The Reel Deal

Call the shots, stack the shots, review the shots—all in a day’s work for Grant. From the woods at Retallack, British Columbia to the Utah desert with the McCaul brothers, every film is a journey with no shortage of great people and places. Photo: Paris Gore

The Reel Deal The Quiet Authority of Jeremy Grant

Daylight is fading as we pack up our gear from various ridges of a past Red Bull Rampage venue in Virgin, Utah.

Our crew has been here since 9 a.m. filming with Cameron and Tyler McCaul for Teton Gravity Research’s new film, Accomplice. Snow has been forecast, which means our filming window is about to close. Exhausted, we meander through the area’s signature red dirt toward the trucks below, with spicy margaritas and nachos on the brain.

Halfway down, director Jeremy Grant pauses with a tripod slung over his shoulder and takes in the view. Across from us is another orange-hued spine that winds down to the valley floor. Jumps and runouts spill over its ledges. Some are still rideable, while others need a bit of love. Cameron joins Grant and the two retrace old runs. They reminisce about unforgettable moments, like Cam Zink landing his legendary step-down backflip in 2013. Or Brandon Semenuk’s groundbreaking contest run in 2008, at only 17 years of age—which took him to the top of the podium and proved he was more than just a slopestyle kid.

During the last few months of working with Grant, I’ve come to appreciate these walks down memory lane. They’re impromptu mountain bike history lessons, especially when you consider Grant’s involvement with every Rampage since the event’s inception. He’s seen it all, only through a viewfinder. The list of influential athletes he’s filmed over the years is a veritable Who’s Who in the history of freeride mountain biking. But since he’s so easygoing and nonchalant, it makes it difficult to grasp what a badass he is.

Grant grew up during the golden age of ski films. Early on, skiing had Warren Miller, who was like Sinatra—classy and timeless. Then the ’90s came along and companies such as Matchstick Productions and TGR brought Metallica and Bob Marley to ski-film soundtracks. Equipped with 16mm film, they ventured to re- mote parts of Alaska and Europe with dreams of skiing bigger and bolder lines. Spine-slashing and cliff-hucking moves were set to meaty guitar riffs, and Grant was hooked from the moment he first saw these feats. As a 15-year-old growing up in Nelson, British Columbia, the films left an unshakeable impression on him.

Wanting to emulate his heroes of the silver screen, Grant would stash his parents’ video camera in his backpack before heading off to join his friends on the slopes. Trying to create a full-length ski film proved tough, however, since no one in his crew was eager to hold the camera. Even Grant himself vied to be in front of the lens. But when the snow melted, all that changed.

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Grant looks over the day's clips with McCaul brothers in the Utah desert. Photo: Katie Lozancich