Strange but true: Globetrotting ski vagabond and devout film skier Will Wesson now has some X Games hardware.
A screenshot from the, em, low-key Real Ski awards ceremony televised in the United States last weekend.
After Sammy Carlson won the X Games Real Ski Backcountry contest three years running, it was clear that it was time to mix things up a bit. This year X Games Real Ski took to the streets, with six top riders competing for the first-ever X Games medal to be awarded to skiers for an urban-based video segment.
One watch through these videos is all you’ll need to know that this contest produced what’s arguably the best consolidated 540 seconds of urban skiing ever documented at one period of time—and also one of the most difficult contests to judge.
“When they first told me they were doing the contest, I immediately thought of how impossible it would be to judge,” said Will Wesson. “After watching [the edits] for the first two times, I was even happier I wasn’t a judge.”
“Every video had at least [one] shot that’s like, one of the best shots that’s even been filmed,” said judge Freedle Coty.
Last weekend, Will Wesson and his filmer Johnny Durst were crowned the victors of the 2016 Real Ski with their supremely out-of-the-box segment. Will and Johnny’s entry stood out creatively amid the heavy-hitting field as Will slid bricks, chains and steps to showcase his unique vision of urban skiing, complete with his signature underslide and a few crazy tree gaps for the closing “bang” factor.
It was a hard-fought win—JF Houle came in a narrow second with his own polished edit featuring Houle-sized rails and wallrides as well as the single gnarliest trick of the contest, a nose-butter disaster 630 on. Clayton Vila took the bronze with his own signature blend of massive features, clean style and the biggest backflip in the joint, while Tom Wallisch took home the fan-favorite online vote.
The judging panel for this contest was in an unenviable position—with so many great skiers, each bringing his own style to the table, awarding medals was a difficult call that could have gone in a few different directions.
“Each video stood out in its own way, and I had absolutely no idea who would win even after they announced bronze and silver,” said Will. “I guess that means all the skiers did a good job.”
What’s next for Will Wesson, X Games gold medalist—the Olympics?
“Definitely not,” Will said. “What’s next isn’t much different than before December. Time to organize some Traveling Circus trips, and figure out how to continue skiing for as long as possible.”
In other words, life as usual for this world-traveling ski vagabond—who’s now got one more feather to add to his cap. Will he hang the gold medal in the Traveling Circus van?
“No,” said Will. “It’s in my storage unit. Along with everything else that doesn’t fit in my suitcase and ski bag.”
Case in point.
I love Hot Pockets! More product placement needed! Put Luke Van Valin in a Hot Pocket body suit! Giant inflatable Hot Pocket for Clayton to backflip over!
Awards ceremony: Apparently held in an abandoned theater? An odd note to end an otherwise highly impressive competition. Watch for yourself. My mind is definitely a bit blown, and that’s got me kind of hungry.