Vernon’s Joe Schuster is $10,000 richer for just 90 seconds of work.
Of course, there were weeks of filming, cutting and editing involved, but the resulting short film segment earned him both a third-place finish and the Fan Favourite Award in last month’s X Games Real Ski Backcountry contest.
The opportunity to enter the X Games contest caught the 25-year-old by surprise, but there was also an element of serendipity in the timing. The park-skier-turned-backcountry-daredevil received a call in April asking if he’d be interested in submitting a clip. He was one of seven athletes to receive an invite.
“By the time I got the call, a lot of my filming was already done so at that point it was more about getting a couple more filler shots in the spring to wrap the whole thing up,” said Schuster, one of four brothers.
“Although 90 seconds doesn’t seem like a very long time, it is very hard and time consuming to come up with that much A-roll footage for a segment like this.”
The main stipulation for entries is that they comprise all-original, unseen backcountry footage. Schuster said that wasn’t all that easy for a couple of reasons.
Last winter started cold and dry, meaning there was almost no snow in the backcountry. In a typical season, he would start filming right around Christmas, but due to the poor conditions, he didn’t get rolling until mid-February.
“I had already agreed to a couple of obligations in the month of April, so with the late start and April shaping up to be a busy month, I only ended up having about six weeks to shoot for the Real Ski part, which was a super-short time period,” he said.
“With the internal pressure I had put on myself to make the most of that time frame, I worked as hard as possible and was able to produce my best video part to date.”
Once the seven videos were submitted, they went online for the Fan Favourite vote. They were also scrutinized by a panel of X Games judges, who ranked Schuster behind Californian Sammy Carlson and Revelstoke’s Dane Tudor.
Upon graduation from the high performance program at VSS in 2006, Schuster immediately started travelling around North America to compete in ski park competitions and shoot films.
Life continued in that way until he dropped out of the park scene altogether and instead funneled all of his energy into filming backcountry. Since then, he has put out three video parts with Poorboyz Productions, and one with Superproof Inc.
This season, Schuster plans to stick around his home in Whistler to continue filming with Superproof, and hopefully earn another shot at X Games.
“I’d like to give a huge thanks to my family and friends for all their support over the years.”
Schuster also thanked his sponsors: Eira clothing, Liberty Skis, Whistler/Blackcomb, Pow Gloves, MyPackage underwear and Le Bent socks.