Former Diamond Dog head coach and Sugarbush Parks manager Tony Chiuchiolo is widely credited as the primary architect that brought Parks to where it is today. Current Parks manager Trevor Borelli shared, “Tony essentially built a team of parks superstars, most of which are still working with us. But one of the most important moves was to recognize the importance of telling our story with pictures and video.”
Even before Tony though, the overlap and interplay between the Diamond Dogs, Sugarbush Parks and world class imagery has been essential to each programs’ growth and success, and not just on snow. Right from the start, both Parks and Diamond Dogs have benefited from photographers and videographers shooting the freestyle features and the athletes on them. This cycle also allowed many aspiring shooters to get their careers started too.
Seth Neary of Driven Studios in Burlington was one of the first athletes to approach Sugarbush for permission to build a park way back in 1990 and became one of freestyle snowboarding’s first media stars in the process. Seth remembered, “Sugarbush and Bear Mountain in California were the first two freestyle parks in the country and everybody on the East Coast would come visit to ride and shoot. It was a symbiotic relationship with athletes and photographers and it turned out to be a win-win for both sides of the lenses. Initially, I was a rider, but with my first endorsement check, literally the first thing I bought was a Super8 video camera. When my pro riding started to wind down, I was ready to switch careers and Champlain College had a brand new multi-media program. Now I work with brands like Ben&Jerry’s, Seventh Generation and Cabot, while the entire staff is filled with action sports enthusiasts, which is really fun.”
Back in the day, it was folks like Gary Land, now famous for his worldwide photo/video productions and Trevor Graves, one of the founders of Nemo Designs and a former senior photographer at Snowboarder Magazine. Aaron Blatt was originally a Diamond Dog coach and is now a huge action sports photographer with credits all over the place.
As social media began to take hold, Tony saw an opportunity and asked to take over the Parks online presence. Trevor shared, “It was a little rough and raw in the beginning, but that turned into a ton of attention. Tony was ahead of the times with our social media and while we are more family-friendly now, it was his vision that helped connect the athletes and shooters that dovetailed into success for everyone.”
Tony hired Drew Amato, who shoots for the World Series of Poker now and gave a shot to Chas Truslow, who helps with the social media content, started the famous Catfish Chronicles and designed a bunch of PARKS logos. Tony also gave the nod to Ashley Rosemeyer, who’s been the official Parks photographer since 2013. In addition to working with Seth at Driven Studios, Ashley was featured in The Snowboarder’s Journal in 2020 and shot with VANS earlier this winter for next season’s catalog.
Ashley enthused, “From the beginning, Tony let me have free reign on my creative freedom while shooting. Every rider I have shot with has been down to help me bring these creative ideas to life. I think that has stuck with me while I am out in the field shooting on assignment to not be afraid of voicing these ideas and making something happen. The community is what kept me on the East Coast and Sugarbush for all of these years. I get to shoot photos of the best park on the East Coast with riders that have become some of my closest friends.”
Seth wrapped it up, “For an upcoming photographer and videographer, the Sugarbush parks are amazing opportunities to learn with lots of condensed action by great athletes and instant feedback. You can bring the skills you learned in the parks to commercial work. Having passion for your subject matter means you work harder to learn the techniques too. It’s not just a job.” Check out more work by Parks photographers and videographers at https://www.facebook.com/SugarbushParks1/, and you can also visit this gallery I put together.