Grand Rapids Michigan Urban Skiing

Grand Rapids Press Urban Skiing

Michigan Urban Skiing

Last winter, Level 1 Productions visited Grand Rapids with Sandy Boville to film Michigan urban skiing. The photos above were taken in January 2014 by Joshua Nowicki and you can see the video of this location and others across West Michigan in Level 1’s newest film, “Less”.

 

Michigan Urban Skiing

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Urban Skiing Michigan with Sandy Boville

Urban Skiing Photo from Michigan

These Michigan urban skiing photos were taken at the Grand Rapids Press building.  Grand Rapids is located in Western Michigan and is the second largest city in the state. Located on the Grand River and about a half hour drive from Lake Michigan, the Grand Rapids metropolitan areas has a population of a little over 1 million people.

In addition to being a hot spot for urban skiing, Grand Rapids is also home to a growing local beer scene. Popular breweries include Founders Brewing Company, Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids Brewing Company, Hideout Brewing Company, The Mitten Brewing Company, Harmony Brewing Company, Elk Brewing, Creston Brewery, New Holland Brewing, Schmohz Brewing Company, Odd Side Ales, Perrin Brewing Company, Rockford Brewing Company, Cellar Brewing Company, Pike 51 Brewery, Cedar Springs Brewing Company, and more.

Settling In with Sam Zahner and the Newschoolers MoleSquad

We recently had a chance for quick conversation with Sam Zahner about his move to Summit County and plans for this upcoming winter:

 

Reflecting on last season what were the main highlights?

Last winter I did some filming with Andrew Keyser for the Beast Coast webisodes. We filmed at Mountain Creek, NJ and Big Boulder, PA for the first episode. For the second episode I just got a few urban shots around my home in Jersey, and the rest of the crew filmed at Carinthia. In the spring I entered a rail jam “King of Jib” down at Roundtop and managed to get second place, but got a pretty solid concussion and messed up my shoulder, which put me out for a couple weeks. About a month later I went out to Colorado where we filmed the last Beast Coast episode at Keystone. Going back East I thought the season was over but luckily enough I was still able to ski in early May at the Ski The East super park shoot. Was a great 5 days and I managed to stack a few shots that’ll hopefully be released in the STE series next winter.

How has your summer been?  What have you been up to?

Summer has been pretty chill, just graduated high school in June, and spent most of my summer in Jersey besides a few weekend trips down the shore or up north. I pretty much just stayed home did a lot of cliff jumping, skating and what not. Early August I finally made the move cross country and will be living in Summit County (hopefully) for years to come.

Now that you’ve made the move to Summit County, what are you doing besides skiing to keep yourself busy?
I’ve been in summit for a little over a month now. Not too much going on without skiing, but I’m taking a few classes at CMC. I’ve also kept busy with a lot of skating, tramping and some sketchy off roading in subarus.
Sam Zahner Skating
Sam Zahner Subaru Off Roading
How has the move from New Jersey to Summit County, Colorado been? 
Definitely some differences out here vs. back home. Everything’s a little slower, people seem to be friendlier and more laid-back. Jerseys just about the opposite, haha. My overall life hasn’t changed too much yet, but hopefully that’ll change this winter!
You haven’t mentioned plans for any slopestyle skiing competitions. Is it safe to say you have your sights set on devoting yourself mainly to filming rather than competing?
Yeah, competing definitely isn’t my main focus this season. Although I am planning to enter war of rails because the set up is always insane and just looks like a sick comp. I really like how it is pretty much a rail jam taken to the next level. Also I’ve never been to Cali, so that should be a good trip.
With the Beast Coast series coming to an end, what are your filming plans for the upcoming winter?
This winter I am just hoping to ski as much as possible. Me and my crew the “molesquad” are planning to release frequent webisodes this winter. I am also hoping to direct most of my effort toward filming and hitting street spots this winter.
Can you explain the draw for you to bring your freestyle skiing to the streets?
There are just so many more options and interesting features to hit while street skiing. Myself being an east coast rail skier for most of my life, its a natural progression for me to ski in the streets. In past years, lack of snow and not always having a crew of kids down to hit urban prevented me from skiing in the streets a lot. I’m hoping now living in summit with 4 other skiers I won’t have these same problems. As far as trips go I don’t have any planned yet besides a couple home to NJ.
Plenty of Newschoolers have probably heard the name “molesquad” by now.  Can you tell us more about the molesquad?
The molesquad is just our crew, consisting of me, Rob Bittner, Mike Cappola and Alex Keimel. Currently we’ve all been living in Silverthorne, Colorado for the past couple months. As far as the filming/ editing goes, we will all be behind the camera with mostly myself and Bittner covering the editing, but obviously everyone will have a strong input during the editing process. What’s unique about the molesquad is the diversity of style and techniques of our skiing. We definitely feed off of each other’s skiing which makes the entire ski filming process much more successful. This winter were planning to release weekly episodes through Newschoolers. Were hoping to get things coordinated with Newschoolers moderators to possibly get a channel and episode countdowns.
Keep your eye out for the molesquad this winter.

Catching Up with Tobias Sedlacek of The Bunch

Recently, we had a chance to catch up with with freestyle skier, Tobias Sedlacek discussing last season and his plans for the future.

Hey Tobias, just wanted to check in with you and see how your summer is going? 

Hey! I started off the summer in Mt Hood, first off staying in an apartment up in Govy with The Bunch crew and finished up my Hood, Oregon stay camping in the woods with a fat crew.  First of June I traveled back to Sweden.  Since then, I’ve been working in a freezer warehouse in my hometown busting my ass off trying to stack enough money for the upcoming season, partying and chilling with homies.

Last season, you started off the year filming urban with The Bunch in Sweden.  How did that go?  What were some of the highlights?

It went well!  My season started a bit later than I wanted because I finished high school just before the winter break, but I’m happy with what I accomplished.  The winter in Sweden was kind of bad so we couldn’t hit all the spots we wanted, but on the bright side we’ve got more to hit this upcoming season!  The highlight was staying in my friend fg’s cabin for a week and doing urbans during the day.  Although we didn’t stack too many shots, it was a sick time.  Also New Year’s, where we kind of hit three spots in one day which was mad fun and I managed to get three shots as well, which was a good start for a party night.

You competed in War of Rails last season, tell us how that went?

It went pretty well.  I was stoked on my riding, but I had some troubles putting down a whole run.  I got a lot of props on my riding from people I look up to, so after all it was a successful weekend, especially just staying with the Dais crew in their house, chillin’ like a villain and skiing in the Golden State.

You were pretty active during your trip to North America, with stops in California, Hood, Montana, and British Columbia.  Can you tell us more about it?  What were some of the best moments for you?

Well, the trip started in February with Magnus and I flying out to Cali for WOR.  We then met up with Maxi and a few weeks after, the rest of the crew. We drove through all the West Coast states:  Cali, Oregon & Washington, and skied wherever we felt like it.  I was lucky enough to be able to go to Canada and Montana with you guys too, which I’m really thankful for.

I think I have three favorite moments on the trip:

First off, Catskiing in Canada was a dream come true.  I never thought I would understand people saying “there’s to much snow”, you know?  But after that trip I kind of do!  Great guides, great snow and a great crew!

Secondly:  Meeting up with the rest of The Bunch In Cali.  Maxi, Magnus and I had stayed with The Dais homies which was a sick time and then we all took our cars and drove down to LA to pick up the boys.  We also decided on a spot to camp for the night.  Long story short, we camped in a recreation area, got busted by the popo the day after and three police cars rolled in.  We had two uninsured and unregistered cars, 10 swedes in ’em and somehow we managed to get away with it.  The cop probably believed us and that was lucky, because he told us he could have impounded our cars if he wanted to, which would’ve messed up our trip.

Last, camping in the woods of Oregon.  Too many great memories to share so I’ll leave it like this:  What a long strange month it was.

What should we expect from you in the new movie from The Bunch?

Of course, a bunch of street skiing, but what I think I’ll surprise most people with is my BC riding.  This year was kind of the first time riding “real” powder and “real” backcountry because Sweden doesn’t have to much of it, and to me it’s the best time you can have on a set of skis.  Hopefully people will like it, because I’m planning on continuing on that path!

In your opinion, what makes The Bunch unique and stand out from the crowd? 

Well, it’s kind of hard being in it and try to say what makes us stand out from the crowd, but I think it’s a lot about always trying to be creative, not only in our skiing, but all there is around it and having fun along the way.  Seeing others have fun is way more enjoyable for me than watching the Olympics and seeing people scared shitless while trying to put down a run they trained the last four years for. That’s the cool thing about skiing:  There is something for everyone, whether it’s competing, riding pow or doing urbans.

What are your plans for next season?

Starting off like last year with doing urbans, and hopefully get some glacier riding in before that.  Where we will be doing urbans is undecided, but I want to explore my hometown more, other cities in Sweden, and hopefully some other counties as well.  I will probably get some backcountry in before heading over to The States for a while to film pow and urban like we usually do it. Then, hopefully make another trip cat skiing in Canada before heading home earlier than usual to ski a ski-mecca up in the Northern parts of Sweden called Riksgränsen.

You mentioned that you intend to focus more time in the backcountry. What’s your favorite part about skiing in the backcountry?

Definitely the freedom and somehow feeling connected to the nature.  I kind of feel like an animal walking around in the woods with my skis on my back, but instead of looking for a prey I was looking for the perfect spot to ski.  I love being out in the woods, so combining that with skiing is a winning combination in my mind.

Of course, the feeling of riding powder is something completely different than anything else and that has a big input on why it’s as fun as it is.

How do you think your style and creativity translates to the BC?

I think my style will be similar to how it is in the park or in the streets, which is calm but still going big with a skate inspiration. I will definitely try to take that to the pow even more next year after getting some experience this year.  The creativity is already in my head since I have ridden a lot in the park and street, where you always have to keep your game fresh.  The fattest pow segments in my opinion are from the Nimbus crew’s older stuff, and the older Poor Boyz stuff, like “Idea”. “Idea” is definitely my favorite movie. Looking at street skiing it evolves so much every year, that doing what you did last year will be outdated the season after.  So I wanna try to bring something new and fresh to the pow scene, and I’m not talking doing new dubs in the pow even though that could be really cool too.  So, next year, my part will hopefully include a lot of different BC stuff.

Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us Tobias, we are hyped to see all of your hard work pay off in the upcoming film, “Finess”,  from The Bunch.

A Fresh Outlook on Skiing by Revision Skis

Revision Skis is a small, accessible freestyle skiing company that makes the skis that our family wants to ride.  Our focus is on having fun while expressing our own individual creativity and style. We are in the freeskiing business for the love of it and we do things our own way. We look forward to continuing to connect with the community in the future and are excited to hear from you. As we officially launch our fresh, new brand of skis, we hope you enjoy this video of our family enjoying our twin tip skis in a variety of conditions. We hope you will stop and take a moment to check out our lineup of park skis, powder skis, and all mountain skis.

Video edited by Mike Kvackay | Filmed by Bobby Jahrig, Frank King, Mike Kvackay, Andrew Keyser, The Bunch, Sam Trefaller, Arthur Baluff, Ben Zeimet & Thomas Vincent

A Break from the Grind – Level 1 Takeover Week at Windells

I’ve been working for a contractor since my ski season ended building decks, fences, gazebos and digging a lot of holes.  It’s hard work, but at least I’m outside and working on my tan.

I received an email from the boys at Level 1 Productions stating they had a takeover week at Windells and if anyone was interested in being there.  I probably ended up being the first to jump on that.  So, before I knew it, I was hopping on a plane to Oregon to meet up with Tim McChesney and Will Berman.

It was hands down one of the best summer weeks of my life.  Windells was a great host, giving us access to the lane, a house to crash in and a chauffer/van for the week.  The weather for the week was also perfect, which made the vibes even better.  Windells has its own private t-bar, so the amount of laps you get while skiing is unreal!  As for off-hill, the camp base is a full skate park and there is always something going down.  It was a great break from working in the summer.  I can’t wait to get back on the snow again this winter!

Words by freeskier Sandy Boville

Skunk Pit

Freeskier Chris McKeever with a couple of shots from the season in this Skunk Pit skiing video. Edit by Spinney aka The Squadron. Filming by Topher, Mullen, Kvackey, FJK Visuals, Ben Arens, Evan, Ty, Zam.

It’s always a fun time…even if it doesn’t work out. Level 1 Spring Shoot at Schweitzer Mountain, Idaho

After a fairly lengthy flight from Toronto to Spokane, Washington, I was greeted by Schweitzer’s event coordinator.  We hopped in the company car and headed east to Schwitezer. Picking up a few essentials, we made our way to the Level 1 digs for the week, a two-story house just down from the base of the Mountain.  With plenty of snow and ample steepness, I knew our front/backyard would definitely get some playtime.  For the majority of the week, we were clouded, rained and snowed-out from shooting freestyle skiing.  We’d head up the mountain to make changes on features and take a few tree laps, but the majority of the time was spent in and around the house.  We played games, watched TV, made food and most of all; We worked on the freeskiing pump track during our days.  I would say it was the highlight of the trip, and I’m sure others would too.  A ten-feature course with turns, jumps, gaps, rails and tunnels.  What more could you ask for?  Add in a few snow couches, a bonfire and fireworks and we had a recipe for greatness.

Level 1 Productions Pump Track Backflip at Schweitzter Mountain, Idaho

Photo by Chip Calbeck

Even with all the down time I was lucky enough to get in a few laps on the mini slope course with a few sunset shots. Be sure to check those out in the new Level 1 flick this fall.

Level 1 Productions Jump Shoot at Schweitzter Mountain, Idaho

After a week of disappointing weather with killer times I had to take off back home to Ontario. Summer is working season, which isn’t bad. I think it refreshes your mind and lets you really realize how great winter and skiing are. I’m definitely looking forward to getting back on the snow and ripping my favorite sticks!

Level 1 Productions Pump Track Tunnel at Schweitzter Mountain, Idaho

Words by Sandy Boville

 

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