Become A Pro: Superunknown talent search

Level 1’s Superunknown puts one lucky amateur skier up on the big screen each year. Here’s how.
Freeskiers Mitchell Brower and Johan Niemi in action
Mitchell Brower and Johan Niemi © Matt Sklar
By Kyle Meyr

Going pro typically means you have succeeded at one of two things: dominating slopestyle competitions or impressing the Internet with epic video edits. But there’s one more opportunity.

In 2004 the production company Level 1 introduced an entirely new way of making yourself known: a video talent search open to everyone that directly introduces one lucky winner to the world of professional feature film skiing. So far 11 stoked freeskiers have been crowned the winners of Superunknown and have made their way onto the big screen.

Superunknown allows aspiring skiers the chance to submit video of their best skiing for a chance to win a spot in Level 1’s next feature film. The videos are narrowed down to just a handful of the best and eventually one winner is decided. Previous winners of the competition include Sig Tveit, Corey Vanular and X Games/Dew Tour champion Tom Wallisch.

Sig Tveit, after winning Superunknown in 2011, appreciates the competition mostly for, “just getting a foot in the door with a professional production company.” Level 1 has been one of the largest and most recognisable names in the freeski film industry since 2000.

"Filming with one of the big production companies was always my biggest dream and Level 1 has always been my favourite." Since winning, Tveit has starred in three of their films.

Freeskier Mitchell Brower slides the chairlift gap rail
Superunknown winner Mitchell Brower © Matt Sklar

Recently, the event format has changed. The top 10 entrants are now invited to a custom-built park on the west coast of the USA for a week of skiing and filming with little scheduling and features designed by the riders themselves. At the end of the trip, the winner of Superunknown is decided not by a few external judges, but by the riders themselves.

“It was based on our overall opinion about a rider from every aspect of the competition: reputation, video entry, style, technical ability and how they rode during the week in Washington,” said 2014 Superunknown top 10 rider Lars Tynes.

SuperUnknown finalist Hugo Pelletier sends a stylie blunt grab through the trees
SuperUnknown finalist Hugo Pelletier © Matt Sklar

The event is completely built and determined by the riders themselves, which is what makes Superunknown so important. It is a chance for some of the most unique and stylish freeskiers to break out into an industry that often values competition skiers more. It gives local mountain heroes the chance to step up and create a career alongside some of the biggest and most admired skiers in film.

In essence, Superunknown is how the world’s most stylish skiers become pro.

Ready to take your chance? Go to the Superunknown website to see all previous videos and participate in next year’s selection!

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