Q&A With East Coast Diehards Meathead Films
The guys over at Meathead Films don’t just make ski movies in New England. They craft films, finding the hidden stashes and inner beauty that is found in their backyard. Written off, forgotten or just plain ignored, the East Coast has tons to offer, featured in Meathead’s many flicks. To commemorate its upcoming film, Work It Out, Meathead explains the impetus and the stoke behind its work.
Freeskier: You guys in the East Coast keep producing great flicks… what keeps the stoke up through the harsh winters over there?
Meathed: East Coast skiers are a very tight knit community with a ton of enthusiasm. What keeps us going is feeding off the excitement and pride that we can bring East Coasters through our movies; and to expose a region that’s usually overlooked by the rest of the ski film industry. A lot of people think of the East as being an icy hell but many resorts in New England average more annual snow than many resorts in Colorado! Even though we’re definitely dealt our fair share of fickle weather, we feed off of that because when conditions become favorable again, everyone gets super pumped and are willing to push it to make the most of the storm cycle. We also have some incredible backcountry and arguably the best urban filming locations in the world. It sometimes takes just a little more effort to access the prime locations, but that’s how we like it because it means there’s typically less skier traffic.
FS: Who do you think had some of the better standout performances this year?
MH: Shea Flynn crushed it this year. He’s becoming a better all-mountain skier but really pushed it hard for his urban and park segments. He even got straight A’s for his classes during the winter semester. What a power dork. Stacey Rachdorf is a veteran backcountry soldier and let loose down some big lines in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Andy Parry had some sweet urban air shots, making his mark as not just a rail skier. Erik Olson, Dale Talkington and Sean Jordan blew my mind at our private park shoots. But overall, Dan Marion and LJ Strenio will have the strongest and most variety of shots. Dan put down some legit urban in addition to his backcountry efforts and LJ absolutely slayed it in Japan. Japan was like video game land for LJ. And with a kid that has endless energy, that’s a great thing for making movie magic in a faraway land.
FS: Will Radio Ron and the crew make more cameos this year?
MH: We always make it a point to have a mogul segment in the movies. Where is all the love these days for the bumps? In our opinion, a great mogul segment is as memorable as any in a ski movie. And there’s a lot of room for creativity since there’s really no standard because none of the other flicks feature bumps anymore. Moguls is where the freestyle revolution was born, and we love to honor this aspect of the sport. It helps us bring the connection to what’s going on in the park and pipe these days, full circle. And it allows us to bust out the neon and one pieces. This year we skied bumps in the rain which was pretty fun… they get really soft. Hammer, Radio Ron and Erik Olson hold down the moguls and retro vibe in “Work It Out.”
FS: What was it like skiing in DC this year, as you’re one of a few crews that went there during the massive dumps?
MH: Being in Washington DC in early February was like walking around the world after Armageddon. They got a three foot dump followed immediately by a two foot dump, which has never before happened in recorded weather history. I believe the government offices were closed for four working days. Trees were down, roads in the middle of the city were totally unplowed, cars were buried and basically the only way to get around for at least a day or two was by subway and by foot. So we took full advantage of it! But even during all this chaos, the guards of the memorials and prominent buildings still managed to get to work so we had to do a lot of sneaking around. One session we couldn’t even start until 2 am. You tend to stick out pretty bad when you’re dragging around generators, cords, gasoline, photo equipment, winches, etc. around the nation’s capital. Luckily, we didn’t look too weird with our skis since there were many other cross country skiers.
FS: Do you think Meathead will ever make a trip out to the West Coast, or strictly East Coast for life?
MH: Well, we went to the “Far East” of Japan this year to ski Hokkaido with Dan Marion, LJ Strenio and Sean Decker. Tatsuya Tayagaki of Bravoski Magazine was our local guide. The East had a pretty crappy season for powder with the majority of the action happening in the Mid Atlantic. A mission to Japan has been on the radar for years and integrating a “trip” segment outside of the East Coast into our film has been a goal of ours. We decided to pull the trigger on a week’s notice in February. Fortunately, both Dan and Sean had already been there to ski twice before, so it was comforting to know that they had insider knowledge. All the athletes we brought are native New Englanders, making it fitting for us to bridge the gap and compare the similarities of the Japan terrain to the East Coast’s. Overall, it was an amazing ski and cultural experience, and we logged some amazing shots.
FS: What is the best thing about the East Coast winters?
MH: Eight inches of snow is great powder day. Also, the driving distances aren’t as bad as out west.
FS: If you could pull in one athlete from another crew to shoot with, who would it be?
MH: I feel like we have some of the best urban and park talent in the game, so I would probably go with an all-around ripper. Josh Bibby â€” he shreds and his humor would mesh well with the Meathead crew.
FS: What was the best trip of this past season for you guys?
MH: Japan was totally new and awesome. It was a nice change to see powder everywhere and not be fighting lift lines to score the goods. We could take our time and film it well. And sushi rules. But since 90-percent of the movie is filmed in the East Coast, the best trip out here was probably DC. I don’t think any of us will forget being there for those epic storms in the birthplace of our nation.
Check out Meathead’s 2010 film, Work It Out, trailer below. For more information, visit Meathead’s website.
About the author:
Shay Williams is the former Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He now works full-time with Monster Energy, and continues to contribute to freeskier.com.