We chat to Vero Sandler about how the idea for VISION came about and what it took to get from an idea into making her dream track a reality.
VISION drops today and follows Vero Sandler’s mission to get a track from her head into cold, hard dirt. We caught up with her for a chat about everything to do with making the edit a reality.
Who is Vero Sandler?
I’m a Kiwi mountain bike rider who has lived in the UK for the past four years and now call Wales my home.
How did VISION come about?
Myself and FiveTen/ Adidas Terrex started working together at the beginning of 2018. We’d been discussing ideas for a video project and came up with a few cool ones but this one was always going to be a winner from the start.
Ever since I started out riding I’ve been watching MTB videos and movies of awesome male riders building/ designing their dream jump lines. Its something thats always been in the back of my mind as something I want to do one day but it just never seemed like a reality being a female in such a male dominated sport.
Working with Adidas/Five Ten and especially my team manager CJ who has a massive vision for female riders progressing the sport has made everything possible. I’ve always imagined having a massive session with a bunch of male and female riders all together on an amazing jump line. Everyone is so busy these days in different parts of the world that its rare we all get a chance to ride together and get stoked watching each other ride.
I originally had an edit in mind where we’d build 3 or so jumps in a field and have a session, but after speaking to James from Revolution Bike Park it quickly became clear that we were going to have something unreal in the works and its all grown massively from there really! Those guys absolutely kill the game.
How hard is it to get an idea for a track in your head to making it a reality?
Working with Revolution Bike Park was the absolute dream as whatever ideas I threw at them they were up for. After going up there for the first time and seeing the area where we would build the line, I went back and changed my drawings a bit to suit the terrain better and James and his boys were up for what I’d scribbled down. Without those guys it would have been a mission, so big up Revo.
How did you pick you location for the build to start with?
We wanted to make the line sustainable as most of the jump lines I’ve seen in previous films are so epic but are then just left to decay after being shot. I really wanted to create something epic that we could have a session on, but then gets to be enjoyed by the public for years to come, so Revolution was the obvious choice. They’ve got the perfect spot to build, awesome dirt and the best crew out there to get the job done and have people come and send it for hopefully many years.
What’s unique about Revolution Bike Park with regards to getting this project dialled?
I think the people behind the bike park are what’s most special about the place. I’ve never seen more passionate, hard working guys who absolutely shred on their bikes as well, and that was everything we could have dreamed of for a spot to build the Vision line. It’s in a very accessible spot for me as well, so I was able to go up there regularly and discuss ideas with the guys during the build process.
Was getting the talent involved the easy part?
There was obviously a lot of work involved with the logistics etc of getting some of the overseas riders to come over between their busy schedules but everyone was super stoked to come and shred which was so cool.
I never imagined all these rad riders would agree to come and be a part of the video, I’m still blown away by it.
At what point did Five Ten/Adidas take on the project?
Fiveten/Adidas were in it from the start. When I first signed for them we discussed video ideas and building my dream jump line was the one that everyone was most stoked on so that’s what we went with! It started out as a small video project idea and just grew every time we discussed it. I cant believe what our little idea has ended up in.
Did you feel like you needed to elevate your riding for this film?
I did put a bit of pressure on myself as I feel so incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and felt like I really needed to step up my riding to do the film justice. I definitely pushed myself in a lot of different ways but absolutely loved the process.
The biggest challenge for me was riding La Poma Bike Park which was the first place we filmed at. As I’m pretty new to riding dirt jumps there were some scary moment and struggles in there. Luckily I had the legend Joey Gough to help me out with her pro tips.
How much creative freedom did you have with the actual filming? Did you just ride and it was filmed or could you call the shots?
We all worked really well together and everyone killed it doing their jobs. I think I was so busy concentrating on the riding side of things and knew that Seager and Robbie would kill it behind the lens. They got some unreal shots so I couldn’t be more stoked.
We got pretty lucky with most things I think. Our home section in Wales could have been an absolute mare but the sun decided to come out hot for the whole time which was so sick. All in all she was a pretty smooth one.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get a similar project off the ground?
Have a clear idea of what you want and speaking to the right people is key. Without CJ at Adidas none of this would have been possible. Luckily she is an absolute legend, super passionate about freeride and women in MTB so she was mega supportive of my ideas.
There are so many awesome people in the industry that will help support rad ideas so just find the ones who are stoked on it and put your ideas forward.
What did you have to sacrifice to get to this stage?
Not really a sacrifice to me, but putting riding and happiness before a good job/ steady income is the only way I have got to where I am today. It’s not everyone’s vibe, but being skint while trying to chase the dream is my number one tip.
Did you have any other projects you that you had to give up or postpone for this?
I actually had some other smaller projects and trips going on whilst filming Vision and as the project was spread out over 6ish month I was able to fit a few other bits in between shooting. Its been a very busy 6 months but the best times ever.
Where next for you?
I’m off to Whistler in a few weeks which I’m insanely hyped for. My first time over there in 4ish years so I cant wait it get amongst it again. I have a few exciting projects coming up at the end of the year too.. Good times ahead.
Anybody to thank at this point in the journey? Long suffering spouses/parents/friends?
Seager, Robbie, Dayson and CJ for all the amazing work the Vision project. My parents for their support when I first got into riding, G-Up crew for the constant hype, my boyfriend Max and all my awesome past and current sponsors for believing in me.