First year MSU students win first round of the intercollegiate ski film competition Red Bull Bracket against Penn State

The Bozeman Sewer Mutants went head to head in a ski video competition with Penn State and won by a landslide last Friday, Feb. 19. The group is comprised of seven first-year MSU students. All from different parts of the country, the Sewer Mutants are competing in an intercollegiate ski film competition.

The Red Bull Bracket Reel Snow Challenge pits each team against another, week by week, in a single elimination knockout style event. At the end of a week, the team with the most votes wins. Teams can also receive a 15 percent boost if they earn the judge’s choice award, which the Sewer Mutants did last week. If a team beats their opponent, they advance to the next week where they will be given a new theme to base their next video on. So far, the team has advanced through the first round out of a possible four.

In the first round, “Orientation,” the Bozeman Sewer Mutants beat the Penn State CHOPSQUAD 2,858 votes to 1,401. MSU’s current undergraduate enrollment is 13,707, whereas Penn State has an undergraduate student body of 83,436. The Bozeman Sewer Mutants will face the Colorado University Snowboard Team in the quarterfinal round “Night Class.”

Prior to this competition, the teammates were practically strangers. Alex D’Agostino, Matt Wood, Seth Harding, Jake Lamons, Nash Lisac, Jake Wenzel and Cole Histon came together through a combination of chance and a love of skiing. In a last minute effort to assemble a team, a meeting place was announced for anyone interested. “Whoever showed up that Tuesday night, that who was on the crew,” said Wenzel, the crew’s Stoke Master.  From there, the Sewer Mutants went straight to work.

“It’s an everyday, everynight ordeal,” said D’Agostino, the team’s editor and cinematographer. The nature of the competition requires teams to not only film on the mountain, but in untraditional locations as well, commonly in urban settings.

Although there’s pressure on many of the teams to stay in the terrain parks, the Sewer Mutants want to defy expectations. “We aim for about 70 percent backcountry shots, and 30 percent urban,” stated Wood, the manager of the Sewer Mutants. Lisac, the official Big Stunt Doer, added “there’s no reason to go into the [terrain] park; we’re in Montana. The whole mountain is a park.”

Histon, Rail Wizard, earned his title from skiing on “175 foot vertical landfills” in Minnesota his whole life. Despite his title on the team, Histon shares a similar passion for the backcountry. “Don’t get me wrong I had a great time getting hot laps in on the tow rope there and shredding rails, but the mountains just don’t even compare,” he said. “Montana is a whole new type of skiing for me and I’ve had the best days of my life out here.”

As bold as the Sewer Mutant’s skiers are, the Red Bull Bracket Reel is just as much about the cinematography as it is the riding. Lamons, the designated aerial filmer, is no amateur when it comes to filming extreme sports. He found his passion for filmmaking when he realized that “filming every little crazy stunt” could be turned into a career path after he received six sponsorships for his videos. “I figured if I could do that at the age of 16, I could make a living out of this somehow,” he said. “So here I am shaping my career as a 20-year-old and shooting the sickest skiing with the raddest dudes in Montana.”

No member of the Bozeman Sewer Mutants could explain the reasoning behind their team name, but all agreed that they love it, and stand by it completely.

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