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|Phil Casabon during Winter X Slopestyle finals in Aspen.|
Phil Casabon is anything but your average slopestyle skier. The 22-year-old Québecois' many film projects, including standout segments in past Level 1 Productions movies and the ongoing webisode series, "The B & E Show," which he puts together with fellow style monger Henrik Harlaut, have garnered him a large and devoted following. This fall, Casabon will appear alongside Harlaut and Tanner Hall in a new film by Eric Iberg called "The Education of Style," which will debut online and on DVD in August. Casabon's skiing style is so unique it's enabled him to compete at slopestyle skiing's highest level without a double flip (he tried a double for the first time only recently). While off the hill for a rainy day in Mt. Hood, Casabon talked to us about why he sees competing as a relatively low priority and what we can look forward to seeing from him soon.
I heard you did your first double flip recently.
Yeah. That is true. It was just a dub flat 9 on a nice step-up jump that I built along with Henrik Harlaut, Tommy Ellingson, Tanner [Hall] and Justin Wiegand at Mt. Hood. We hit it a couple of times and I was feeling it. There was no impact in the landing basically and it was a super floaty jump. So I figured I might as well try it.
Does this mean you're going to be throwing a bunch of dubs in contests next year?
I'm not really thinking about contests when I'm trying new tricks. When I try new tricks, I just do it for myself. The reason I held out on dubs for so long is just because I didn't feel like doing it. It's just whenever I'm feeling it and feeling good, I'll try new tricks. So I'm not sure I'm going to add a bunch of doubles to my runs next year. But maybe so, I'll see how it goes next year.
For a couple of years, you've been the only elite slopestyle contender to not have a double. Do you think you can keep finding ways to stay competitive without them?
I'm sure there will be another formula for events created, like the Sammy Carlson Invitational with a jam session on a jump and a wallride. If you look at skateboarding's Street League, every trick counts. I see the progression of skiing going toward redefining contests. As far as competing without doubles, it has a lot to do with the course and what you can do with it. If they build something that you can get really creative with, you can use it to make your run different from everybody else's. When I speak with judges, they say they're looking for the grabs, the axis, the spinning both right and left -- those things are just as important as flipping the head down twice.
Canada's National Slopestyle Team was announced recently and I was surprised to see that you weren't on it. What gives?
I don't know. I haven't talked to any of the coaches about why they didn't put me on the team. I guess if I was very concerned about it, I would have called them already. But I'm not really concerned about what the team is up to. I think I'm not on the team anymore because I've been on my own program the whole year. They've been going and jumping in airbags while I wanted to go ski pow so I didn't tag along with the team very much. I was more focused on getting shots than with trying to learn a new trick two days before a contest. So maybe that's the reason. The team and I have just had different priorities.
Are the 2014 Winter Olympics a priority for you?
I'm not going to compete more than I already have been competing. I want most to be a part of new events that go down. Right now my biggest plan for next year is the Inspired Demo Tour. From December 17 to February 22, Henrik Harlaut, Paul Bergeron and I are going to tour through 60 ski resorts in Québec, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota. The goal with it is to create a ski edit every two or three resorts we go to. I'm not sure if I'm going to be skiing the comps. If I do get invited to Winter X, I'll definitely head there.
Most slope and pipe skiers are cramming for the Olympics right now. Why would a guy like you, with the talent to have a good shot at an Olympic medal in 2014, not be doing the same thing?
I'm just following the same path I've been following through my whole career. It's taken me where I've wanted up to now. Through video content, I feel like I can show my persona, I can show the music I love, and that's a big part of skiing for me. I obviously see the huge accomplishment that it is to go to the Olympics and do well, but going to the Olympics means a lot of following groups and doing things that I don't necessarily want to do at all right now.