[Voting is now open for X Games Real Ski Backcountry. Round 1 ends March 11. Watch all eight athletes' entries and place your vote here.]
Sean Pettit was one of eight skiers invited to participate in Real Ski Backcountry, a new X Games event debuting in Tignes, France, later this month. Skiers were given the first three months of this winter season to film a 90-second edit. Voting is now open for the fan favorite and the judges' favorite, which will be awarded March 22 during X Games Tignes. While most contestants had to travel to British Columbia, Canada, to shoot their videos, Pettit is lucky enough to base himself in the center of the action in Whistler. His house actually might be the closest residence to the Whistler helicopter pad. We caught up with Pettit on a down day.
How do you feel about your edit?
I'm really happy about it. I look at it and I think that's a big effort. You can always do better, but I honestly think that was the best I could do. If you do that, hopefully that will be recognized.
How was your crew?
I love working with Freeride [Entertainment]. Brad McGregor is a fun to dude to hang with. He's legendary status in my book. He's been doing it for a long time. And having Shin Campos… I couldn't have asked for anything better. We usually were a crew of four because we had photographers like Bryan Ralph or Blake Jorgenson. Because we were such a tight crew, I ended up joining up with some of my snowboard friends who were out filming for Real Snow. We hit a few features together early season. It's fun to be out there with snowboarders -- we look at things differently.
Did you run into the other contestants a lot?
Everyone in the contest was in Whistler at some point. It's crazy the amount of professional talent traffic you run into in the backcountry. You think you're in the middle of nowhere and then you're seeing everyone you know. If you want to hang with buddies, just go into backcountry in Whistler.
Did you go into the season with a plan?
We did it a little freestyle. We didn't have too much of a game plan in terms of what kind of style we wanted, but quickly as soon as we started, Brad busted out the Super 8 camera, which was the turning point. That set the style. It's grainy, flickery, 60s era. We went with an old classic song with a high-energy feel.
Where did you shoot?
The interior [Kootenays] and Whistler. We did mostly sled stuff and we spent five days in the heli in Whistler.
How are things different with this format?
You have a lot more motivation. When you're filming a movie segment, you aren't given a deadline -- you're given the whole year. When it turns into a competition, it's different. Early season, you don't have a lot of good days to be shooting, so when you are given a good day, there's a lot of motivation to go out there and get down to business. I also got a couple new tricks that I haven't ever done before. I knew I had to get some big tricks to be competitive in this event. It's going to be a super tight competition. All the guys were out there killing it.
You must feel pretty lucky to live where everyone else travels.
It's nice to be stationed at home and have everything organized and not be living out of a bag. I feel super comfy here. I have my crew and we know the zones. It's like when you turn the corner and see your house after a big trip.