Level 1 just dropped the trailer for its 15th annual ski flick titled, less. Year in and year out, the crew at Level 1 has gone above and beyond to capture the most epic moments of each ski-season on film. This season, the team worked with a brand new batch of up-and-coming rippers, and by the looks of things, they are onto something really f’ing sweet. I caught up with the multi-talented Freedle Coty to discuss the flick. Check it out, below.
What sets this year’s film apart from your previous projects?
A new crew to start with. It has been kind of a rebuilding year for us, which is nothing new, but after the departure of a few of our main guys, there were some big shoes to fill. We have a lot of fresh blood in this one, more than ever. Overall, we tried a more minimalistic approach—stripping down the fancy tricks, bells and whistles, to make the most relatable ski movie we can.
Who can we expect to see big things from?
LSM (Lucas Stål-Madison), Duncan Adams, Magnus Granér, Khai Krepela, Will Berman. LSM especially has developed a style all of his own when it comes to street skiing—linking a lot of lines and flowing things; very original and fun to watch. Duncan on the other hand has filmed with us a bit in past years (Refresh, Realtime) but never had a major appearance. This season he quit the halfpipe competition scene entirely and filmed backcountry throughout the year in Wyoming, Montana, and Whistler with Tanner Rainville. Duncan has a distinct style in that environment and it finally came through on film. Khai is another street-skier that killed it; solid debut from him. Will Berman as well; really strong style. The veterans: Will Wesson, Adam Delorme, Tanner Rainville—those guys held it down, as always.
What was it like working with a new cast of characters this year?
It was tough at first. You don’t have the close familiarity with people right away and it takes time to develop that dynamic. We work best with the people skiing for our cameras when they are not just athletes, but friends. But, it’s also cool to bring new people into the mix; they keep it fresh and exciting. Hopefully everyone that became involved offers a new perspective on the skiing we document.
Whose segment is your personal favorite?
LSM and Duncan Adams.
Who had the best wreck in the film?
Niklas Eriksson took a nasty wreck to his face on a concrete staircase. Will Berman fell backwards off a roof onto flat icey pavement in Sweden and broke his pelvis. Duncan has a 90-degree edge catch tomahawk that you’ll see in the trailer. He also took a 60-foot natural hip air straight into a bomb-hole and bit through his tongue.
What was your favorite venture of the season?
Riksgränsen—a ski resort within the arctic circle in Northern Sweden that I’ve wanted to visit for several years. Amazing spring skiing combined with midnight sun and a lot of history makes for a very cool trip. I spent almost the whole month of May there with LSM, Sig Tveit, Shay Lee and Pär Hägglund. It was a perfect crew to play around on the backcountry terrain there. It was also a mellow vibe with other ski and snowboard crews around. Armada was shooting there with Henrik Harlaut, Jacob Wester, Phil Casabon and co. Everyone was just relaxed and having a good time.
What was the most difficult part of making this year’s movie?
For me, at the beginning, it was losing my main crew. I missed shooting with Parker [White], Chris [Logan] and Kyle Decker. It was harder to focus on creating a new film without a lot of the guys you’re used to working with. Weather fucked with the program a bit too, but that is to be expected. It all worked out in the end.
After so many years, the Level 1 crew is clearly still stoked on skiing. What drives you to up the ante on your films year after year?
The skiing. It’s easy to get jaded on the work and the background noise, but
there will always be people that bring new life and energy into skiing, and it keeps you going. Also, just getting out and enjoying it on your own terms. That doesn’t happen as much as it should in this industry, but it sure keeps you connected to the reason you started doing it in the first place; it makes you feel like a little kid again. I’m also rarely completely satisfied with the movies we make, so every year you have a reset, and the urge to do something different and better.
What are the plans for the world premiere?
It will be on Saturday, September 6th at City Hall in Denver, CO. This will be our third year in a row doing it at this venue. Anybody who has experienced it will know it is a party that is not to be missed!
Awesome, we are stoked to check it out. Any final thoughts?