Q&A: Six seasons deep, Will Wesson talks Line Traveling Circus
Over the years, Line Traveling Circus has emerged as one of the most popular and longstanding series in skiing. This can be attributed to the antics and acrobatics of Will Wesson, Andy Parry, and the rest of the LTC crew, who have made a name for themselves by focusing on fun and creativity. To celebrate the season six premiere of Line Traveling Circus, we decided to catch up with Will to talk about the history of the series, and what we can expect from the crew in the upcoming season.
Photo: Rocky Maloney
Hey Will. What are you up to right now?
I’m currently on the road filming for a Traveling Circus episode in Europe. We are skiing at indoor slopes in England, and one in Holland. So far it has been a lot of fun and most places have exceeded my expectations.
You recently dropped the first episode of the new season of Line Traveling Circus. What can we look forward to for the rest of season six?
Plenty of the usual adventures around North America, and hopefully another overseas trip. We don’t really plan very far ahead, and usually let the weather decide our locations for us.
Do you have certain goals with each episode, or do you just go somewhere and film everything?
Before going to any location, we try to ask friends and locals what we should see and where we should ski. If the trip is overseas, a decent bit of planning has to happen in order to make things affordable. If it’s in North America, we pretty much just pick a general region and start driving. Most of our plans, like lift tickets and locations, are figured out in the few days prior to arriving at the destination. We try to film a little bit of everything. Capturing humor and making skiing look as fun as it is in real life are the top priorities.
How did LTC get its start?
I was about to graduate college, and all I wanted to do was ski and travel. My long time friend Andy Parry was in the same situation and we decided we needed an excuse to tell our parents about why we weren’t ready to join the real world yet. We went to Line Skis founder Jason Levinthal with a few ideas in a cheesy powerpoint presentation, and LTC is what ended up coming out of it.
What do you like about skiing for Line?
No matter what I’m doing, they are behind it, will promote it, and seek out my input on what they can do better. I get to ski how I want to, rather than being pushed into contests or events I wouldn’t normally choose to do.
Are you surprised at how far the series has come?
Yes, very surprised. It was supposed to be an excuse to ski a few new places in the west for a year. Six years later, it is still going.
What are the main differences between the early episodes and today’s episodes? What’s the same?
The newer episodes are much more polished, and the quality of filming has vastly improved. Andy and myself filmed eight out of nine episodes the first year, and basically threw together random stuff for each episode. Nowadays, [cinematographer/editor] Shane McFalls makes them flow together in more of a complete story. We have made a lot of new friends all over the country and world, but we still have the same crew of friends that grew up together filming edits in the Northeast.
In what ways has LTC helped your ski career?
It’s helped put my name and my skiing out online for the world to see on a regular basis throughout each winter season. It’s also allowed me to travel to a lot of places I would never get to see any other way.
What were some of the highlights of your 12/13 season?
Japan! Japan! Japan! Japan is probably the place I’ve wanted to go most for the last 10 years of my life. [It was] literally a dream come true. Also, I enjoyed filming a ton with Level 1 and putting together my best segment with them yet.
How did you get involved with Level 1?
I recall [Level 1 cinematographer] Freedle Coty hyping me up to Josh Berman, based on what he saw in a few of my segments with Meathead Films. Also, I grew up with Ahmet Dadali in New York. He was filming with them and put in a good word for me. My first trip with Level 1 was to Denver in 2008. It went really well, and I shared a segment with Ahmet in Turbo the following fall.
How hard is it to balance your time between LTC and filming for Level 1?
It is very difficult. I am at home for about one week a month. A lot of times, I go straight from one trip to the next with a travel day or two to rest. December to March is very busy for me.
How was the Partly Cloudy world premiere?
It was a great time. Denver always produces a huge crowd and it’s great to meet people stoked on the same things that I am.
How was iF3 Montreal?
iF3 was epic, also. I’ve been to every iF3 Montreal so far, and it never disappoints. [I had] lots of fun renting bikes and seeing all the new movies.
How do you go about finding street spots?
[I am] literally looking day in, day out, 24/7. It’s kind of something you don’t turn off. You just naturally look at everything and ask, “How can I ski on that?”
How did you get your start in skiing?
My parents got me into cross-country ski racing when I was young. I tried out downhill skiing when I had a race at a mountain on an off day. Once I hit a few small jumps, I got more into it and got some epic Solomon snowblades for Christmas. After I got good enough to hit larger features, I wanted regular skis for more stability, and every year after that I’ve become more obsessed.
Which cinematographers do you spend most of your time with?
Shane McFalls and Jake Strassman.
How does the relationship between the cinematographer and skier help with the filmmaking process?
Everyone definitely has to be on the same page. Certain tricks need to be filmed certain ways, and if both parties aren’t into it, it’s not going to work out.
What is the highest number of swaps you’ve ever done in one trick?
Maybe four? I don’t know, probably just messing around on a mini rail.
Are rails the end all, be all for you?
Nope, I love jumps, powder and all things skiing.
What are the coolest trends/things in skiing today?
Having fun and skiing however you want to.
Is underwater skiing the next big thing?
Definitely not. I just got my SCUBA certification and figured I should hit the rail if it was down there.
Any shoutouts or thank yous?
My family, friends and sponsors.
About the author:
A 24-year-old Montana native, Shane Dowaliby is the Video Editor here at Freeskier.