This Is Me: Jools Rotniemer-Benker

Actions sports fanatic and epicTV presenter Jools Rotniemer-Benker chats spotlights, humility and the love for shred

Interview by Anna Langer

I’m not going to lie, I enjoy being in front of the camera. But it was never what I set out to do with my life, it all just kind of happened. I was asked to join the Snowfix crew as a co-presenter (with my beloved and badly missed Tim Ackroyd and Charles Davison) when I did my first season back in 2006, and I was hooked on the whole production side of things from day one. Presenting and interviewing’s awesome, but I like stalking my favourite athletes, researching them, scripting our shows, filming interviews and editing our features just as much.

EpicTV’s the brainchild of a bunch of adventure lovers. The guys who came up with the concept all have very different backgrounds (from highly successful businessmen to highly successful ski bums) but still share this love of sports and adventure. So they came up with an online adventure film library, kind of like a Spotify of awesome adventure movies, really. So in order to make this happen, they gathered an amazing group of people and I was lucky enough to join them as a presenter, assistant producer, tea-maker and office loud mouth.

Now I spend my days watching surf and snowboard movies and talking to athletes to find out who did what, when and where. I “turned to the dark side”, as my dad would say, when I was 16. He put us kids on skis before we could even walk and took us up the hill every weekend, we were so spoilt. When I hit my teens, I realised that all the skaters I used to hang out with were all on snowboards, so I asked my parents if they’d buy me one. They answered something like “we’ll buy you all the skis you want but if you want to go and do that thing, you’re gonna have to work for it”, so I got a job in the local factory one summer and earned enough cash to get my very first board.

I love snowboarding and there are very few things in the world that beat the feeling of a pow day with Dom, my favourite shred buddy, but I think I may have a slight preference for surfing. I like how easy it is, put on a bikini, grab a board, paddle out and catch a wave, or drown, which is what I seem to spend a lot of time doing.

Since I started working at Epic, I’ve met some seriously inspiring female athletes who have made me realise just how much girls charge, in every sport, whether it be snowboarding or wingsuit flying, kayaking or climbing. I’m in awe of all the pros, the athletes who devote their lives to their sport, their dedication, their strength, their determination. I really do feel, and I know this has been said before and it might sound cliché, but I really do feel that women aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Might be down to the fact that women (for the most part) are quite humble and do their sport for the love of it rather than for the fame/money/recognition it might bring them.

I love the world I work in and I love the people who make up my days, but if I could change one or two things about the boardsports scene, I would make gear less pricey and lift passes more affordable.

And I would make sure that women got to drop in first on the FWT!

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