Quebecois style icon Phil Casabon has taken the win in the 2018 X Games Real Ski contest, ahead of Antti Ollila (silver) and Keegan Kilbride (bronze).
Since 2013, X Games Real Ski (variously known as Real Snow or Real Ski Backcountry over the years) has brought us action-packed short edits from some of the biggest names in the film scene, with the laudable goal of awarding X Games medals for non-contest skiing.
After Sammy Carlson won the gold three times running from 2013 to 2015, organizers decided to give someone else a chance to win, and flipped the contest to an urban-skiing focus in 2016. The result has been banger edits from an always refreshing mix of contestants, and big wins for skiers like Will Wesson and Magnus Granér—guys you definitely wouldn’t think of as “X Games Gold Medalists,” but after all, that’s sort of the point.
In this year’s contest, Casabon came in hot with a hard-hitting edit that pretty much nailed his flavor of street skiing: the smoothest of style on innovative, unconventional tricks and features, making the incredibly difficult look easy while showcasing a unique vision that’s about more than just counting spins on and off of features.
In a testament to how much judges and the public alike enjoyed Casabon’s submission, he won both the official judges’ vote as well as the “fan favorite” crowd vote—a first in Real Ski.
It’s a win-win scenario for everyone involved: well-earned recognition for one of the most influential skiers in the game; a notch in the cap for the Real Ski contest, showing again that it’s capable of bringing some of the very best action to the table; and of course, a pleasure for all of us at home who get to watch and re-watch these hot-fire edits.
Finnish operator Antti Ollila picked up the silver medal with a no-nonsense edit from the dark, snowly northlands, going heavy on rails, wallrides, redirects and combinations thereof in a standout performance that was topped only by Casabon. The bronze went to the slimy-smooth styles of Keegan Kilbride, who stepped up to some absolutely massive drops, but whose edit might or might not have been filmed with a potato.
Rounding out the 2018 Real Ski offers: LJ Strenio took on the challenge of filming a JP Auclair-style edit linking up multiple features on long runs through snow-covered parks and neighborhoods—a very difficult task that’s highly entertaining to watch, but lacks the punchy power of one-trick shots.
Last year’s surprise winner Magnus Granér was looking to bring more of his wacky, unpredictable vision to Real Ski, but took a hard slam during filming that cut his edit short. The same went for OG Michigan style legend Mike Hornbeck, whose go at putting on a street skiing style clinic was also hampered by injury.