; the upper regions of air beyond the clouds
The Ski Channel is releasing a movie this fall titled The Story featuring a couple Nimbus people: Benchetler/ Valverde and Pollard.
Recently they did a small little write up on the DVDs we just released for free, check it:
Powder to the masses: Nimbus Independent releases entire DVD collection for free
Nimbus Independent, one of the most innovative ski movie producers in the game, recently dropped their latest webisode entitled “En Route: Nomads” to critical acclaim. Besides just turning heads for the film’s jaw-dropping ski footage, Nimbus also made news with “Nomads” associated price tag – free-ninety-nine.
After releasing DVDs for purchase the last three years and experimenting with $5 webisodes, Nimbus has ultimately decided to make their content available to the public for free. Co-founder Eric Pollard said the Nimbus crew wants their work to be seen by as many people as possible with the goal to change people’s perceptions of skiing.
However, most people didn’t expect the new pricing changes to be retroactive to past Nimbus releases, but that’s exactly what the company has done as they have published their entire volume of DVDs onto their Vimeo page.
While Nimbus won’t release another full-length DVD this fall, riders Eric and Erin Pollard and Chris Benchetler will be starring in the Ski Channel film “The Story,” so rest assured you’ll still get your Nimbus fix.
Idea from NIMBUS INDEPENDENT on Vimeo.
Idea is a movie directed by Eric Iberg and Eric Pollard. Idea explores the skiing and personalities of Pep Fujas, Andy Mahre and Eric Pollard.
“Idea was the first project that we all stepped back from filming for big productions and did our own thing.” -Eric Pollard
Nimbus was practically born out of this project. It was the first movie that Eric, Pep, and Andy worked together on and they have been working together with Nimbus ever since.
HUNTING YETI from NIMBUS INDEPENDENT on Vimeo.
Hunting Yeti takes a different approach to ski films by editing ski footage over the opinions of everyday skiers and the Nimbus crew.
Contrast from NIMBUS INDEPENDENT on Vimeo.
Contrast is the 2009 DVD release from Nimbus Independent. Contrast shows four different skiers that have a very different style of skiing from the rest of the world.
Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Alex O’Brien, Erin Valverde Pollard, Justin Wiegand & Ike Smith
Hey Eric, how’s it going?
Very well, thank-you.
How was your summer?
It was good. It wasn’t the most normal summer for me but it was good. Got some Nimbus stuff done and did a lot of design work, but not a ton of skiing. I kind of injured my knee in late April so I’ve been taking some time off to keep it strong. Pretty much editing and the gym has been my life.
You’re dropping your second webisode of the year right now with En Route Nomads as the follow-up to En Route Departure. Tell us about it.
It’s actually our favorite webisode yet. I spoke with Pep and Benchetler, who both have super strong parts, and they said it was their favorite edit that we’ve done so far. So we’re super excited to see how people react to it. It’s basically the normal format of what we do, where we travel for two months and document what happens along the way, and it was definitely a fun-filled couple of months.
How will Nomads differ from Departure?
Departure started out with some early season shredding at Mammoth and then we took off to ride that military base, which was all of kind sled-based, and then the last part of it was really travel-oriented. Us traveling to Italy and not really knowing where we were going, because we really wanted it to be more travel driven like last year’s En Route’s were. But Nomads is more about us traveling to each other’s backyards out of our cars for two months of the year, which for the last six or seven years of our lives has kind of been our existence. So we really wanted to do something that was based off of that idea and so forth. So it’s different in the sense that it’s centered more around what we’re use to doing in our normal activities as skiers, as opposed to going out on a limb and traveling somewhere far off.
Since you guys came together to make Idea you’ve been a fairly tightly knit crew consisting of Pep Fujas, Andy Mahre, Chris Benchetler and yourself, but I know this year you added a few new riders. Who can we expect to see in the mix in Nomads?
We hooked with Sean Logan just for a minute, which was really cool, because he’s an amazing skier with a super good head on his shoulders. Anthony Boronowski and Blake Nyman also put on quite a good show, and Andy Mahre is back in the mix after doing his thing with Warren Miller for a while. And of course there’s our regular crew of myself, Benchetler and Pep.
You’re in your third year of operation now, and you were the first company to make full-length webisodes, which to a lot of people seemed like a bit of a gamble at the time but has since paved the way for so many others. Over the past few years, has it been easier to stick to that trend or become more challenging?
No it’s been good for us. When we first started doing webisodes there wasn’t really anything to base it off of, except for some influences from other sports, like surfing. There’s a series called Drive Thru that we were all big fans of, so when we started Nimbus we decided to try doing something similar to that. And over the years we’ve toyed around with different formats, so it’s definitely been a learning process for us in terms of seeing how the audience reacts to each webisode and which parts they like. But it can be difficult when you only film for a short period of time and you do something travel-based where you think, ‘oh we’re going to score for sure,’ but you know you’re going to have base x amount of the webisode off of that trip, because it’s taking up half of your filming time. But we’ve been really lucky over the years, because we’ve pretty much scored wherever we’ve went at some point. Even if we just got two days of sun, we always seem to make it work, and have a ton of fun doing it.
Eric Pollard & Pep Fujas
Speaking of formats, this year you switched up your formula in a pretty significant way by filming for two months per webisode as opposed to two weeks, and are therefore releasing less webisodes than when you first came out of the gate with the Hunting Yeti series. What prompted that change?
I think what really prompted it was that when we finished Hunting Yeti we wanted to revive our general approach to doing webisodes. We’ve gone from making five webisodes to three, which was a ton of work. I would edit five full-length webisodes and then one movie, so it was like six projects. So I was pretty exhausted. So I think first off we wanted to make my workload a little bit easier to handle, while at the same time improving the webisodes so they were a little bit more consumable for everybody to watch. Because when we did En Route last year, there were trips where we got a lot of footage, like when went to Japan, and it was hard to fit everything we wanted into one little thing, or not enough, like when went to Austria, where the weather was bad and it became a struggle for us to put something together. So I think the change to us filming for two months versus two weeks came from us feeling like we were spreading ourselves too thin. There were moments last year when we were feeling like it was difficult to generate the footage we wanted in order to put out the webisode we wanted, and the goal of Nimbus has always been for the riders involved to have a way to build their story and document skiing the way they see it.
On the heels of that, in addition to En Route, you guys have also released a series of shorter webisodes throughout the past year called Point and Shoot. For anyone who hasn’t already checked them out, give us the scoop and the concept behind those.
It started with a brainstorming session with Pep and Benchetler and the whole crew. Andy, Pep, Chris, Blake and Anthony all have pretty solid filming and editing skills, so we decided to make a series that was rider-filmed, rider-edited and rider-perspective based where each individual who’s involved with Nimbus could film whatever they wanted to film, and put together edits that showcase their perspective on the filming process and how they see things. We also wanted to involve people like Garrett Russell and others, who we don’t really have the chance to film with that much, because the crews can get so large sometimes and we’re always traveling so it can be tough to cross paths. So the goal was basically to have more edits throughout the winter, and it was a lot of fun. You can definitely see everyone’s individual style in each, so it’s been a great way for each rider to get more involved in the project.
You’ve also released separate full-length DVD’s for the last two years with Hunting Yeti and Contrast, but I know this year you won’t be doing that. What was the reasoning behind that?
We killed the DVD’s because we just didn’t feel like we were able to continue using footage we’d already edited or save footage that we wanted or needed to use for the webisodes for a final movie. In addition to wanting to voice our own opinion, the reason Nimbus exists is because we want to create something different in the ski industry. When we started we felt there was a bit of a void in that area, but over the years everyone in the ski film world has matured, which has been great to see. Level 1 has matured, Poor Boyz has matured, and we’ve always loved their and everyone else’s movies every year, but we want to be different. And for us to do that we want to continue to tell the story of how we’re documenting the footage and where we’re at with things. I think a lot of ski movies are based on the principle of trying to wow the crowd, where we’re trying more to relate to the audience as opposed to just impressing them.
I know that you were charging a small fee for Departure when it first came out, but Nomads is available for free right?
Yeah that’s correct. It’s a bit difficult, because when we decided not to do a DVD anymore our budget dropped significantly, so we had to figure out some sort of way to cover the production costs. We’re always looking for a way for to pay for our filmers to travel with us and film us, because that’s the bulk of the cost of our production. So the idea behind paying for the downloads was so that we could try to recuperate some of those costs. We did it for Departure, but after we tried it out we decided that we probably shouldn’t do that anymore, and instead just give away the stream for free. We’re actually still going to offer the HD download for a fee eventually, but we’re still in the process of setting that up.
Following Nomads, when can we expect to see the third webisode of this year’s En Route series?
It’s going to come out on December 12th right as winter begins, and it’s going to be called En Route Plan B. It’s a lot of Sammy, because he absolutely killed it for that webisode. Bene Mayr is in it as well, along with Blake Nyman, Andy Mahre, and I’ll only have a little part because I was injured. It documents the last few months of the season during the late spring, and I think it’s going to be really good.
And it will be the last one of the year correct?
That’s right, and then the following one will come out next March.
In addition to everything else you constantly seem to have on the go with skiing, filming and editing for Nimbus and your design work for Line and your other sponsors, you guys also just a launched a new and much more simplified website for Nimbus. What can everyone find on there?
It’s basically just based around the two series of webisodes. We’ll have a lot more Point and Shoots coming out, and everything we’ve done you can easily find on there, so it’s just a cool way to check out everything we’re doing. See for yourself at nimbusindependent.com.
And now for the million dollar question. What are Nimbus’ plans moving forward into next season and beyond?
We’re always trying to evolve, so we’re probably going to try out some new formats, so expect some changes, and a lot more webisodes. Our motivation to ski different kinds of terrain is definitely changing, so I think that’s one thing that going’s to be drastically changing in the future, along with the kinds of movies we’re making. It will be the biggest change for Nimbus to come.
Any last things you want to say about Nomads?
I just hope everybody enjoys it. Pep, Blake, Anthony, Sean, Chris, Andy and our entire crew all put in a ton of work for this, which I’m really happy about, and I’m so stoked for everyone to watch it. Because we do it for you guys.
“So happy to get a review like this from http://brobomb.com ” -Pollard
In Contrast to “Contrast”
Written by chrasual on September 14th, 2010
It’s no secret that the BroBomb collective was less than blown away by Nimbus Independent’s 2009 project Contrast—a difficult admission as the Nimbus crew’s attitudes towards skiing and ski culture are so in step with our own. Where Contrast was overly-long and mired in philosophical meanderings of the “skiing as life” variety, En Route Nomads is a lesson in filmmaking brevity and, fortunately for us, the shots themselves do all the necessary talking.
We’re not taking credit for the stylistic Departure (see what I did there?), but it’s nice to think that maybe Pollard and Co. had a similar sentiment when they sat back and watched last year’s flick.
Nomads is the second of three webisodes to be released by the collective this year. Much to this guy’s surprise, conspicuously absent from Nomads was the $5 price tag that accompanied the release of the first, Departure (You now see what I did there). Where the more cynical of us might have expected a drop in quality to match the drop in price, Nomads actually surpasses its predecessor…and arguably everything else bearing the Nimbus logo this side of Idea.
So where exactly did Nomads go so right? Well, everywhere. The filming is more dynamic, the editing is sharper, the skiing is better, and the soundtrack is probably the best of any ski film that isn’t the brainchild of Kris Ostness.
So much of the BroBombian ire leveled at Contrast was a result of the excessive vocal reflection throughout; it came across as overly self-conscious and referential. Here, what little talking there is, simply guides us through the crew’s travels and gives us a candid look at the relationships that the riders have forged in their never ending quest to GTS. Bentchetler’s appraisal of Tony B’s steadily receding hairline serves as a prime example of the type of dialog that made the cut.
Keeping in tune with the dialog, the skiing on display also seems to have been boiled down to just the creme. Some will undoubtedly miss the usual abundance of glade and pow turns that have become a Nimbusian hallmark, but what’s left are raw and uncut bangers served up by the core crew and some new faces (Sean Logan of Montage Inc. fame shows up just long enough to drop a couple of hammers). Relative Nimbus newcomers Blake Nyman and Anthony Boronowski waste little time in showing why they were recruited as full-time members of the squad. Before “Under Pressure” fades away at the end of the intro, we’ve already been treated to more BC dubs than probably every other piece of Nimbus media put together. The quality of shots never wanes. Have no fear ye faithful, it’s not all techy-spinny-flippy madness of course, style is still the name of the game. Credit everyone (particularly Pep and Chris) for taking their style to bigger tricks.
The editing is taut, minimalist, and clever. As Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” gives way to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” (which samples the aforementioned “Wild Side”…a careful, thoughtful touch in this guy’s opinion), Chris Bentchetler sends a HUGE cork 9 just as Q-Tip’s verse starts. A ridiculous zero spin and a couple of dub rodeo 9’s later, Bentchetler’s mini seg gives way to Pollard’s…just as Phife Dawg takes over for Tip for verse 2. I promise you this was no happy-accident on Mr. Pollard’s part, and it works. Gloriously so.
In between segments, stop motion footage of a 1950‘s(ish) toy car and trailer make their way across a map of North America tracing the gang’s trek from CA to BC and beyond. It’s a charming little touch, and it’s indicative of the care and thought put into the project as a whole. Nomads isn’t perfect, but it’s noticeably closer to perfection than the majority of other ski flicks this ski bum has sat through.
As good as the film is, it’s also notable in that it (and the other En Route entries) marks the first time in Nimbus’s history that their season long project will be released exclusively digitally. Perhaps sensing the change ‘a comin’, Pollard has opted not to produce a DVD hardcopy.
If I was forced to point to something that could have ended up on the cutting room floor, the paintball scene went on a tad too long, even if it did feature some nifty go-pro footage. I guess it “fit” but I’d personally skip it on repeat viewings.
This review is already overly long…suffice it to say that this 32 minute free MOVIE (webisode or not, make no mistake…this is a standalone film that measures up to any $30 pro DVD that came out last year) is well worth at least one viewing— even if you’re not much of a Nimbus fan. If you are, well…prepare to be amazed.
Orignally found on ESPN.com
Chris Benchetler often sits on chairlifts (or more lately, his surfboard waiting for the next set) and muses about who in the world has the coolest life. Compared to his pro bretheren and photographer Adam Clark, the Mammoth native’s “cool” beckett value rates in the top two percent adjusted to the current pro scene. (Read: Not including “cool” outliers like Glen Plake, Micah Black, or Mickael Deschenaux, all of whom significantly shift the beckett curve.) Notwithstanding, you might as well crown Benchetler the coolest skier in the world this Indian summer, as he recently got engaged to his long-time girlfriend, pro snowboarder Kimmy Fasani, traveled to Chile to ski on his new 192-centimeter pro model (the Atomic Bent Chetler), and rode 100 miles on his Giant road bike this past weekend to raise money for a local Mammoth charity. Lastly, he claims to have the best segment in Nimbus Independent’s latest En Route webisode, which dropped last night on nimbusindependent.com. So in the spirit of September, Benchetler introduced his “most favorite Nimbus webisode ever” with an oh-so-cool roundup of his latest efforts to augment the aforementioned beckett rating.
You and the Nimbus crew — Eric Pollard, Pep Fujas, Andy Mahre, Blake Nyman, Dylan Hood, Anthony Boronowski et al — just released the second webisode of the En Route series. Let’s talk about that.
This is my favorite webisode of them all. It’s the best skiing performance by the crew. We scored good conditions, which always helps. And we actually split crews up, which worked surprisingly well. Pep and Blake went to Utah. I went up to Canada to meet up with Anthony and John Jackson [2010 Rider of the Year for Transworld Snowboarding magazine]. So I ended up hanging out with a bunch of snowboarders, which is fun for me since I grew up around so many here in Mammoth.
What makes this webisode so much better than the other ones?
I think Eric is getting better with telling the story without words. The editing keeps getting better. And we are obviously learning the more we keep producing these things in regards to what works and what doesn’t. And this webisode is more jump-oriented than anything, even though we want to focus on the whole mountain a lot more.
So is there one segment or shot in there that will leave an indelible mark in the exhaustive history of ski movie webisodes?
Yes, the Canada the segment is large and in charge. We hit a lot of big jumps and I think it’s one of the first segments to have an A-plus snowboarder hanging out with some lonely ol’ skier dudes.
So let me get this right: Earlier you were saying that you were in the Canada segment. And now you’re saying that it’s the best part in the webisode. Are you inferring and, promoting for that matter, that you’re the best skier in the webisode?
Yes, absolutely, but I’m promoting John [Jackson] more. He killed it.
So the reason we should watch your “favorite Nimbus webisode ever” is to watch a snowboarder?
C’mon, man … I’ll admit, I skied well. I had a good trip. And we only had four days of sun, but we used nearly everything and all of it was good.
Changing subjects. Rumor has it you’re driving to “downtown” Mammoth to register for a century ride. Shouldn’t you be riding your bike there?
Well, yes, but I’m riding in the 16th High Sierra Fall Century taking place in Mammoth Lakes, California. The proceeds from my registration [and others] raises money for the Sierra Cycling Foundation, which supports safer road conditions, safer riding for recreation and rehabilitation. I road bike and mountain bike quite a bit during the fall and summer, so I thought, why not support a good cause?
Wait, I’m confused. Are your road biking 100 miles or mountain biking?
I’m riding on my road bike. I have a Giant and that’s all I know about it. I got a good deal on it from my mother, who works in retail.
Slow down, Chris. Are you telling me that Chris Benchetler, the king of the safety grab, even takes advantage of a pro-form deal?
You got it. Just don’t forget how good I am at mute grabs.
Sure, whatever. Speaking of giant, you recently proposed to your long-time girlfriend. Care to make that announcement public?
Ah, yes, we dated for six years or … [checks with Kimmy]. No make that seven years. I’ve had the ring for quite some time and waited for the perfect opportunity. I made her do a beacon search to find the ring up at the lake. When she was close to the transmitting beacon, she noticed the roses on top of the beacon and immediately asked, “Are you serious? Oh my God.” And then she said yes.
Again, I’m confused. Was the beacon buried in the sand? If so, how did the ring not become damaged?
I didn’t actually bury it in the sand. I’m a little bit smarter than the average bear. So I snuck the ring in a backpack and Kimmy just had surgery on her meniscus, so we had to take it easy. So I told her, ‘Oh, I’ll just put some snacks in the backpack just in case you want to take it real slow.’ So I did that and stuffed a dozen roses in there. And I convinced her that it would be good to do a beacon test, because I was going to Chile the next week and I needed a refresher. And I ended up making her go first, even though I was the one going to Chile.
And you just got home from Chile, right? Where you skied your new 192-centimeter pro model. What’s the story with the 192 compared to the 183 length?
10 The 192 is for a skier who is little bit taller and looking for more ski because when you ski a rockered ski, your contact point is shorter. So a 192 made sense and it was something I wanted when I was skiing big-mountain lines — something a little longer. It has the exact same sidewall construction, but we stiffened up the tail by 15 percent and we dragged out the contact point, which changes the turn radius. So it feels a little more stable and stiffer. In fact, I actually love the 192 so much that I’m thinking about stiffening the tail in my 183. And, yes, it’ll have the same graphic as the 183. Both of which will be in shops this fall as soon as you finish watching the webisode.
From LINE SKIS.com
It goes without saying that Eric Pollard is one of the most influential skiers out there and has been for almost a decade. Pollard is set apart from most not only with his effortless style, but also with his artistic and development talent. Whether it be pushing the industry with his ski shapes and profiles, his incredibly detailed pieces of art (that are on top of our skis), or the insanely beautiful and fun videos that Nimbus comes out with to entertain the masses, saying Eric Pollard is influential in the ski industry would be an understatement.
It’s just good to see him get the credit he deserves. Check out Pollard being highlighted in ESPN’s Thinkers Series.
When he’s not painting or filming or being otherwise artistic, Eric Pollard, 27, is a pro skier. In 2007, Pollard joined up with Andy Mahre, Pep Fujas, Chris Benchetler and Eric Iberg to form Nimbus Independent, a film company with the goal of creating ski footage unlike any produced before. Now Nimbus releases a series of films throughout the season on their website. The next episode, part of a collection of trip-based films called “En Route,” drops September 15. We spoke to Pollard about working for free, fine art and what inspires his ideas.
When we first started Nimbus, we wanted to do something completely new. I said, ‘Let’s stop talking about it, let’s do it.’ We’ve tried out many different formats. We’ve done DVD, we’ve tried to sell it online, we’ve given it away. We’re constantly fine tuning. Our goal is to entertain and share our perspective on skiing in a package that’s consumable for people.
I don’t actually get paid from Nimbus. As a business, it’s not successful. It’s been a lot more work than I anticipated — it’s almost a full-time job. But it’s worth it. I wouldn’t say I do it for the love. I do it because I like to control how we’re being portrayed. I like treating each movie like an art piece.
Nimbus is back. Our first webisode of three; En Route Departure, takes viewers on a two month adventure. Skiing everywhere from a North American military base, to Monte Bianco in Italy.
En Route Departure is a full length 40 minute ski movie featuring the original Nimbus crew: Pep Fujas, Eric Pollard, Chris Benchetler, and Blake Nyman. The movie also features Anthony Boronowski, Bene Mayr, Dylan Hood, Christian Sirianni, and friends.
Thank you and enjoy!
Point and Shoot is a new video blog series available only at www.nimbusindependent.com. Point and Shoot explores the perspectives of each Nimbus crew member throughout the entire year. Each movie is skier filmed and edited.
Nimbus crew in Rome, Italy. Two days of walking Rome right after 24 hours of travel time. Amazing!
Eric, Ian and Wiegand posing in front of the walk to the Vatican. Notice the smart car driving by! Believe it not, but they have even smaller cars than the smart car in Italy!
Inside the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica. You feel so tiny in this Godly building. This photo doesn’t do the size justice. Did you know the Vatican City is it’s own country? We walked around the entire country in an hour.
The walk to the Vatican. This statue was on the bridge in front of Ponte Sant’ Angelo. We stayed in a hotel right near this statue, key location.
Eric filming the Vatican courtyard.
We missed the cut off time to get inside the Coliseum. At least we got to watch the sunset just outside.
The lights come on at night on most of the monuments. It’s great for night strolls with some stops for wine, pasta and gelato!
We went to a hot spring in Courmayeur that was called Pre-Saint-Didier. Its at the base of Monte Bianco. So relaxing, although if you decide to go watch out for Italian PDA!
Here is all of us in the hot spring. Nice and steamy!
Nimbus Crew after a night of delicious pasta! The guy driving is our Italian guide and skier, Martino Valle.
Same night turned into a MAJOR snowball fight! Here is Wiegand getting a shot at the other car with the rest of the Nimbus crew.
Eric in the gondola at Courmayeur.
Eric on a house jib at the end of the trip. We had so much snow during the time we were in Courmayeur. We pretty much had a foot of snow every night!
Chilling at the hotel, drinking wine.
We were in Cervinia at the base of the Matterhorn for a few days. The snow wasn’t the best so we moved to Courmayeur.
Italian food has to be the best food in the world! This was at a hole in the wall pizzeria where the tables were packed so tight you could hardly get in your seat, but it was worth it for the food and wine!
This was the staircase to get us to the Sistine chapel. We were not able to take photos inside where the famous Michelangelo paintings are. It’s a sacred place…even talking is prohibited.
Powder. Powder. Powder in Italy! Nothing better. Here is Eric in the freshies.
Here is Torino, Italy from a lookout spot that Alessandro took us…our Italian photographer from the trip. This is where he lives.
Alessandro took us to his family’s house for a home cooked meal. It was amazing! This is his photo at his home studio.
Ok, shifting to Mammoth, California. This was taken at our condo that we booked through 101 Great Escapes. Super nice ski-in, ski-out at Chair 15 at Mammoth. It was epic snow with an epic place to stay.
Eric and Blake at our secret mountain warfare zone. We had amazing weather after a huge storm cycle of 5 feet in three days!
Pep and Eric sitting on one of Mother Earth’s beauties! And to the right Blake and Pep getting ready to hit this monstrosity.
Nimbus crew on top of a jump spot and to the right Eric letting slough fly.
Pep chilling out after a day of jumping. Photographer Abe Blair in the background.
Pep feeling out the snow.
Eric doing a Rodeo off a natural Jump. Natural take-off’s were a recurring theme for this location.
Eric filming some scenic on the highway to Mammoth.