A trend has been steadily creeping into skiing (read: life) over the last few years: The insatiable need to Get The Shot. No longer a catch-cry of online forums, “pics or it didn’t happen” embodies the society that we live in today. Media consumption is our new favourite past time; social media validation our new self esteem. There has been a significant shift towards the democratisation of ski media in the last few years with the internet emerging as the weapon of choice in the promotional arsenal of today’s skiers. Media consumption is at an all time high, and the old adage that you should let your skiing do the talking still rings true, but unless you are doing the shouting you will not be heard above the melee of the modern content market.
Pete Oswald is acutely aware of this: “I wouldn’t have sponsors if it wasn’t for the media stuff.”
I sat down with Pete at the end of the season to catch up on his various missions and to dig deeper into his success at carving out a career based on content creation.
“I never liked competing and I never really did well in competitions so i guess I’ve just taken a different angle on sponsorship, where I’m not trying to be the best skier in the world. I just thought a few years back ‘competing sucks’ and collaborating with other people is way more productive, and producing stuff that everyone wants to see rather than the biggest baddest gnarliest thing, it wins for everybody. So much easier.”
Known affectionately as POFS (short for Pete Oswald Free Skier), Pete is a man of many disparate trades. From lumberjack to travelling beer salesman, with a brief stint as a James Bond ski extra in-between, his self-produced media content has seen his ski career thrive away from contest venues.
“It’s just not that hard! Just think what the funnest thing that you want to do is, learn how to use a camera half decently, and make some media from it. Whatever you want to be doing is pretty much what people want to be seeing online. And it doesn’t need to be the biggest baddest burliest thing. Just think what the funnest thing is, go and do it, film it, put it online, and you’re away…. The thing about a GoPro or helmet cam is that you can just go and do something that feels really good. Quite often you’re skiing, and you’ll think ‘aw that felt so good’, just pick a certain angle, and one clip, one 15sec clip online, and you’re off. The last one…”
Your backy at TC?
“Yeah. 200,000 views! Half hour of work. And so that’s how it works for me really. Just these little clips. And then I also get to go on these awesome missions and make something cool out of that.”
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3lQuzim18Y[/youtube]This is what the POV of a payday looks like.
His latest effort from a heli-camping Tipi mission this August in the ranges behind Glenorchy is a great example of how far his point-and-shoot camera and GoPro filmed edits have come. Having worked as an assistant filmer on ski films in the past, helping out GoPro for a stint this season collating headcam footage at FWT stops, and producing his own short ski films for Epic TV, Pete has been focused on honing his video skills as a vehicle for travel and skiing.
“I had a wee stint where I thought I should go and get a real job. I worked for Lion Breweries. Hated it. It looked like the dream job from the outside, but it was just not for me. So I got made redundant from that, which was awesome. It was after the last Rugby World Cup hangover, so I came out of that quite well, and I decided to do a film course, a short diploma thing. I discovered that you could get a student allowance for that, and then I discovered that if you have a dependant partner you can get more student allowance, I then I also discovered that you can do it from overseas and you can still get your student allowance outside of the country. It’s all legit! I looked into it hard! And so we travelled around. I did Canada, Iceland, Europe, and I was studying full time and skiing. I was really busy. I did just what I needed to do on the road, and then we’d get into England and I’d smash out full days on the computer. It was real busy. You had to pass to keep your allowance. I was getting a good allowance, so we pretty much funded that whole trip through studying!”
Do you miss the days of just skiing and not ‘getting the shot?’ Or do you still get plenty of soul skiing days in?
“It’s habit. The GoPro is always in my bag. It takes 45 seconds to put it on. You just press a button and if it’s bad, who cares? If it’s good, you got it! It’s no biggie… If I’m standing on the top of something that looks great, then 30 secs, put it on, you’re at work. It motivates me to do cooler stuff as well. But the soul skiing days are really great. Like I’m really looking forward to closing day!”
After a busy New Zealand season filled with missions, Pete will head back to the Northern Hemisphere with a different focus.
“The priority this year is this business that I have started with my girlfriend, and so that will come before skiing, which is a bit weird for me… Im sure there will be stuff to squeeze in, and I’m all about the quality over the quantity, so we’ll go to Innsbruck and do something awesome, and then maybe go to Eastern Europe and do something awesome there. But sitting in a ski town and skiing mediocre resort day after mediocre resort day is pretty low priority. I’d rather charge away on this business.”
An ideas man, his latest business venture sees him taking on the illustrated gift card market with his talented girlfriend Sophie. Check out their awesome work at www.littledifference.org and keep up to date with Pete’s latest travels on his blog www.peteoswald.co.nz and watch for more edits to be released via Epic TV throughout the coming months.
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