Interview: Jamie Baril

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 23, 2013 7:28 pm

By: Peter Killory

Peter Killory: Let’s start off with the basics…  Name, age, hometown/mountain, and sponsors

Jamie Baril: My name is Jamie Baril.  I am 20 years old.  I grew up in Sammamish, Washington and learned to ski at Alpental and Snoqualmie Pass.  I ride for Evo, Moment Skis, Full Tilt, Coal Headwear, POW, Dromas Apparel, Mad Owl, The Summit at Snoqualmie, Von Zipper, and NWT3K as team coordinator.

No Pants! - Corey GrantPants are overrated – Photo: Corey Grant

PK: Word! How did you first get into skiing?

JB: I’ve been on the ski hill since before I could stand.  My dad would tote me around on his back while he skied around Colorado, where I was born.  I was on skis myself by age 3 and I have never really looked back.  Once we moved out to Washington in 1993 my parents had me in the Buddy Werner race program at Alpental for most of my youth.

Young Jamie! - Kathy Baril Shreddin’ circa 1996 – Photo: Kathy Baril

PK: A lot of freestyle skiers have a background in racing, how were you first exposed to the “newschool” scene?

JB: I was never part of a ski team such as TAS (Team Alpental/Snoqualmie) or CMAC (Crystal Mountain Alpine Club). Both of my parents had a racing background, and they have been involved with City League at The Summit at Snoqualmie as coaches for Race Meisters (the youth recreational program), so I spent more time skiing gates than park until I was in middle school.

Silhouette Stale - Matt SklarBackyard booter at the Alpy House! – Photo: Matt Sklar

I went to see Warren Miller movies with my dad every year for as long as I can remember, so I had that insight into what the high-budget film side of the ski world looked like.  I really became aware of the newschool scene right around the time that Tom Wallisch won the Level 1 Productions Superunknown Contest (cliché I know).  The next fall I went to the Seven Sunny Days movie premiere in Seattle and decided at the end of the movie that jumps, pow and rails were the sickest things ever invented in the history of the universe!  I still believe so today. 

PK: You really started to get into freestyle skiing in middle school.  Now you’re a few years out of high school and have gained a lot of exposure in the Pacific Northwest, how did that happen?

JB: Well when I was in middle school and even all the way through high school I spent a lot of time on Newschoolers.com as a little fanboy watching every edit I could catch a glimpse of.  As a result, I wanted nothing more than to make dope ski edits with my friends.

Tap - Mike Yoshida
Sunset nose tap in Central Park – Photo: Mike Yoshida

In the four years of my high school life, I watched a great transformation take place in Central Park at The Summit at Snoqualmie.  When I was younger, the snowboard scene was THE scene.  There was a small group of older skiers who I would ride with, but they all graduated and moved on.  The generation of skiers to follow was awesome.  We got really lucky because there was a fairly large group of skiers who were close in age and skill level.  Because of this, we progressed much faster as a group.  Shout out to Kevin Steindorf, Shiro Hatori, Rory McCabe, Erik Stai, Jake Rouches, Jake Miller, Clint Christen, Kevin “Kamper-Kev” Curran, Andy Kutner, and you, Mr. Killory.  It’s because of those guys that skiers outnumber boarders at Snoqualmie 5 to 1 these days.

Jibbin' - Mike Yoshida
Jibbin’ – Photo: Mike Yoshida

As far as getting a lot of exposure in the PNW goes, it was a combination of a good group of friends and a hyper-talented and dedicated media man, Abe Krieger.  Putting out any sort of quality content would not have been a reality for us without him.  We started in the winter of 10/11 just making informal edits for fun and got used to the Glidecam and the process of filming park laps as a group.  At the end of that summer, we entered the first annual NSTV Pilot Project contest, which resulted in our very own webisode series sponsored and presented by Newschoolers.com, called Family Vacation.  Over the course of the 11/12 season we produced six webisodes, filmed all over the Pacific Northwest.

Family Reunioning - Ian Koppe
Filming for the “Family Reunion” with Abe Krieger – Photo: Ian Koppe

PK: Wow I just took a serious trip down memory lane…  It’s crazy to see the transformation of Central Park over the course of the last five or so years.  It’s clear that freestyle skiing is here to stay.  Winning the NSTV Pilot Project was a huge foot in the door for a lot of Snoqualmie locals.  We all love filming with Abe and the Family Vacation crew in addition to competing in events around the PNW.  Which do you prefer, filming or competing?

JB: Definitely filming!  Competing is fun and all, but it’s also stressful, and I’m not necessarily down with that aspect of it. I have much more fun going out and getting shots because there are no parameters for what you have to do to win.  It’s a much better way to convey individual expression, and your audience is much bigger, or at least has the potential to be.

Rail Jam - Thomas O'Connell
Setting for a BS 360 switch-up at the Stevens Pass Open Season Rail Jam – Photo: Thomas O’Connell

PK: Good point, I’ve noticed that a higher percentage of up-and-coming skiers are making a name for themselves via web edits as opposed to winning contests.  Now that we’re on the topic of competitions, what do you think about slopestyle and halfpipe skiing making a debut in the 2014 Sochi Olympics?

JB: I think it’s an interesting step for skiing and will be cool to watch.  It will attract a very different audience than the X-Games can.  The whole world will watch the Olympics.  If a marketable American wins pipe or slope, they stand to become a household name like Jonny Mosley or Shaun White.  It remains to be seen if pipe and slope will become the equivalent of moguls in the 90s, but I’d say the potential is there.

Big Air Fiesta
Switch 720 at the Stevens Pass Big Air Fiesta – Photo: Thomas O’Connell

What I think and hope the Olympics will do is drive the two different types of progression in skiing, filming and competing.  The tricks will get more technical in competitions of course, but we may see them become regulated.  Awarding certain points for certain tricks with certain grabs sounds too much like gymnastics for my liking.  I think that because of the Olympics, we will see more skiers stick their middle finger in the air to the FIS (International Ski Federation) and instead spend more time on film segments.  We’ll see a transformation towards an Internet media world more reminiscent of snowboarding today.

PK: Skiing may become more segmented, but as you said, it could contribute to success on both “sides” of the spectrum.  Now let’s jump into some quick questions…  What’s your favorite trick?

JB: I am a huge fan of the switch 5, it’s such a floaty trick on any jump.  I’m also a big fan of a blind switch-up, half-pretzel on rails.

Pow Ski Park Shred - Garrett Porter
Pow ski park shred – Photo: Garrett Porter

PK: Poles or no poles?

JB: When I’m working Park Crew at Snoqualmie, I usually go no poles for the convenience of being able to grab something and carry it with me if need be.  I like no poles for skiing rails for some reason, but you’ll always see me riding with my Mad Owls in hand outside of the park or when I’m hitting jumps.

Oh Hai - Garrett Porter
A shameless selfie on the job – Photo: Garrett Porter

PK: If you could ski anywhere in the world, where would it be?

JB: Japan!  So much pow, epic trees, and snow gates…  Need I say more?

Swerve - Mike Yoshida
Jamie sendin’ it in the backcountry – Photo: Mike Yoshida

PK: What’s your favorite ski movie?

JB: That’s a really hard question, there are so many!  My top five are: Teddy Bear Crisis, Seven Sunny Days, Realtime, Believe, and Partly Cloudy.

PK: Other hobbies?

JB: Mountain biking, golf, kayaking, and being a full time Crohn’s patient.

Wallride Stale - Matt Sklar
More backyard fun at the Alpy House – Photo: Matt Sklar

PK: How does Crohn’s affect you on a day-to-day basis or while you’re skiing?

JB: It’s something that I have been living with since I was thirteen years old.  The thing about it is it’s ever present, but always fluctuating.  Sometimes you’re in good health and then very quickly you are not.  It’s really a day-to-day battle. The biggest thing it has done in relation to skiing is give me conviction to pursue my goals.  Accomplishing my goals gives me overwhelming happiness and I find it easier to be healthy when I am happy!

Cinco De Mayo - Kathy Baril
Jamie showing his buddy Mr. Flamingo what skiing is all about! – Photo: Kathy Baril

PK: What could television do for the sport of skiing?

JB: Oh wow, that’s a good one!  Television has the potential to do a lot for the sport of skiing.  If you look at the success of online ski forums over the course of their development, videos and advertising have contributed largely to their growth.  I do believe that a niche market television network could be a reality.

The reason I think it could work is because in this day and age there are segmented, packaged TV networks for whatever you can imagine.  Take the Golf Channel for example.  Granted there is more money behind golf than skiing, but with the growth of the action sports industry I believe a TV network could happen.

Blunt Slide - Corey Grant
Mid-blunt slide – Photo: Corey Grant

Also, there’s a gigantic amount of preexisting skiing content on the Internet that could be used on TV.  Throw advertising in between a continuous, predetermined feed of videos over a 24-hour cycle and boom!  You’ve got yourself Ski TV.

PK: Well that’s just about everything!  Any shout outs you want to make before we wrap up?

JB: Yeah shout out to all the dudes I previously mentioned!  Family Vacation 4-lyfe haha.  I also want to thank Chris Shalbot, Jeffery McGowan, Luke Jacobson, Andrew Eugster, Chris Lewis, Nick Marvik, Austin Blair, Karter Riach, Joe Pope, Garrett Porter, and the Alpy House Dudes!

Tube City - Mike Yoshida
Jamie Baril, Mayor of Tube City – Photo: Mike Yoshida

PK: Awesome!  I hope you have a great season stackin’ shots and end up finding yourself on a few podiums as well.  Stay safe buddy!

Check out Jamie’s 2012-2013 season edit:

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