Montana native Wiley Miller was built for X Games Real Ski Backcountry. A solid backcountry skier with unparalleled style and creativity, Miller has filmed some of the top segments for Level 1, Poor Boyz Productions and TGR during the past few seasons. He lost out to Sammy Carlson in the final round of the 2013 contest, but came away with the Fan Favorite award. He's back for 2014 looking for X Games gold. Here's what Miller had to say about returning to the Real Ski fray for Round 2.
ESPN: You're one of only three repeat athletes from last year's Real Ski competition. What do you think you learned from last year?
Wiley Miller: Last year was more work than I was anticipating. I think that was more that it was early in the season and days were shorter for shooting. Taking that from last year, we knew the workload. This season was actually more challenging than last because of weather up in British Columbia. Well, it wasn't any easier, that's for sure.
How do you feel about the your edit?
I'm feeling really good about it, man. I think it has a different feel than what we produced last year and that comes with working with different people, and a new editor. But I wanted it to be different. I never want to produce the same product every year. I think we accomplished what we set out to do, and I'm pretty stoked.
Who helped out with the making of your segment this year?
This year I worked primarily with Kyle Decker -- he did "The Wallisch Project" with Tom Wallisch last year. Darren Raynor and Freedle Coty also assisted with footage, but the whole project was filmed and edited by Kyle.
Where did you guys shoot?
B.C. most of the time, and then Montana, too. We split our time between the two.
How did you guys deal with the variable conditions in B.C.?
We were just on call for windows of sunshine and good snow conditions. I think we definitely went beyond what I'm normally used to with hunting for those holes of weather. We basically camped out at our site looking for good times to shoot. Usually we hedge our risk with the forecast, but with a deadline we went out and waited for our breaks.
You're not really a competition guy. Why do you bend the rules for Real Ski?
Real Ski is a very unique and specific contest and it happens to be tailored to exactly what I've been doing over the years and what I've been trying to accomplish in skiing. Last year I was super stoked to realize they were actually going to do this contest, and when we were given the parameters for the contest I was floored, super psyched. This year the contest looks great, too. I think I've been waiting for a contest like this for a while.
Ninety seconds isn't exactly a ton of time to flex your skills for an audience. How do you account for something like that?
It really only allows time for us to put action in the edit and then shut it down. There isn't a lot of room for creativity with the editing or any sort of storyline to go along with it. But that's not what this contest is about. It's tough, but 90 seconds of action is actually a lot more than you think. We ended up having lots of shots hit the cutting room floor, but I think that 90 seconds is perfect for putting in the right shots -- nothing more, nothing less.
Is anyone missing from this year's roster?
I'm bummed Candide [Thovex] dropped out and to not see Tanner [Hall] come back. It would be cool to see Chris Logan in it. I think he could be a good fit with his strong park background and taking progression into the backcountry.