Speaking with Wiley Miller on his rise to stardom, X Games Real Ski and more
A few years ago, I received the invite to join Level 1 Productions deep in the heart of BC’s Kootenays. We would spend a couple of weeks there, using our sleds to access some amazing terrain. Wiley was along on that trip and it would be the first of many we would do together.
Wiley is a perfectionist, always willing to work hard to get the shot and stay positive—pretty much a perfect person to shoot with. Since that trip in the Kootenays, I have shot with Wiley all over B.C. with great results. He is always looking for unique features, lines and jump locations, knowing what will look good on film. He will hit features multiple times until he nails his trick perfectly, and in return he has been published multiple times in Freeskier as well as many other publications, worldwide. His Level 1 segments show off his rounded skills in all areas of skiing including big mountain lines, tricking off natural features, backcountry hits and park. His 2013 ESPN Real Ski segment showcased those talents, and Wiley took home the People’s Choice award against some of the best skiers in the industry.
I asked Wiley about some of his adventures in the skiing world. Here’s what he had to say:
I grew up in Montana shredding with my little bro, Jeremy. We never had a park or anything, so backcountry was my only way to get any sort of freestyle stuff dialed. We shredded a bunch outside of the Big Sky area. It was so fun and I think my bro is the reason I started pushing myself with skiing. That kid could shred so well.
Style is key with skiing. It’s tough to maintain good style when you don’t have a park to get in everyday. I try to make a point to get in the park every season to fine tune it, which becomes more of a brush-up on old tricks. New tricks always come with a pow landing.
Filming was my spot from day one. Remember Theory-3 Productions? It was Jeff Thomas’ film company from back in the day. Him and Teddy Knapp (RIP) were tackling “photoplay” in like, 2006, and somehow through hanging out with Mike Hornbeck I got a segment with them. Then I was nominated for a Powder award against Ian Macintosh. In my head, it was go time… I didn’t want to compete or do anything but film in the backcountry.
2013 Real Ski Backcountry: Wiley Miller
Then it was Level 1, TGR, and eventually just Level 1. I have been working with Level 1 for a time now and it’s worked out well. Their films are getting better every year. It’s great to be a veteran with them now, too. Seeing the crew grow and new filmers come on board, like [Voleurz's] Darren Rayner, has been so cool to be a part of. I really feel proud to be a part of such a good crew and film every year.
X Games… When I got the invite [to compete in Real Ski Backcountry], I couldn’t have been more fired up. Josh Berman got me lined up with Rayner and I packed up my stuff and booked it for BC in November. I was so hungry, so ready to try some new stuff, be creative and also have creative control and direction with Darren. I loved every day out there. It’s cool ESPN includes a People’s Choice award. It’s really anyone’s game at that point. It was an honor to win the people’s vote, I couldn’t be more happy for that. I can’t thank every individual who voted, but I am so thankful for everyone’s support.
The [Real Ski Backcountry edits] were some of the best segments we’ve seen in the backcountry to date. Everyone put so much effort into it. Dane Tudor, who sacrificed his whole season for this edit, put something together with no time at all. You gotta respect that. It’s true for everyone… everyone worked hard. Even Parker White. I heard he stopped drinking for a few days to film. [laughs] Just kidding. Kinda.
As always, much gratitude and appreciation to 4FRNT Skis, Saga Outerwear, Spy Optic, Daleboot Boots, and Kombi Gloves.
About the author:
Bryn Hughes is a senior photographer for Freeskier. He answers to Bryndiesel, Osama Brynladen or just plain Diesel. Shoots with Canon gear protected in F-stop packs. Visit www.brynhughes.com for more.