With film trailers being the closest thing to skiing during the off season (for most of us), Level 1′s Eye Trip is sure to be one of the go-to clips for snow starved internet surfers. One of the skiers in Eye Trip is Ahmet Dadali, who if you don’t know, you should. Hailing from Western New York, Ahmet is now blowing up the CO scene and taking names. Check out Full Tilt skier Ahmet Dadali’s interview with Level 1′s Jonnie Sirotek below:
Western New York is seldom considered a hotbed of freeskiing talent. Known more for its cold weather and icy conditions, skiing on the east coast breeds a different brand of skier. From this landscape emerged 22-year-old Ahmet Dadali. Quickly climbing his way up the park and urban scene, Ahmet has become a mainstay in Level 1 movies. I recently sat down with the skier to discuss his season, life on the road, and his thoughts on the future of skiing.
Interview by: Jonnie Sirotek
Growing up in New York, how did you get into the freestyle scene?
I started skiing when I was around nine years old with my brother, Giray. We started jumping right from the bunny slope hitting any bump we could. When I was 10 I met Tim Russell, who became a good friend of ours. We saw what he was doing on the jumps and we started trying to do the tricks he could do. Skiing at a race-oriented mountain was difficult, as it did not accommodate free skiers, so we were pretty rebellious in the early days. I rode with a huge crew who fed off of each other on the mountain. It was Giray, Will Wesson, Andy Parry, Erik Olson, and myself, along with many other real good riders.
After high school, you moved west?
I moved west when I graduated high school in 2006. I met up with Kyle Decker, who was filming for Rage at the time. We went on pretty much every trip together throughout the season, mostly filming urban. At the end of the year, Josh Berman invited me to the Spring park shoots with Level 1, and REALTIME was my first appearance in a Level 1 movie. I’ve always looked up to Level 1 in terms of their riding and style, and its real ill to be skiing with them now. I’ve owned every movie since Balance.
As you mentioned you got your start filming mostly urban. Can you talk about what goes on behind the scenes during urban trips?
We usually wait for there to be snow somewhere, and we head there immediately. If we time it right the snow is pretty good. We’re usually filming for a week and a half. Once you get your trick it’s a super good feeling, but you hardly ever get a trick first try. Unlike a park jump, you are hiking for a long time. You get in that beach shape climbing the stairs over and over again each day.
What about the urban trips this season?
This season, we approached urban differently. We got a winch, which allowed us to hit features we could never hit before, and we moved away from the strictly rail-heavy trips. Finding unique ways to hit urban is difficult. It takes a good eye to find the right feature, but it keeps things creative. You usually don’t see the same tricks given the current nature of urban. Once everyone can do one thing, you have to do the next thing, so this year I think we put a new face on urban skiing.
After the early season urban trips, you moved more into the backcountry. Can you talk about life on the road during the season?
In early February I travelled to Finland to shoot urban. Once I got back I immediately went to southern Colorado. After that, I travelled north through Utah, Montana, and finally Whistler. By the time I arrived back in Utah in April I was ready to get off the road and back into the park!
It can get tiresome and frustrating being on the road when you haven’t been skiing that much, it gets you a little edgy if you haven’t gotten your regular ski fix. I’m used to skiing everyday. The weather doesn’t always go right when you’re trying to shoot backcountry. You need good weather and good snow, and towards the end of this year the snow was really hard to find. But I definitely had the most fun year ever out there and feel like all that time really paid off.
How do you stay motivated on these extended trips?
The best part about travelling is when you or your homies get a trick, you are all stoked as hell. There is pretty much no other feeling comparable to that, so that helps you get refueled back up. Being able to see all the backcountry areas that are so secluded is sick – you get to see a lot of things that other people don’t get to see. The best part about it is that you are travelling with your best friends, and skiing, in beautiful places.
Would you say you’re moving more into the backcountry scene, then?
I started skiing a lot of powder once I moved to Utah, so I was super into it then. But it was easiest to start on rails because that’s what the filmers wanted, and I didn’t have a snowmobile, so that’s what I did. This year I picked up that snowmobile and was able to get a chance to film in the backcountry. I’ve always been a little disappointed that I haven’t been able to shoot more in the backcountry. Now I have the opportunity to do it more, and there is a lot more that can be done out there. Next season I want to be out there much more, and working on a lot of different things.
What are some of your best memories from the season?
Finland was my favorite trip of the year. B Dog, Hornbeck and Wallisch went out to Finland originally. B Dog got hurt and I got a phone call from Berman. That night I called Scott Hibbert and Conor Gill from Under Armour, they set me up with a ticket, and the next day I was in Finland with the crew. Unlike last year, almost every day had some kind of sun. We hit a lot of really cool features this year. There was an unlimited amount of snow, which allowed us to do anything in the city that we wanted to. Probably the illest thing about Finland is the people are stoked about what we’re doing out there– they watch us hit features and we never get kicked out of a spot.’
What are your goals for next season?
I want to progress my skiing as much as I can in backcountry. I want to do different, weird things in the backcountry – find some creative ways to switch it up a little bit. Keep the urban as fresh as possible, and make sure to stoke people out as much as I can with next years segment.
Any sneak peek we can get at your segment in Eye Trip?
The whole movie is looking real ill. I’m super happy about how my year turned out filming, and I’m stoked on the difference in my segment this year from past years. The movie is looking better than ever – can’t wait for the Denver premier!