What We’re Watching — August, 2020


While many of us have been going back to our favorite, classic videos for entertainment this summer while many people have been limited by the pandemic, this month saw some amazing new videos from some legends of the bike and ski industry. So even though it’s just the start of the month and we’re just a bit past halfway through 2020 (yay!), we’ve already got several a few videos here in contention for “video of the year,” and then some goofiness and, of course, a few more classics. 

And for even more ways to procrastinate / stay excited about getting outside, see all of our previous video roundups.

Remy Metailler in Squamish

“I just don’t want to go too fast because if I go too fast I won’t be able to slow down” – Remy Metailler

David Golay: I’m kinda scared to imagine what “too fast” would look like here, because Remy’s flying on some very steep, technical terrain in Squamish, and, per usual for him, gapping all kinds of stuff that mere mortals wouldn’t even see as a possibility. The level of precision on display here is crazy, and his understated commentary is super entertaining as well. I’ve watched this one quite a few now and it’s still mindblowing.

Luke Koppa: Yeah, I am very, very glad to see Remy back to blowing minds on his bike. And on that note about commentary, I’d also highly recommend watching the behind-the-scenes video from this edit, because it makes it clear that there’s a whole lot more that goes into a short video like this than just riding and pressing record:

Nico Vink / Ryan Gibb — From the Ash

David: Ryan Gibb is best known in the mountain bike world for Life Cycles, the incredibly gorgeous, feature-length film he co-produced in 2010. “From The Ash” is his latest project, and though it’s only four minutes long, it’s incredibly ambitious, featuring Nico Vink appearing to ride through an active forest fire (it was, in fact, an already burnt area of private land).

As you’d expect from that duo, the cinematography is outstanding, the riding is top notch, and the result is truly unique (have you ever seen someone slap a berm of burning embers? Me neither, until now.) Trying to mountain bike while the world burns feels rather on the nose for 2020, but, much like what we’re seeing with ongoing movements for change in the real world, the video ends with a little glimmer of hope for a better tomorrow.

Life Cycles — Hayfield Segment

David: I couldn’t bring up Life Cycles and not include this one. I remember being completely in awe of this segment when I first saw it ten years ago, and it absolutely holds up today. Cam McCaul and Brandon Semenuk are stylish as ever on their dirt jump bikes, and the creativity to put these shots together of them disappearing into and reemerging from a hayfield is impressive.

Reece Potter — The Stuntman

David: On a much sillier note, we’ve got Reece Potter taking some bike park laps, gapping everything he can find, plus some bonus footage of some vintage movie stunts, and the coolest (if not the most practical) shuttle vehicle I’ve seen in a while.

Luke: It’s like the mountain-biking-edit equivalent of Andy Samberg’s “Hot Rod,” and I’m all for it.

Andrzej Bargiel’s First Ski Descent of K2

Luke: About two years ago, Andrzej Bargiel became the first person to ski down from the summit of the world’s second-highest mountain, K2, after summiting it solo, and without supplemental oxygen.

A couple weeks ago, Red Bull released a condensed video of the descent and it’s, well, as baffling as you’d expect. The one funny part is the reaction from the other people attempting the summit that day, when Andrzej comes out of the super dense fog with skis on his feet. I know I’ve complained about the “skiing in a ping pong ball” sensation of low visibility, but imagine doing that at 8000+ meters. The snow actually looks pretty good up top, but the route quickly transitions into a maze of seracs, rocks, and increasingly thin patches of snow. And you should definitely watch the whole thing, cause the Messner Traverse section in the middle is wild.

And if you’ve got more time, I’d highly recommend watching Red Bull’s full film on the project.

Joey Schusler & Yeti Cycles — The ARC

Luke: Yeti just released their first hardtail in a long time, the ARC, but the release video mostly caught my eye cause it’s (1) filmed by and features Joey Schusler and (2) he filmed it on a bunch of trails around Crested Butte that I get to ride all the time. While watching a pro rider on your local trails can often be destructive to your own ego, having them do it on a hardtail does level the playing field a bit. But mostly, I just love Joey’s riding and shooting style.

Joey Schusler & RJ Magar — RJ Ripper

Luke: That ARC video had me going back to Joey’s video catalog, and this one always stands out. Rajesh “RJ” Magar is from Kathmandu — not a typical locale for mountain bikers — but “RJ Ripper” tells his incredible story and, of course, showcases some incredible riding and scenery from Nepal.

Update 8.12.20

Kasper Woolley — Raw

David: I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of Kasper Woolley before I came across this video (I should probably follow the EWS more closely), but it’s a good one. As with most raw edits, it’s short and simple — just a minute and a half of him going super fast on his home trails, and finding lots of little features to gap off.

Luke: Yeah, Kasper is fast. The 21-year-old has also been proving he can hang with veterans in the Crankworx Summer Series this year, coming just behind Finn Iles and Jesse Melamed in yesterday’s Enduro race…

Jesse Melamed — Mt. 7 Race Run

David: First off, it’s just awesome to see top-level racers on this track again. Mt. 7 Psychosis was last raced in 2008, when Chris Kovarik set the then-record time of 12:35.14, and was featured in the spectacular segment in Seasons, with Sam Hill, Tyler Morland, and Stevie Smith during the 2007 race. It’s long, physical, and ultra-demanding (Tyler Morland’s immortal “it feels like you’re choking on glass” comment speaks to that), and after a long hiatus, came back for this year’s Crankworx Summer Series. Kovarik’s record fell a dozen times over the course of the race, finally settling on Henry Fitzgerald’s 11:19.19.

Melamed finished 5th in the Elite Men field, at 11:46.23, and put out this helmet cam video of his full run. It’s impressive watching him try to go flat out for almost 12 minutes, and a bit crazy to watch a top-level pro racer be humbled by a track like this (keep that in mind what that says about how steep the top section is, if it looks like he’s just creeping along trying to control speed — the GoPro flattening effect is very much at play here).

Josephine Anderson — On Falling

David: In this documentary short, three pro racers — Andréane Lanthier Nadeau, Miranda Miller, and Brittany Phelan — ruminate on their relationship with falling, with pushing their limits, and the risks they take as professional riders. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about of late, having spent the last year and a half recovering from a tibial plateau fracture of my own (albeit suffered on skis), and this one is well worth a watch for anybody who participates in action sports, be it mountain biking, skiing, or anything else. Fair warning though: this one does feature some crash clips that can be a bit hard to watch.

Wallner’s World

Luke: The Åre Bike Festival is back with their video competition, albeit limited to Swedes this year, but the winning video does not disappoint. Showcasing the riding of Robin Wallner, Elin Nilsson, and their son, Ted Wallner — and filmed by Robin’s brother, Niklas — this edit is equal parts funny and impressive.

The Fifty — Bjarne Salen’s Custom Van Tour

Luke: While it’s been a while since Cody Townsend and Bjarne Salen have been able to attempt any additional lines for their Fifty Project, they did just post a bonus episode where Bjarne runs us through his “adventure van.”

Personally, I’ve never been all that interested in this stuff, but I actually loved this episode. Partly because Bjarne is great, partly because he built-out the van entirely himself, apart from the electrical work, and partly because I’m super jealous.

And if you want to learn about Cody’s customized truck, he also did an episode on that, which is similarly interesting, given what these two vehicles have been getting up to over the past two seasons.

The Fifty — The Sickle, ID

While we’re talking about The Fifty, we might as well go back and watch one of my favorite episodes. Apart from his skiing and this project, Cody Townsend is also known for being Elyse Saugstad’s husband, and Elyse joined him for this episode where they climbed and skied The Sickle couloir in the Sawtooths of Idaho. This was apparently Elyse’s first full-on skimo experience, and I’m not sure she’ll be rushing back for more, since she got the full gamut of crappy conditions characterized by quotes like “I’m telling ya, the turn’s not really worth it” and “it’s called skiing, cause you have skis on.”

Tanner Hall — Forever Trailer

Luke: As of yesterday, we now know that we’re getting a documentary from Frozen Ambrosia about Tanner Hall, his past, and his journey on the Freeride World Tour — and I’m very excited about it.

Victor de Le Rue & Pierre Hourticq — Frozen Mind

Luke: We’ll close out this update with some exceptionally steep riding in Chamonix from Victor de Le Rue and Pierre Horticq. Those familiar with Victor and his riding style will know what to expect, but the filming and banter / friendship between Victor and Pierre make this more than just another super-gnar snowsports film. Plus, I think Victor is the first person I’ve ever seen throw tricks while wearing a harness with ice screws dangling off it…

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