Interview & photos by Jeff Schmuck
Where are you right now?
Marsh Lake, Yukon!
How's that going?
It’s killer. I just flew up here in my Dad’s plane and now I’m hangin out with the whole fam-damily.
So the snow is all gone, the sun is shining and the season is over. How it'd go for you?
My season was Pretty Good. I didn't get to ski as much pow as I wanted, but I accomplished two major goals in my ski 'career.' One, to go to X Games, and two, to go to one of Jon’s events, which I achieved by going to JOSS this year.
Team Canada at JOSS: Damian Cromwell, Neil Sotirakopoulos, Darren Rayner, Chug & TJ Schiller. photo: Dan Brown
Was that the biggest highlight of the year for you?
Definitely the biggest. I had an insane amount of fun, met a lot of PROS (laughs) and it was an amazing experience. I hope I get to go back next year (wink-wink Jon).
Darren Rayner GTS'ing Chug at JOSS
What were some other ones?
Meeting pros (laughs). And I got another double 12 in the backcountry this year with Rage that's better than last year's, so I'm super stoked on that, and I got to shoot with Nimbus, which was something new and fun for me.
How'd that go?
It was really good. Super mellow. A lot less pressure than shooting with other film companies. No pressure and no stress, just bunch fun times. And we got to ride Snowboarder Superpark at Mammoth, which was SO pimp. Thanks Benny!
Chis Benchetler, John Symms & Chug at Mammoth. photo: Joo-yong Kim
What movies can we expect to see you in this fall?
Rage's Pretty Good, Nimbus' Contrast and Voleurz' Outdoor Graduation.
And looking a bit further ahead, what are your plans for next year?
I want to do all the pre-season big airs if I can get into them. And I'm going to try and do Dew Tour qualifiers again, because I'd love to get into that series, but it's a difficult task these days because everyone is so damn good. Other than that, I'll be filming all the time with Nimbus and Rage again, and there's talk of Poor Boyz but we'll see what happens there. My main goal..have as much fun as possible!
Speaking of everyone being so damn good, over the last few years you've gone from being an underground-style of name to a pretty well known one. So now that you're out there doing all these major comps, filming with the big companies, signing autographs on chicks' boobs and just being so damn pro, who are some up-and-comers that are impressing you and that everyone should be keeping an eye on in your opinion?
(laughs) Well, my BFF Joey Cheese Belly Schuster is INSANELY underrated and thoroughly impressed me all season. I’m really hoping he has his shining and gets the P-R-O status asap. Other then that, there are sooo many kids out there these days, but if I had to pick a couple, I'd go with Sean Jordan, Jon Brogan, because he has style just oozing out of his pores, and Kolby Ward.
Nice. So now onto the main task at hand. You're finally dropping the long-awaited 5th episode of Chug Life right now. What can we expect to see in the latest and greatest from Chug?
Well it's not as exciting as Chug Life 4 I don't think, but it's got some stuff in it that’s watch-worthy. I think some parts are funny as balls but, I sometimes think I am the only one that finds my friends and I funny.
What's your favorite episode that you've done?
I still think Chug Life 1 is my favorite, because it was filmed over a three-month span and I had tons of time to do it. It was the most fun to make because I was just getting it started and everything was still fresh in my mind. But Chug Life 4 is the most funny it seems.
Is Chug Life going to be taking a break over the summer or will there be more episodes before next winter?
No actually I’m going to be dropping one from Momentum Ski Camps that will have some of my summer travels in it as well, like this trip up to the Yukon and the 82-pound Halibut I caught in AK!
Hell yeah it is!
How was summer camp for you?
I had a blast coaching this summer, even though I re-hurt my ankle first day on the glacier. I had an awesome time and would like to give shoutouts to the Quebec Crew and the Yukon Crew!
When you first set out to do Chug Life and I talked to you about it, you said it was basically just going to be a fun thing for you to do with filming your 'idiot friends' and showing a different perspective than what was going on in Jon's blogs. And then over the course of this past season, it's absolutely exploded and has arguably become one of the most popular videoblogs out there. How's that make you feel?
It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, because initially I figured it would only be hilarious for my group of friends, but I wanted to post it and see what other people thought. And then when it was so well received it made me super stoked to do more.
JOI. No biggie for Chug. photo: Dan Brown
Did you ever think it was going to be as popular and big as it's become?
Not at all. And even though I got a bit discouraged mid-season, and I didn't even want to release Chug Life 4 because I didn't think people would think it was funny, it was everyone's support that kept me going.
You didn't think it was going to be funny enough or you didn't think it was going to be appropriate enough? (laughs)
(laughs) Nah I made it appropriate. It was a challenge though, because initially I didn't think it would be appropriate enough, but when I started putting it all together I didn't think it was going to be funny enough.
And where's all the inappropriate footage from that trip? (laughs)
Locked away in a secret file. (laughs)
What are your plans and goals for Chug Life for next year?
For the upcoming season I’ve got my agent, Fergie (goodlife.ca), talking to some TV channels about making Chug Life TV, but this is a long term goal. As for now, I’ve got some good support from Atomic coming in and am stoked to keep this thing going online!
And in closing, what would you like to say to all the kids out there that are now part of the cult-like following of Chug Life, and who start threads and message you all the time on NS about when the next episode is coming?
JEAAAAA!!!! (laughs) But seriously, you guys rule and if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be continuing with it. It’s a lot more work than most people think creating a production entirely on my own. Filming, capturing, labeling, editing, etc ain’t easy! So thank you so much for the support and keep watching and they will keep coming! At a faster rate I promise…
Chug Life 5
Chug Life 4
Chug Life 3
Chug Life 2
Chug Life 1