There’s $100,000 on the line over at Teton Gravity Research. On Monday, a public voting period started for anybody who submitted a five-minute edit to their Co-Lab contest. Voting is open to the public and closes July 15. Then, from July 22 to August 9, clips that finished in the top 21 from the public-voting period will be voted on by the 21 athletes in those edits. On September 20, results from those 21 votes will award somebody with the biggest bank deposit of their lives.
Unless you’re unemployed or a vampire, you probably won’t have time to watch all 40-something edits. We didn’t, either, but here’s what we liked.
Drew Tabke, Freelance Writer and 2013 Freeride World Tour Champion
Pick: Max The Hammer
So there are around 43 edits in total, but maybe I counted wrong what with ads for Sage’s signature hat, TGR’s iTunes store, and a women’s fishing derby in B.C. that are all displayed in the same space as the edits. Either way, with that many five-minute edits, there are approximately 200-plus minutes of Co-Laboration to get through before making my decision. And with $100,000 on the line, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. Time to get to work.
Dale Talkington currently leads the voting with a filthy edit, camo hat, and sunglasses. There's like six camera angles on every wall ride. But I’m no jibber. Next!
Sage, AC, and Hennie get an A plus on their art project, but I can’t vote for that dude. What, is he gonna spend the winnings to finally fulfill his dream of heli skiing in Alaska?
Ten year-old Sofia Tchernetski nearly had my vote with her talent and gap-toothed smile. But I fear the corruptive power of that kind of cash in the hands of a fifth grader. Ever read Lord of the Flies?
Max Hammer. Hmm, killer name, bro. Top-to-bottom skiing at Jackson Hole on a marginal day? Dig it. Psychedelic, emotive, non-linear-yet-intriguing footage, art and editing? Yup. Speed, amplitude, style, and fluidity from the top of Rendezvous to the gatdamn parking lot? Hell yeah. Hammer, you’ve got my vote. Even though you’ll probably never win cause this is one of those “vote every day for the next six weeks” deals, and I don’t know if you rednecks in Wyoming even have broadband yet. Hell, I heard TGR might relocate to Ogden for that very reason. Someone call that kid’s landline and tell him voting went live.
Matt Hansen, POWDER Editor-at-Large
The Pick: Max The Hammer
You start off with Sage because it's eye candy and you know it won't waste your time. Not just due to Sage's skiing, but because of the cinematography by Adam Clark and editing of Hennie van Jaarsveld. Their professionalism shows. It's almost too good.
Then you go to Dale Talkington, who worked with 4bi9 and currently sits atop the leader board with the most votes. Dale's gap hits in the Utah backcountry are reminiscent of Teddybear Crisis, one of the best ski movies of all time. But aside from a 3 to a gap-tranny to a 7 (which you rewatched several times trying to figure out what the hell you were seeing), these lack the freshness of TBC. That's not a knock against Dale and Company. Rather, a testament to how truly awesome Kris Ostness's film was. Then they go to Salt Lake City. Dale makes the suburbs look grittier than they actually are: cement, graffiti, brown and gray, everyone so serious. The skiing is ridiculous, so is the editing. If you tried that you'd break your neck. And because you're a powder skier at heart, it makes you want to flee to the mountains.
Sam Cohen's edit helps, especially his closing shot of deep Utah blower. Thank you, Sam, for not using slow-mo there. Colter Hinchcliffe makes you want to go ski with cute girls in shorts at Aspen, or go skinning in the La Sal Mountains outside of Moab. Elyse Saugstad, in black and white, stomps everything in sight. Maybe she'll give you skiing lessons sometime?
Then you get to Max Hammer. And somehow you feel like you've seen this before. The waffles at Corbet's Cabin to start the day in Jackson, then the race to the bottom… Max hucks Corbet's Couloir and pretty much straightlines the rest. From Expert Chutes to Gros Ventre to crappy snow in Dick's Ditch to the long run out at the base of the tram. Max hits every jump along the way, spinning 3s and landing switch on morning corduroy.
Finally, it hits you. This is what your ski dreams look like, including the tall PBR with friends at Village Cafe. Yeah, that's in there too.
Ryan Dunfee, POWDER Correspondent
The Pick: Nick McNutt
Before I get down to my actual pick, I have to give shout-outs to a couple other entries to assuage my feelings of guilt for not picking them. Dale can manage to hold his composure together on the most impossibly off-camber feature and every single flat landing. The nosebutter 3 on the tunnel wallride and the enormous 360 out of the later wallride, to flat, were both ludicrous. Max Hammer, for putting together the best creative approach and one that demanded inhuman quads and a ton of balls. And Elyse for that goddam-girl-where'd-you-learn-to-huck-like-that?!? edit that caught me way off guard.
But Nick McNutt is my boy, and lived up to the hype that his earlier P.O.V. edit generated. He's got quite a bit of fellow Whistlerite Charley Ager in his skiing, in that he goes fast, he goes huge, and he manages to land sketchy tricks to switch in powder in situations that are downright terrifying. But he's got more flow in his skiing than Ager, and seems to stream down pillow lines without actually having to do anything. But I just get this damn "go for it!" feel out of watching his skiing that I rarely get. Whether it's the nosebutter cork 9 off that huge backcountry step-down or that final ginormous late 180, it's hard not to notice how committed Nick is to whatever he's attempting. He might miss a grab or two, but he makes you cheer when he lands.
Kade Krichko, Former POWDER Intern
The Pick: Nick McNutt
In the sweet democracy that is TGR's The Co-Lab, my vote goes to Whistler's Nick McNutt. Though Dale Talkington and Colter Hinchcliffe put down emphatic edits, it was McNutt's ode to backcountry creativity that left me wondering how many pseudonyms I could think up before TGR would ban me from voting. Combining technical pillow lines with floaty spins and switch landings, McNutt's edit pays homage to godfathers of smooth—Pep and Pollard—while further integrating the latest park styles into the big mountain.
Somewhere, the Nimbus crew nods their heads in collective approval watching McNutt casually zero spin a 25-footer and land switch off massive backcountry booters. But then the Whistler native unleashes a new beast, skiing pillow lines backwards and throwing a 540 nose butter midway down his big mountain line. Add to that an array of impressive pillow shredding, and I actually came away from the video ashamed that I didn't know more about Mr. McNutt.
What this edit lacks in double corks it makes up for in creative expressiveness, bringing the good old days (you know, the early 2000s) into the present day by using the natural ebbs and flows of the mountain. McNutt filmed with Sweetgrass and Poor Boyz this past year, and it won't be long until we all know the name. The new guy is a solid addition to the Co-Lab field, and in my book should be a $100,000 richer in the next few weeks.
John Clary Davies, POWDER Associate Editor
Pick: Max The Hammer
Things I learned from the Co-Lab entries: Sage is an artist; Elyse is as strong of a skier as anybody in the field; Jake Cohn seems creative; Dale Talkington builds fun jumps; There's a new pre-teen on the block in Sofia Tchernetski; Ras Jacob would probably buy a shitload of reggae concert tickets and weed with $100k; Nick's last name is McNutt and his hair is beautiful; Colter has style, and girls; And a guy named Adrian Wajsbrem loves to sit on his tails and shred bumps with no poles on knock-off Icelantic Shamans.
My strategy: 1. I like creativity—season edits are fun and all, but not that interesting. 2. There's $100k on the line! If you did it right, you could do some good things with that kind of change.
That's why I'm picking Max The Hammer. His edit is accessible (we lapped a similar line all Powder Week, and his footage probably cost him a six-pack), creative, and includes waffles and beer. It's progressive because it regresses to resort skiing. Also, that guy Hammer seems like a real dirtbag. I bet he could retire with $100k.