Ahmet Dadali has had quite an early season already: He's dealing with a torn meniscus, he put out a much-talked-about opening segment in Level 1 Productions' "Eye Trip," and in September, he won best male performance at the IF3 Freeski Film Festival in Montreal. And the ski season is just beginning. Over the last few years this 22-year-old New Yorker has gone from skiing and filming with friends around his home state to traveling the world with film crews in search of the most innovative features and urban potential. I spent the day with Ahmet at Breckenridge and Keystone recently, and we did this interview on the lift between runs.
Where did you grow up skiing and who was your biggest influence in the sport at that time?
I grew up in Western New York. As you can imagine, the park was not a dime piece out there, so I looked up to a lot of other East Coast guys. Dave Crichton in particular, his style was super different and he hit different styles of features. He actually came to my house at one point and sessioned the rails we had in our backyard with us. It was insane to ride with him at that point.
Your opening segment in Level 1's "Eye Trip" earned you the best male performance award at IF3. How'd it feel to take home that award?
It was awesome, man, I was not expecting that at all. All of a sudden I heard my name being called for winning the best male performance and I couldn't stop smiling. When I got off stage I got to see how happy my girlfriend was -- she was possibly more excited than I even was.
What are your goals for this season?
I obviously just want to beat out what I had last year. It would be the illest to win some kind of award again for the work. I want to drop a segment that really turns heads.
As far as the 'film segment vs. competition results' debate goes, you seem to be on the film side of things. Any reason why?
I feel like there is a lot more individual freedom when you're out filming a segment. You don't have to ski like everyone else wants you to ski to get recognition for what you're doing. It's awesome to just be out with your friends building things how you want to hit them, and it gives you a real sense of accomplishment when you kill it how you want to. People seem to remember a good ski segment, but will forget a competition standing.
Aside from "Eye Trip," are there any other new ski or snowboard films that you've been watching lately?
I watch a lot of snowboard films. Forum's in particular is one I watch every year, it gets ya thinkin' outside the box of skiing. It's good to think outside that thing.
How do you see the sport evolving over the next 10 years?
Hopefully in a direction that does not involve thousands of degrees in spins and flips. Aerialists have been doing that stuff and we separated from it for a reason. We've got to stop looking at skiing as "training" and get into that creative aspect of skiing which will take us a long way. We've got to make skiing last, not make it fall apart by making it into a circus show.