SKIER Mag sat down with Magnus and Emile to discuss style, shooting backcountry vs shooting street, The Bunch’s award winning film – “Many Fantasies Later”, film making and 1000 Skis. Be sure to check out issus 21.2 “Silverlining” to see the print version of this interview as well. Subscriber here! Choose to listen to the audio or read the interview.
Can you please introduce yourselves?
Magnus – My name is Magnus Granér. I am a skier from Sweden and a member of The Bunch. I started skiing in the Park and then transitioned over to doing street skiing for many years. I had the dream of winning X-games real Ski very early on, even before it wasn’t a thing for skiers. The first year it was only for snowboarding but I knew that skiing would eventually be included. I remember thinking to myself – I’m gonna win that. I was so motivated and it paid off (Magnus won Gold in X-games Real Ski 2017).
Lately I have been moving more towards skiing and filming in the mountains. My family has always been around the mountains quite a lot in Sweden. Now I feel ready to explore new outlets for my skiing and I want to do it in some bigger mountains. I love nature, I love being outside and going on backcountry missions. I still love street skiing and park skiing, but I’m definitely keen to expand my knowledge and get more experience in mountainous terrain. I am trying to bring that new school flavor to the backcountry and keep skiing in a playful way.
Granbom – I am Emil Granbon. I’m from a small place called Falun in Sweden. I grew up on a small hill. They had a terrain park so I started skiing park fairly early on. I was always more focused on competitive skiing. I was on the Swedish National team for the last six seasons. Unfortunately I had a big injury last fall but the silver lining is that Magnus invited me to go on a trip for this new ski movie so I went on some trips with him. That experience opened my eyes so much to this type of skiing. I want to do so much more filming in the future. And I’m really stoked that I was able to be in Many Fantasies Later.
Magnus – Granbom has been on the Swedish team for slopestyle for the past couple years, but he just quit the team in order to ski… more freely i guess, and to work on film projects and stuff.
We’re also roommates! We live together in Duvert, just outside of Are. He’s a really good roommate to have!
You bring a street skiers mindset to the backcountry. Rock wall rides, quarter-pipe set ups and crazy butter combos off cornices. Even the way you make turns is just so different. All of which really shines through in your skiing and your filmmaking. So I must ask – What is your definition of style?
Magnus – Humm… It’s like, expression. You know how sometimes you see people on the mountain they’re not maybe great skiers, but they bring a lot of attitude. Even a Jerry, rocking funky gear can still have style. So it has a lot to do with personality. Style is pretty much just your personality as a skier I guess if we are talking skiing.
Granbom – For me, it’s how someone visualizes the tricks they do on different features. When someone does something that no one else has ever really thought about doing, and they bring their own flavor to everything they do. I think having your own individual style is important. Yeah.
You guys got plenty of style, that’s for sure.
Magnus and Granbom – Thank you
Do you prefer shooting street or backcountry?
Magnus – Uuum – humm… I think right now, I prefer backcountry. But at the same time we’re so dialed-in at street skiing… It’s so hard to pick a favorite. For example, if you remember the movie we made in India, up in Kashmir, interacting with all those Kashmiri people who were so puzzled and amazed by what we were doing and in that case, the cultural differences were so huge that it was really exciting and interesting. You don’t get that in the backcountry.
There’s definitely something special about skiing in cities and the interactions you have with the people you come across. We also went to Russia and a bunch of other weird places as well. But when we’re in these foreign places we still kind of have this safe space of just having such a clear vision of what we want to create and we know exactly what we’re doing and we go FILM. Filming street also brings us to all these places that no one would visit as a tourist. So you get to see cities and towns from a completely different perspective. We go where the handrails are, not where the attractions are or wherever tourists usually go. So I definitely miss that about street skiing.
But then in the backcountry, we go out for these huge days. You start at the bottom then go all the way to peak and ski these crazy lines. Then there’s the whole safety aspect as well. It’s always such a big mission and so much effort goes into it that when you get back home you’re like, completely numb…
Something else about the backcountry, maybe sometimes you have an idea about what you want to do, but a lot of times it’s our first time at a location, we might have some local guide or something but you really don’t know what’s going to come out of the day. Sometimes you put your skins on and you feel really tired halfway up so rather than go all the way to your objective you change the plan and start buttering a little slope instead. And other times you end up skiing these crazy lines. So I feel like it’s good to be flexible out there. It’s not like the streets where you go to a rail and if it doesn’t work out then you pack up the car and drive to another spot.
Granbom – In the backcountry you’re constantly moving, and you can’t just easily go to another spot because you have to ski tour everywhere you want to go.
Magnus – Yes. You never really know what to expect. You might have the craziest day ever or maybe it’s just a nice day outside. It’s really hard to know what each day will bring.
Do you prefer watching street skiing or backcountry skiing?
Magnus –I like watching both for sure. I used to hate watching backcountry segments because I couldn’t relate. And I wasn’t interested in it. I would skip the BC parts in ski movies.
But I want to say that NOW I really like watching backcountry skiing, that is something that has completely changed with me over the years. Probably because I’m trying to learn as much as I can since I’m out there doing it now.
The thing is though, that now-a-days I don’t care so much about the type of skiing that’s being done. It’s more about the energy of the crew. I want to watch something that feels authentic and shows off the personality of the skiers and the crew, yeah. Like the Zoot Space films for example. They are a very dynamic crew who are pushing street skiing right now. I will always prefer watching a ski movie that is authentic and original, over a cookie-cutter film that follows the same formula year after year. It doesn’t matter what the skiers are doing so much. I want to watch a film with good film making and energy.
It all comes back to style and personality factor.
Magnus – Yes exactly.
Congratulations on your latest film, Many Fantasies Later. I think it is one of the most visually stunning ski movie ever made. Who is the mastermind behind the cinematography and editing?
Magnus – His name is Bjorn Eklund. He is a really talented Swedish filmmaker who has been making edits in the industry for probably like ten years now. We’ve kind of been following his journey as a filmmaker for a long time but he was never really part of The Bunch until this project.
Granbom – It was also his first time in the backcountry. And his first trip outside of Sweden I think too.
Magnus – Something like that? Yeah. Like never pretty much never left. He loves sweden and he loves to be at home and editing and enjoying the Swedish landscapes, I guess. But yeah, he’s been pushing filmmaking in a very cool direction. He has been experimenting a lot in his previous projects and stuff like that. We wanted to give him space to do his thing because he clearly has an amazing eye for cinematography and filmmaking.
Our goals were aligned – we were on a mission to create the best film possible. It was never about “What’s the best trick I can do for the day and Bjorn is gonna film it.” We were collectively set out to make the best film possible.
It was an emotional season for him because he doesn’t have much experience out in the mountains. Actually, we were all quite new to the backcountry and were all trying to navigate this terrain and you know, trying to be efficient. There were a lot of struggles along the way, which is where I think the plot of the movie was born. You know, us slightly going insane during the process of creating.
Yes and that really shines through in the film. I love how the whole thing turned out. I think I’ve watched it five times already.
What! Yeah? Hell yeah.
Man, it’s so good I could watch it five more times.
Amazing, so stoked.
The plot of the film revolves around you and your crew out filming in a large alpine area surrounded by mountains. Magnus, aka the warden of Cow Basin, is going clip crazy, just so hungry for shots – or in the words of Alex Hackel – “He’s losing his gourd.” The film feels like a surreal hallucination, or a fever dream of sorts. How did that scene in the cow basin become the backbone of the story line?
Magnus – Early season we were in the alps and we had a fantastic time, but we were also struggling. We had gotten some great shots for the move but I felt like we were working so hard but we weren’t getting what we wanted. Then we came back to Sweden in March and we were all pretty worn out. Everyone took a week off and we all went separate ways like me. When we came back we all had a lot of energy and were super hungry to get shots. We all felt like we really needed to perform and put down some crazy skiing.
We went to a classic sport in Sweden called Hulmovin. It’s nicknamed the cow booth because back in the day the cows were eating grass up there. When we got there it was on. We were kind of like running around trying to stack as many shots as possible. And not just us skiers, Bjorn too. He was on a whole nother level where he would just stay out in the mountains trying to get as much as possible out of every single day and night. We were working really hard pushing physically and mentally for multiple days in a row.
We started joking about this cow disease because we were going crazy in the Cow poo. All the joking around sparked the idea of: Should we make this cow disease joke a part of the Hulmovin segment (In the film they refer to it as the 3rd bowl)?
It was almost ironic at first. As the days went on Bjorn and myself were really hyped on the idea but hackle not so much. Hackle is a very structured guy. He makes sure everything runs smoothly and perfectly. He has been a phenomenal addition to The Bunch.
But anyway, Bjorn started to get me to do some of the acting clips and stuff like that. Getting shots of us going crazy, skinning in circles and what not. Bjorn was really hyped on the shots he got and he could visualize this plot thread running throughout the movie. Like I said earlier, he had the freedom to do what he wanted to do. He basically took our ironic, half joking idea and turned it into a pretty impor… a very impor… The most important part of the film!
Yeah, it works so well with his style of film making because it has this trippy, surreal vibe to it.
Magnus – It’s really nice that you say that it’s like a trip because we’re in that “Cow-crazy” mindset. It all starts with that FPV drone segment, is the spark that starts the trip. And then the night segment represents some kind of dark part of this trip. And then by the end of the movie, we sort of start getting out and back to normal.
Okay, nice. Yeah, really cool. Good acting by the way Magnus.
Speaking of losing one’s gourd, do you get more clip horney when filming in the streets or filming in the backcountry?
Magnus – I think it’s pretty similar honestly, it all depends on your situation. This season was like that because it’s not as easy for us to get clips in the backcountry than it is in the streets. So that drive was stronger here because we were feeling like we had a lack of banger clips. So yeah, depending on your situation. If you have 15 clips by Christmas, you can put yourself in this position where you’re kind of chilling throughout the season, which is the feeling I like the most. I like being clip horney because it’s such a strong motivation but I don’t like being stressed about having to get shots because time is running out. Yeah.
You recently started up your own ski company called 1000 Skis. Can you tell me a little bit about the origin story?
Magnus – I’ve been involved in the industry for a long time. It’s time we take more ownership of the industry that we’re in. If you look at skateboarding and surfing and stuff and you have these brands coming from the core of it. They also build support for their brand from within the industry they’re born out of. There are loads of ski brands but there aren’t many FREESKIING brands out there. Freeski specific brands are starting to pop up, but a lot of the ski bands are mostly alpine racing brands. Our brand is only focusing on freeskiing and I feel like we will have stronger support within the freeski community. So comes a lot from that, and just wanting to start a real business as well. While we were on top. Yeah.
Your skiing is fresh and your films are masterpieces. I’m sure 1000 skis will rise to the top just like everything else you guys do. What are you bringing to the world of skis production that hits different? What are you going to bring that’s fresh?
Magnus – We’re very experimental with materials and we’re really trying to push sustainability in a way that I think no other brain brands are. Both social sustainability and environmental sustainability. We’re looking through our whole value chain, our materials, and also the waste that the factory produces. We are starting off with a fairly narrow focus so that we can do a good job of mapping out the value chain one ski at a time and figure out what we can do to improve not only the skis, but also the manufacturing process as well.
What I’ve learned so far is that the formula for building good skis has been sort of similar for the past couple years at least. It’s not that there is any crazy technology right now that’s going to make the best ski ever. I think it’s still quite an easy recipe but I’m sure there’s going to be innovation there as well. We always want to stay on top of what’s going on with materials because that is where the advancements will come from.
We have a tight relationship with the Åre ski factory. I live in Åre so I go to the factory all the time, which is super nice for testing different shapes and flex patterns because we can give feedback to the builders face to face. We tried a lot of prototypes before we settled on our current line up.
Yeah, right now we’re just trying to learn, you know. We’re really stoked on skis we have so far.
The current line up consists of three skis – a park ski, an all mountain ski and a powder ski. They all have a relatively softer flex pattern to make them better for buttering and pressing. Do you customize your flex pattern to suit your skiing?
Magnus – Yeah, absolutely. These three skis that we’ve created are made to be playful. Purposely built soft so that you can butter them. They are made to do similar skiing to what we are doing. In the future we want to produce skis for every type of skier. We wanted to start off with this type of really playful twintip because it is what we want to ski. Eventually we want to have the perfect ski for everybody because I really appreciate all different types of skiing. Huge mountain skiing, touring and just carving you know. So I’d say this line is very based out of sort of our skiing, but eventually we’ll expand and explore different types as well.
What are your plans for the upcoming season?
Magnus – We are working on a new The Bunch film with Jens Nilsson and Luke Bredar to explore the possibilities of cinematography and fpv drone. Trying to navigate uncharted territory and create an impactful short ski film.
I’d love to give a shoutout to everyone in The Bunch, none of this would be possible without the contribution of each and everyone in the crew. Shoutout to myself for always believing in my highest excitement. Shoutout Björn Eklund who is the key ingredient in the success of this film. Shoutout to Alex Hackel, my brother. Shoutout to Evelina Nilsson being the balance in the force, Emil Granbom being the realest in the game, Hugo Burval taking the sound design of this project to new levels and showing out to be the biggest sender of the crazy cows, Shoutout to Luke Bredar for being an FPV genius and overall great guy and shoutout to Øystein Bråten and Jake Mageau for adding flavor. Shoutout to Haglöfs, Switzerland Tourism, Peak Performance and Newschoolers for supporting this project. Shoutout to everyone watching and supporting what we do, it would not be possible without you <3