Shift : Making Paradigme New Episode + Some Words with Jon Vital

If you’ve seen our latest magazine then you know we’re pretty excited about the new project from Ero One Films. Well there’s also a behind the scenes series following the crew that’s been airing on Epic TV. We got in touch with Jon Vital, the man who’s making it happen to find out more. A full interview with one of our favorite Frenchmen below but first check out their latest edit.

Hey Jon, you’ve been in this game for quite a while now. Can you tell our readers about the other snowboard projects you’ve worked on over the years?
Yeah time flies and it’s now my 7th year working on snowboarding projects. I started with Ero One and stayed with them for 4 years: Stick’em Up, Voilà, La cassette and White Grave. They decided to stop making movies after White Grave and I got the opportunity to work for the Finnish production KBR (thanks to Jani Sorasalmi who’d been filming for Ero One the last 2 years) for 2 winters until they stopped their activities too.
I couldn’t be happier than working on a new project with my old friends from Ero One this year!!

The latest episode of Shift focuses mainly on street. I guess you’ve also had a lot of experience shooting in some of the iconic regions for that style of riding, like Canada and Scandinavia. But Paradigme is mainly filmed in Valais. What’s different about filming street spots around here?
Well there are a lot of differences between shooting street in Valais and shooting street in Finland or Quebec for example. There are a lot of reasons why most of the crews are going to Scandinavia or Canada to shoot street parts but the main reason is : the spots. Most of the cities of Scandinavia are under the snow from end of November to end of April and big cities with big buildings under the snow means a lot of handrails and tons of different kind of spots. In Switzerland, if you want to hit some street spots you have go search for cities over 1500 meters high which are more like small villages or resorts. Spots are harder to find, you need more imagination but still, this episode shows you that there are still a lot of things to do and new spots to find!

Fred Couderc at one of many unlikely spots in Valais. © Thierry Sermier
Fred Couderc at one of the many unlikely spots hidden in Valais. © Thierry Sermier

What was your favorite spot from this season?
I can easily say that my favorite spot is the ledge to gap we filmed near the Furka tunnel. Or maybe it’s not about only this spot but the whole day, because we filmed the 2 biggest spots of the season the same day (we filmed this wall ride over the tunnel entrance in the morning as well). It was bluebird, end of the season so getting warm, we had really good shots everybody was stoked about and had a nice « street BBQ » with the crew.

Who’s your favorite guy to work with when you’re shooting street spots?
Haha. Damn, I can’t really tell you, this is going to make some people jealous!!! To be honest everybody has a different way to work on shooting street and we’re not talking about 5 or 6 guys working together but it’s more about one crew. I mean everybody is involved and some guys are better at shaping than finding spots and some other are better at pulling the bungee or driving the winch… It’s a pleasure to work with everyone even though we sometimes fight about how to shape the spot or whatever!

Cédric Giovanola came out of retirement to stack some shots for Paradigme. © Thierry Sermier
Cédric Giovanola came out of retirement to stack some shots for Paradigme. © Thierry Sermier

How has it been working with Rose again after all of these years?
Great, absolutely great! I love working with Rose as he’s a really talented filmmaker and I still learn a lot of things every time I work with him. He knows what he wants and how to get it. He is really passionate and he likes to be surrounded by people who are also passionate for filming and snowboarding, so it’s always a pleasure working with him.

The first episode you released had a lot of spots from the Champéry region. What do you like about shooting there?
Well, I have been filming there for almost 8 years now because we spent most of the time filming backcountry with Ero One and then KBR there. I like the diversity of the spots you can find there, you can shoot pretty much in every kind of weather : you find some good spots in the forrest like pillows and road gaps when it’s foggy or snowy, and there are a lot of different good areas to build different kind of kickers (hip, perfect jumps, step-downs, …) without hiking for ages when it’s bluebird.

I saw you spent a bunch of time with Féfé. He’s always been quite a character, and now even more so since he came back from the jungle… haha. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working with a guy like that?
Haha yeah, Féfé… He is a character for sure! I remember when I was filming for Ero One his nickname was Féfé « Pain in the neck » Pellacani (cf. Ero One « Voila » credits), and he still owns this nickname sometimes for sure. He is still acting sometimes like a little kid trying to push you over the edge, teasing you and so on. But he can be really funny and can make really good jokes to lighten the mood when the crew is getting stressed or pissed on a session. He can stay motivated regardless of the spot and is a really stylish backcountry rider.

How about Mat Schaer? I guess he was pretty much on fire last season
Wow, Mat… He’s an alien! I haven’t been filming with him for like 2 or 3 seasons and now he was like coming from outer space to me. Probably the best backcountry rider I’ve ever filmed and for sure the most motivated rider I’ve ever met. He’s down to film 2, 3 or 4 spots a day if he can and got at least 2 tricks in the bag on every spots he films… I got a total respect for this guy, he deserves everything he’s got and even more!

Mat Schaer, taking it to 11 for Paradigme. © Ahriel
Mat Schaer, taking it to 11 for Paradigme. © Ahriel

How was it getting a couple of Swiss Germans involved in the crew this year?
It was a really good experience. It wasn’t planned like that at the beginning of the season but we happened to have Levi and Aurel in a few backcountry sessions in January and we decided to add them in the crew, as they are really good riders! So they invited us to their home spots during the season (Simplon Pass for Levi and Saas Fee for Aurel) so we discovered new places and new spots to film. So it was actually what we needed for the movie.

Levi and Auri always know where to find powder. © Ahriel
Levi and Auri always know where to find powder. © Ahriel

What’s next for Jon Vital? Got plans for this season already?
Well there are still 2 more episodes ready to drop for Epic Tv in the next weeks. And then I’ve got no plans yet for the upcoming season, we will see what happens when all the episodes are online, if we continue something with the same crew or start working on something else. Time will tell !

Anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to thank all the people I’ve been working with past season : all the riders, photographers, filmers and a special shoot out to Rose and Tché. Thanks to the sponsors that made it happen, Epic TV, Whiteout, Ahriel, Ivan Zwahlen and Numa for the places to stay around Les Portes du Soleil and everyone that made everything possible! Yes!!!

Thanks for your time! We’re really looking forward to seeing your next episode.

Jon Vital © Thierry Sermier
Jon Vital © Thierry Sermier