinion they are, but it was because of the way they ski, you know? I mean, every time I saw Dave Crichton, I’d be like, “God damn it, I wish I could do that.”
…Hey, those guys just got back, you want to talk to Will?
Sure. Thanks again Andy!
Will Wesson: Hey, how’s it going?
I’m doing well, Will. How’s Colorado?
WW: It’s pretty sick so far. The weather’s good.
Starting to get cold?
WW: It snowed a couple days ago and there are white caps on the mountains but it’s been pretty warm too, like 60.
How was the skate park? Doing a little in-lining or skateboarding?
WW: I do a little of both but I pretty much suck at both but its fun.
I just asked Andy about this and I want to get your take as well. What’s it been like to see the transformation from the I Hate NY videos to this year, where you guys are all blowing up? Did you see all this happening back then?
WW: Not really. It kind of just happened. We all liked skiing and just kept getting better and better. I do remember a long, long time ago when my dad told me to get a helmet when I first started skiing and I told him I would never do any crazy flips or anything and then about two years later, I was doing back flips. (laughs)
(laughs) So lets get down to business. I was talking to Berman and Freedle the other day and we were discussing your now famous underslide. First, is that officially what it’s being called?
WW: I guess that would be the best way to describe it. I don’t really have a name for it. I usually just try to draw a picture when someone doesn’t understand it.
How do you come up with the ideas for new tricks like that?
WW: Just…well…I don’t know. (laughs) I get bored doing other tricks and Andy’s always done lots of crazy grinds and I ski with him so we try to think of things differently and look at what else could be possible and we get influenced by skating, snowboarding, whatever….weird stuff (laughs)
Are you filming with Level 1 again this year?
WW: Yeah, I’m hoping to film with them all year.
Any new tricks we should be on the look out for?
WW: I’m not really sure what’s possible yet. I’ve got some weird ideas, Andy’s got some weird ideas, and now we just need to see if we can find the right rails that we won’t get kicked out of. It’s hard finding the perfect rail for a certain trick.
For the tricks that have been filmed, what’s it been like to hear the crowds at the premiere go absolutely crazy for your segments?
WW: It feels really awesome, man. I wasn’t really sure what people would think. We were just trying to do our own thing and if people liked it cool, if not, it was still fun. But I was really people thought it was cool and they enjoyed it.
Coming back East with Andy to film with Meatheads again?
WW: Yeah, definitely. I’m going to wait until the snow is good and then definitely hit up the East Coast. There are tons of rails to be done over there.
It’s still surprising for me because most people don’t come back. Can’t get it out of your system?
WW: Well, I don’t know. There’s always going to be this sort of “East Coast” pride thing. It’s fun to be there, I have lots of friends there, and we know the area over there. It’s easy to get around. We’re learning what’s out West but we’ve got a long ways to go. I mean, it’s pretty big out here and there’s lots of stuff to find. Hopefully we’ll be able to scout it out and figure out when’s the best time to hit rails.
How’s it been living with Ahmet?
WW: (laughs) It’s good so far. He hasn’t gotten too annoying yet. He’s a pretty chill kid. No angry arguments yet. Everyone’s getting along.
Listening to Tupac yet?
WW: (laughs) Yeah, we just drove around in his new car. He’s got quite the rap selection. He’s been introducing me to different hip hop styles and we’re listening to them whether I like them or not (laughs)
What are you looking to accomplish with these webisodes?
WW: Basically Traveling Circus is going to be me, Andy, our friends, and anyone we meet or come across in our adventures going around, doing our thing, and we’re going to try and show the reality T.V. side of it I guess. We want to show real life but definitely not serious stuff (laughs). Hopefully just funny, stupid shit. We want to show not just skiing but also the lifestyle that comes along with skiing.
Is this how you’d like to shape your ski career or would you like to get involved with more competitions?
WW: I really like filming. It’s a lot more fun for me. There’s pressure but its not as intense. I like doing tricks over and over again but after a while, I just want to do something new and to get a run down, you really have to train hard. The guys that are in competitions are just crazy and it’s really hard to get to that level. It’s a lot more fun, for me at least, to go out in the streets or go out in the mountains with your friends…and hopefully someone films it.
Do you want to continue focusing on your urban or would you like to move to big parks jumps or maybe even the backcountry?
WW: Definitely lots of urban stuff because that’s kind of my thing but I’d like to try and expand my horizons too because we’ve got access to some good snow now, some powder, jumps in the backcountry, and some bigger park jumps obviously because, well, there’s real good parks out here.
Is there a park you’re looking forward to skiing the most out there?
WW: Probably Keystone because we’re living right down the road from it and I’ve heard so many good things about it. Maybe Mammoth. I haven’t been there in a couple of years and its always so amazing there.
Are you stoked to be able to do all this with Andy? Any troubles on the road, fights, or anything of that nature?
WW: There’s plenty of arguments but its mostly stupid, bitching each other out kind of stuff (laughs). We get along for the most part and we try to take everything with a grain of salt and move on. If we do argue, it’s usually over something really, really stupid then we realize that, stop arguing, and go skiing.
Are you planning on settling down anywhere or mainly traveling this winter?
WW: We’ll be in Colorado for at least 3 months, maybe a little bit more. Then, depending on snow, either back east or Utah and then maybe a trip to California at some point. We’ve got some friends out there so it’d be cool to head there. We’re hoping to go to as many places as possible and spend as little as possible. We’re hoping to look at the weather, make a decision, go with it, and hopefully meet some cool people along the way and have fun with our friends.
(Ahmet picks up the phone)
Ahmet Dadali: What’s up negro?
What’s up man? How are you?
AD: I’m not too bad man, just chillin’ and eating some canned ravioli.
I’ve interviewed you a few times but I’m going to ask you a few questions about your buddies…
AD: Hey, I don’t even like them.
(laughs) No? Not happy to have them out there with you?
AD: (laughs) I’m joking. Na, shit’s bad.
How long have you guys all been friends?
AD: Let’s see… probably about 10 years, I’d say.
10 years? That’s crazy.
AD: Yeah, its going to be a good year. We’re all living in the same house. Shit’s going to be off the chain.
It’s going to get so NY in that house. I feel bad for everyone in Colorado that doesn’t know what they’re in for.
AD: That’s what I’m saying dude. I feel bad for everybody in this town because there’s going to be some wild stuff going down.
photo: Giray Dadali
How’s the knee?
AD: It’s pretty good. Just did some skateboarding today and it felt pretty good. A little stiff but I should be all good to go for this winter.
What did you think of Andy and Will’s segments this year?
AD: Sick man. I knew what they were kind of up to but…I didn’t know that. Any of that. Wow. I mean, that shit was mind blowing.
You had an impressive showing in Turbo as well. I was impressed how many shots you did have considering you were hurt last year.
AD: I’m happy with what I got. I worked hard when I could ski last year and it all pays off. The harder you work, the better rewards you’re going to get out of it.
Hoping to make a cameo in any of the Traveling Circus webisodes?
AD: There will be a few episodes I hope. Will’s got some ideas going that should be pretty raw, you know, some hot shit.
Hoping to do any comps this year?
AD: All of the major ones. I’d like to get more into the competition scene.
You know, I feel pretty bad for all the people reading this because you know, I’m from New York, you’re from New York, Andy and Will…
AD: …New York is taking over the whole world, man!