On October 15, ski brand Amplid and GoPro announced the Amplid Ambush Academy, a social media-powered program designed to change athlete sponsorship. In early November, the Academy will select 20 skiers and 20 riders to compete in five monthly challenges by skiing, filming, editing, and posting their video responses to the web. Based off of these responses and the number of viewers, Amplid will name two winners, a skier and boarder, to their pro team.
"With social media, you can control yourself as an athlete," says Amplid co-founder Peter Bauer. "It's the star-check for getting into the hall of fame. Look at a case like Tom Wallisch. He made himself famous through channels he could administer… and at some point other media picked up on it."
The challenges, posted by members of Amplid's International Cartel Team, range from park sessions to backcountry booters, and allow skiers to get creative—showing their skills on both sides of the camera, and promoting themselves through YouTube, Facebook, and other social channels. GoPro will provide Hero 2 cameras to each of the program's participants.
Bauer says that while talent and style are still important components in professional skiing, editing talent and self-distribution are becoming part of being an athlete.
In the end, Bauer hopes skiers and riders seize the opportunity, but also teach the Amplid team a thing or two along the way. "By getting content out there, you can be the writer of your own plot," says Bauer. "We can learn from [these] kids who grew up with the Internet."