Eight contestants have spent the winter filming 90-second edits for Real Ski Backcountry, the all-video medal event premiering at X Games Tignes. Online voting begins March 5 on XGames.com to determine the Fan Favorite. We're catching up with each of the contestants in the coming weeks. Pep Fujas was at K2 headquarters in Seattle when we chatted with him last week. Fujas competed in X Games Slopestyle in the early 2000s, and now, he'll return to the X Games in a new format a decade later.
What are you doing in Seattle?
I was in Whistler finishing filming and I tweaked my left knee. I went too big and the snow wasn't super good powder. It was a little spongy and I landed too deep and my skis got tossed one way and body the other way and I was just rag dolling. The swelling is super minor. I'm down here resting and filming some behind the scenes stuff.
Were you excited when you heard about the Real Ski Backcountry contest?
Absolutely. I'm completely honored. I never thought I'd compete in X Games again. It was cool; I was really surprised to get the call.
Did you have a plan going into the season?
I wrote down a rough shot list of things I wanted to get done. It's a contest where you can only plan so far and you kind of have to work with what you get. I planned on shooting the majority of it in BC; I ended up shooting in Utah mostly. I figured I'd play the game and use my strengths to my advantage.
What are those strengths?
Slow rotations and landing backwards. That's where my edge is.
Who is shooting your segment?
Tyler Hamlet. And Adam Clark filmed a little in Utah. He has a Sony that shoots 240 frames a second, so he's shooting second angle while shooting photos. Tyler is editing the contest piece and I will edit the behind-the-scenes stuff. It's pretty straightforward. We ended up doing a skit, so I'm just overlaying the audio and the visual. It's mostly a lot of crashes from the shoot.
Have you enjoyed the process?
It's been good for me; it keeps me motivated and looking for the next thing. I haven't done a lot of jumping in the last four or five years, so it was good to get back in that mode and that mentality.
What were the challenges?
It was more challenging than I expected. I had ideas of the stuff I wanted to accomplish. Sometimes it was fatigue or not the right set up or I didn't get exactly what I wanted but sometimes you take what you can get. Weather was tough. It's all so subjective -- anywhere at any time could end up being good. I was always on the verge of going somewhere else. You can only trust the forecast two days in advance. I'd wait a day and the forecast would change and I'd stay. I had to be ready to go at any given moment. It was a strike mission whenever we could. I drove 6,000 miles in a couple weeks.
Are you excited to see the other videos?
I really am. I've heard some rumors of what others have done. Every single person in this contest has a different style and a different bag of tricks. It's going to be sweet.