Name: Joe Schuster
Hometown: Vernon, British Columbia, Canada
Home Resort: Whistler
How is it going Joe? What are you up to right now?
I am out in Whistler, BC, currently sitting by the river, drinking a cup of coffee on a day off. It is sunny and feels like it is June. A bit of a warm spell is coming through British Columbia right now.
What happened to X Games Real Ski?
I am not too sure. They didn’t inform me on why it stopped. As far as I know, they wanted to switch it up and showcase the urban side of skiing. I am not sure if they are going to bring back the backcountry side of X Games. I hope they bring back X Games Real Ski because I would love to do it again, as it is always a super fun event to be a part of.
What is Seeking Nirvana? How did it start?
Seeking Nirvana is our new TV show created and produced by myself, Riley Leboe, Mike Henitiuk and Matt Margetts. We partnered up with Edge TV to create a four part series. We have been putting it out online all winter. It will be on the Edge TV channel on XBox and Playstation this Fall.
The idea stemmed from us as a group, trying to start the Kids project a couple years ago. A lot of Whistler, Vernon, and Alberta skiers who grew up riding together wanted to start a project. We wanted to produce content whether it was online, in a movie, or a television show for a long time. Unfortunately the Kids idea did not work out. Henitiuk and I had been talking about the idea of starting something new since last Spring. We also had been shooting with Riley for years, so it was easy to add him to the crew. Matt was also an easy addition because he was fully done with the contest scene and wanted to start skiing pow. Being such close friends, it was easy for everyone to come together and made it happen.
What is the best part about shooting your own web episode?
I would say the best part is how involved we can be with each episode. In years past while filming for PoorBoys, Super Proof, or other film companies, at the end of the day the creator and producer of those movies decides the vibe, the music, and the feel. You ski all winter long and do your best, but in the end you do not have creative control. The best part about Seeking Nirvana is that we have full creative control, make everything look and feel exactly how we want it to.
What is the hardest part about shooting a web episode?
The hardest part is the timing. We knew what we were capable of producing a web episode series. It has been really hard to produce that much content in that short of a time frame. So far, every trailer and every episode we have put out has been finished and sent over pretty much the night before the videos have to go live online. We are used to producing a segment over the whole year, but now we have to produce basically a segment each month. It is a ton of content and getting that much footage out and released is a lot of work. It is a good thing though, as the pressure and deadlines keep us motivated to be on it every day and work hard and get as much content as we can this winter.
Who is filming and editing Seeking Nirvana?
Taylor Loughran from Squamish is our filmer. He was originally a bike filmer who spent some time shooting snowboarding. It is his first time shooting a ski crew. It has been working really well. He is great to work and travel with.
Leigh Powis has been one of my good friends and has been skiing with us for several years. He took on the editing role at Super Proof the last few years. We are stoked on everything he has put together. It was a dream to put together this with him because he is such an incredible editor. He is able to take the footage we have and take it to the next level with his editing skills.
It has been the most rewarding thing to take the risk and do something creative and different that no one in the ski industry has seen before. Sometimes, taking a risk like that can go well, and sometimes it doesn’t. To see us triple or quadruple our goals is the most rewarding aspect. It makes us super proud of what we are doing.
What was your favorite trip of this year?
We went to the interior of British Columbia about a month ago. Riley Leboe’s cousin lent us a canvas wall tent, normally used for hunting. We drove into the bush just outside of Vernon where Riley and I grew up, and we set up the tent with a wood stove and lived in the bush for a week. We had a little bbq, firepit, and sleds. No cell service and no one else was around. It snowed the whole time we were there. The conditions were amazing, no one to deal with, and we were completely remote in the backcountry.
How is the new #SchusterPro ?
To get my own ski was a dream come true. I didn’t know if it would ever happen to me. Being able to work with Dan Chalfant, who, along with Jim Satloff, is one of founders of Liberty Skis, was amazing. The experience of working intensively with Dan, who is also the ski designer of Liberty, to produce something that skied exactly how i wanted it to, was awesome. It is a playful ski that it great for jumping, pillows, and anything I am doing in the backcountry. To work with Dan and see the ski come to life was incredible. It was also amazing to work with our graphic designers and create a graphic that I am stoked on. It was sick to work with Liberty and come up with graphics that get me hyped every time I look down at my feet. It is a dream come true to have my own pro model ski and it’s an opportunity that I am so fortunate to have.
What are your plans for the spring / summer?
For Spring, we are going to be around Whistler through April. We are premiering the third episode at the end of the Whistler Festival . We are doing a live premiere in Whistler on April 16th and will donate all the profits to charity. Then we will stick around until the powder season is finished. We’re trying to get as much footage as we can for episode four, which will be dropping in the Fall.
After that, I will head to Mt. Hood for another trip with the Liberty Team to build spring booters with the whole team. It’s so nice to head down to Oregon and enjoy the last little bit of Spring. Once Hood is over I will come back to BC and have two weddings to attend. My brother and Riley Leboe are both getting married (but not to each other).
Then I will be heading up to Whistler for the glacier season. I will be coaching and hanging out all summer at COC. After the glacier, who knows what I’ll be up to? Hopefully, I will get to spend some time relaxing and skateboarding.
What can we expect from Sleepy Schuster next season?
I would hope we as a group can make another series happen. Whether it is titled “Seeking Nirvana,” I am not sure. As long as we can get the budget together, we are going to do something. It would feel weird going back to a film crew after we have had so much creative control. We might call it something else but we are hoping to keep creating content.
Who would you like to thank?