Filming for two projects at the same time is a ton of work… I imagine. I’ve have never done it, not many people have. And not only did Gian Sutter film for two movies, Escape 2005 and Salomon’s Foyer, but he scored the coveted ender part for the latter and still had enough heavy clips to be a highlight in the former. He is about as calculated as an up-and-coming pro snowboarder can be when it comes to how his tricks look on screen, and because of that, he will probably have as many two project winters as he would like. Born and raised in Zurich, Gian has been traveling for snowboarding since his early days competing, but with 2021 being the first year he was tapped to film in the U.S. as well as his home continent, he did not take the opportunity lightly. Go watch his clips from this past winter and you will see what I mean…
I hate writing intros. He says a good amount about a lot below. Enjoy. – Mark Clavin
Date of Birth: 26.03.1999
Home Mountain: Laax, Switzerland
Sponsors: Salomon, Vans, Doodah
Mark: How was filming for Foyer + Escape last year? Busy season?
Gian: It was really busy! my first time focusing on a project, other than the homie crew escape was a new experience for me. I tried to squeeze the Escape trips in between Salomon trips. It was really important to me to keep that going. Filming with the homies and doing the own video is just the best. Two really different approaches too, Escape was more of a crew homie, mixtape vibe. And with Salomon, we all didn’t know each other but grew together throughout the season.
Yeah, any major differences between the new crew and Escape?
Communication is different, with the homies it’s easy to be straight forward. I know their ideas and opinions on stuff. We are all from the same background and have the same vision for stuff. With Foyer, it was a mixed crew of people, you need to adapt more or be open for different stuff I think.
How was the communication at the end of the winter?
We spent almost three months together during Foyer. It became more natural and comfortable being straight forward for sure.
Would you describe yourself as a perfectionist when it comes to your tricks?
Definitely! If there’s one thing in a clip of me that I don’t like, I don’t want to watch it… even of how the clip looks as a whole… not just what I’m doing in it.
What was the longest battle you had this season trying to land something?
I had a couple two day missions but the one that I think of is a dfd in Finland on an Escape trip. I got a concussion trying a sw bs lip. When we came back to Finland with Salomon after taking a break, I wanted to do it again… but I ended up doing the trick on a different, smaller rail haha.
Obvious one, but for the people that don’t know you… are you more comfortable in the streets or on a jump?
Rails. Street. To me, backcountry needs so much experience and time to get comfortable.
How did you start snowboarding?
When my little sister started to ski we went to the beginner lift with my family and because skiing there was to boring for me I picked up a snowboard.
That was at five years old in Switzerland, it’s called Scuol, a small resort in the Engadin.
You grew up in Zurich, right? How has that influenced your riding?
Yup. Well, I didn’t start going to the mountains on a weekly basis until I was twelve. We would go snowboarding with my family in the winter holidays. From Zurich, it’s like a three hour drive to where my parents have a holiday house. When I was twelve I met some local kids who boarded there every weekend and I wanted to do that too, so my dad looked around in Zurich if there were people who take you to the mountains to do that so my parents didn’t have to. Eventually he found a snowboard team called Iceripper and I started going on a regular basis with them… that’s how I got into riding contests and everything.
Iceripper?! Sounds like a team from the Mighty Ducks.
Haha, I don’t know that! But after doing some local contests, I went to a snowboard high school in Engelberg at the age of 15.
How was snowboarding high school?
Thats when i started riding Laax on a weekly basis
Snowboard high school still always sounds like a Disney movie to me. Did you have rail class and jump class?
It was amazing. Haha pretty much. I used to ride a lot of pipe too back then, switching between slope and pipe. Our coaches were cool though, it got more serious when I got older
What’s the breakdown of class time with like math, history all that and then getting to go ride the resort?
They were super flexible, so we would go board for like 2-3 days during the week and then have only school for 2-3 days. If we would miss an exam, we could take it later on once the season was over.
Is history class harder in Europe compared to the U.S. because it’s so much older?
I hope you guys learn some stuff on how it all happened over here!
Were there any other subjects that you were interested in back then? Or sports/hobbies?
I actually was always pretty good at history haha, and football. It’s called football, not soccer. Snowboarding wise, the first thing I ever saw was halfpipe contests on television… the Swiss were balling back then, with Christian Haller and Iouri. Those were my idols when I first started riding.
You are a real national pride kinda guy. Who’s your team for World Cup, Switzerland?
Dude it’s hard, I don’t know what my feelings are for this World Cup.. I haven’t really been watching it. It’s just really fucked to me how this all happened there in Qatar so I don’t really want to support it. I‘ve only glimpsed in when the Swiss were playing there first game. The goalkeeper of my fave team, St. Gallen plays for Ghana, so i’m really down with them.
You still play at all?
In summer, I def wish I was but I quit for snowboarding when I went to sport school. I do go watch a lot of games if I’m at home. It’s so different then the whole snowboard culture. It’s a good refreshment for me.
How tall are you?
Haha, I don’t know in feet. I’m about 186cm.
That is 6’1”.
Haha, thanks! 6’1″ sounds pretty cool. I really like to watch other tall people board, but I feel like its way harder that the outfit looks good when you’re tall.
You going to school as well? Didn’t you say you were studying graphic design?
I want to! I did a two semester course at the University of arts for design, snowboarding has been going really well lately so it keeps getting pushed forward… but I definitely want to do it at some point.
You used to compete in pipe, how has the transition been to filming full time?
Yes! I went to the youth olympics in Oslo in 2016, in pipe. Nik Baden won that year! That was pretty much the last pipe comp I did. After that, I transitioned more into slope, and eventually started filming with the homies through the influence of older riders who showed us videos and already made videos themselves. I did that between competing for a couple years and eventually it took over, so it went pretty natural.
How’d you link up with Escape?
Lou Staub (filmer of Escape) is a couple years older than most of us and he was already filming with a different Swiss crew called Mindset. Eventually they stopped doing videos, but Lou wanted to make his own and he hit me & a couple of my homies up.
And cut to, this will be your 5th video together?
Exactly! With a couple new guys in the mix this year. Sebi Springeth, Pierrot Scafidi and Kevin Ignacia.
You get more and more recognition every year.
Definitely! Last year was the biggest gap for us. We were overwhelmed by all the reaction especially from overseas because we didn’t know anyone from the U.S. crews. We ended up winning regional video of the year from Torment and we still don’t know how that happened.
What’s the story behind the buzz cut in the middle of the season?
I always get bored when I have the same cut for too long.
Does it really matter when you just wear a Baker hat all season? Is Mt. Baker your favorite place after riding it while filming for Foyer?
It’s actually s baker skateboards hat!! People would assume I got it at Mt. Baker. It was really cool there, but I’m really down with baker skateboards.
How much have you filmed in the US prior to Foyer?
Never! That’s what was so cool to me about that project was that Salomon connected people from Europe and the states. Growing up, it always seemed pretty separate and not a lot of riders make it overseas. I met so many people from the scene in the states and it was the same for the everyone else when they were in Europe.
Utah, Mt. Baker, Pittsburgh… rank them 1,2,3.
Pitts 1, Utah 2 for hanging out, Baker 2 for boarding.
Best food you had in the US?
Favorite clip in Foyer?
Favorite clip in Escape 2005?
How did you decide to split spots for the movies in Finland? Both Foyer and Escape went through there.
I went to that place with all the Escape homies and there was so much more stuff to do so we went back for the Salomon trips and tried to hit all that.
You like part based projects or ensemble homie movies more, since you were in one of each this year?
If you really stack a good amount of footy and cool clips, I like parts a lot, otherwise i prefer a mixtape vibe more.
And last one, plans for this upcoming season?
I got this plan for a video together with sebi springeth and finn westbury & then we want to do a little escape flick again! I got pretty burned out towards the end, maybe keep it a bit more mellow at the start this year so I can film longer in Spring.