Following last year's X Games Real Ski Backcountry video contest, Wiley Miller, who won the People's Choice award, was inspired to do more web-based edits. Miller, 29, called cinematographer Darren Rayner, who also worked on the Real Ski project, in late December to ask if he was available to help Miller put out a web release for this winter. Rayner said yes and the result is "YLESKI," a four-minute collection of deep powder, jump shots and backcountry lines, which he released this week. XGames.com caught up with Miller over the phone on Monday after a day of shooting in the Whistler backcountry.
Why release a segment online instead of going the traditional film route?
The first webisode I saw that was inspiring was Candide Thovex's "Candide Kamera." That was pretty sick. I didn't really start thinking about doing anything on my own until Darren and I finished Real Ski last year. That's when the wheels started turning to do web-based releases.
What are the differences between working on Real Ski and producing this project?
When working on Real Ski, we worked within all these parameters of music, a 90-second time limit and only tricks. For this project, it was really cool to not have any boundaries. We could do whatever we wanted.
Many skiers are moving to this single-release model. What have the challenges been in making a project on your own?
There's definitely a lot more to deal with. Filming with a film company like Level 1 --you know, what I've been doing forever now -- has been really nice. You just show up, go ski and don't have to worry about the logistics of filming, organizing a filmer, lodging,and working a deal on how to get the filmer paid for his work. That was all new to me. It is a lot more communication. It's easy to think, 'Oh yeah! I'll just grab a filmer and go film an edit.' It's not that easy when you shoot backcountry and you need a filmer that can sled, has his own camera gear, can edit and do all the stuff you need to do in the backcountry.
Does this mean you're done filming with Level 1?
I'm going to stay involved with Level 1. [Level 1 cinematographer] Freedle Coty just got up here to Whistler. We're going to do some shooting the next couple weeks. Things with Level 1 are staying in place. I want to be involved with their movie.
Tell me about the Montana big horn sheep in "YLESKI."
We filmed in the Montana backcountry. I'm from Billings. There's a ton of big horn sheep in Montana. I'm always trying to identify myself back to my roots growing up there. Darren was inspired by the big horn sheep that were all over the place and wanted to somehow turn me into a sheep. Growing up in Montana, there were animals all over the place. It felt fitting to incorporate the wildlife into the edit.