Eat the Guts | Interview

12.04.2017 East Coast

Eat the Guts is a two-year project by HG Skis featuring Alex Hackel, Connor Gaeta, Keegan Kilbride, Jamie Amodeo, Cole Gibson, Christian Franchino, Jeremie Veilleux, and Hunter Tyrrell.  Produced by Liam McKinley, John Hayes, Charles Stemen, and the riders. Get more info on HG Skis at www.eattheguts.com.

Why make a movie? What are the pros and cons of a two-year project?

LM: What else are we going to do? It’s a good excuse to drive around with some guys you already spend entirely too much time with just to see what happens. It’s usually pretty funny. Plus Hackel really likes skiing street and I don't think he’d ever stop bothering us if we didn’t go on a bunch of trips to Quebec all the time. Can’t really think of any cons. It's sorta stupid to be limiting yourself to time constraints when it comes to making a ski video. Especially when you’re such a small operation it's hard to come up with a real complete video in just a couple months.

The personal battles when getting a shot are often unseen -- tell us about one.

AH: One of the tricks that stand out the most was the right five nosetap on the yellow pole at Lindsey Gardens [26:24]. On one of the hits early in the session my hands smacked the ground on the landing. My thumb was killing me and I remember telling people that I thought I broke my thumb. I said it so casually that everyone was just like “it’s probably just sprained.” Two hours later I got the shot right before dark. Then I drove to the hospital and found out I cracked a bone in my thumb in half and would need surgery and need to have three pins put in for a month. If you look at the ride out you can see that i am screaming.

LM: The hill bomb I did next to the river in Quebec City [5:24]. It was about -30 degrees and 6:00 in the morning. It looked like real nice snow from the road but when I got up there it was a sheet of ice. We left Jamie up on top of the other side of the hill by himself to film. I think he almost froze to death. The first time I hiked out to drop I went to low and got cliffed out. I couldn't climb back up the ice so I just dropped in and tried to ride it out. Smokey shuttled me back up to the top, I hike out to the right spot and dropped. I couldn't turn or dump speed due to the ice so I straight lined to the bottom and bailed on to my side. Also my bindings were too big for my boots so my skis flew off when I tried to bail. We got back in the van and picked up Jamie who was borderline hypothermic.

JH: When it came time to film Hackel’s grand finale I nutted myself dumb hard climbing over that fence. I turned myself into a human-shish kabob. Totally not worth it. Who made that fence so spikey? Every other shot in the video was a breeze.

CGaeta: Just getting eight people up in the morning and out of the house and praying the van turns on is our biggest daily struggle. Convincing Hackel to buy us beer can be a solid effort to.

Talk to us about the van? What does a day in the life look like?

AH: We got our van “da bro” a 1994 Chevy conversion van. because a swedish couple bought it in california with plans of going on a big road trip. Their relationship did not last and they sold it to our good friends Douglas and Sakarias for a good deal. After Douglas and Sakarias used it all spring they gave it to cole. Since then We have been using it as a team Van. It’s very much just as much of a character in the movie as any of the skiers.

LM: Lots of coffee and tobacco. Making fun of Hackel. Trying to decide on a spot to go to but ending up just going to Tim Hortons or Dunks. Hopefully it's Dunks which means were most likely near Boston which means we can just cut our losses and head back to Hackel’s parents’ place and play 2k in the basement while Mr. Hackel cooks us up some real gourmet shit.

Why film in standard definition?

CS: I could give some bullshit about how it matches the “raw” style of street skiing or something, but frankly it’s just that HG is not looking to produce glamorized skiing films. Eat the Guts is our past two winters and nothing more. There is no camera crew running the show. Often, many angles in the video are rider filmed. Everything revolves around the skiing and having a good time on the road. To us, this means using camera equipment that matches our style of shooting (not to mention our budget), and these cameras have exceptional fisheyes, zoom, and audio. We love the way it looks and sounds. Shooting in SD provides challenges in many ways, but also relieves us of having to worry about if the glidecam angle was perfectly smooth. We’re ok with a little bit of camera shake. We want our skiing to be aspirational and fun, but not on a pedestal. Plus, nobody wants to see Gibsons ugly mug in 4k anyways.

LM: Cheap, small file sizes, enables me to jump off stuff and make violent hand gestures while holding the camera. Also the DVX has a strange ability to fix itself when it breaks down.

Talk to us about the editing process. How did you decide which segment went where?

JH: It is all about whichever athlete dished out the most cash.

CGib: Some segments take just three cuts while others can go through thousands of cuts with multiple song changes before it is finished. Just gotta have that right balance and contrast.

CGaeta: Vey and Hackel were new to the squad and put in the work. So it was nice putting them on blast with the opener and ender. Like Gibson said everything else falls into place with a balance of style, song, and feel.  

Why buy HG Skis? Where and how are your skis produced?

CGib: We’re proud to be a rider-owned company, who support local skiers and give back as much as we can into the industry. Our skis are handmade in North Eastern Quebec and we design all our graphics in-house or find other local artists to work with.

The Jackal: Often times you have playfulness with skis that break or solid skis that aren’t playful. HG Skis are both playful and durable, a combination I am yet to find anywhere else.

HG Skis does not market like traditional brands. How is that energy spent elsewhere?

The Jackal: HG Skis relies solely on word of mouth, reputation based marketing efforts. We do not traditionally market our skis in the verticals other brands would. Rather, we allow other people within the industry to identify our brand through quality and through brand representation within our riders, movie, and general presence.

AH: It’s really important for companies to be giving back to the community. This can be done by creating innovating technology that helps push what is possible. It can also be in the form of a movie or video project. It is important to do your research and support which brands are supporting what you like to see in skiing.

If you could change one thing about the ski community, what would it be?

AH: I think that the ski community is hesitant to embrace diversity and change. When I go on Newschoolers i just see a lot of judgement. As a small community, we should spend more time  working together to grow the pie instead of arguing over how to split it. A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say.

What’s next?

Off Piste the Movie and a full length Jerm Vey snow skate video. We’ve been talking about doing a decade project too. 10 years? Why not?!