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Nerve | Colby Stevenson
Get the true story of the history-making X Games gold medal run that almost never happened! Monster Energy is proud to announce the release of “Nerve”, a new video documentary featuring a true story about American freeski phenom and two-time X Games gold medalist Colby Stevenson.
Released today to global audiences across Monster Energy’s social media channels, the ten-minute video shows the 24-year-old U.S. Freeski Team rider from Park City, Utah, overcoming traumatic brain injury and rehabilitation after a near-career ending car crash in 2016.
“My whole dream, everything was over. I might not ever be the same again, but I always had hope,” said Stevenson, who prevailed to make X Games history and win two 2020/21 FIS Freeski Crystal Globes, in the new documentary. “Before the crash, I did not see how lucky I was. Once it was all taken away, I started seeing the beauty in the little things. I started to be grateful.”
Produced by Monster Energy, “Nerve” was written and directed by professional freeski athlete and filmmaker Clayton Vila, who mixed archival footage from Stevenson’s career with candid interviews.
After stepping on skis before the age of 2, Stevenson became obsessed with freestyle skiing during his childhood and adolescence. Building his skillset in halfpipe and slopestyle, the Park City local soon turned heads on the amateur circuit. “I skied every day, all winter long. All I wanted to do was go fast, catch air, and learn new tricks,” said Stevenson in the documentary.
His immense bag of tricks and penchant for progression landed Stevenson invites to Grand Prix Olympic qualifying events and major competitions series at age 15. Competing against the biggest names on the circuit, the prodigy earned a spot on the U.S. Freeski Team in 2015 and seemed headed for the big stage: The X Games and Winter Olympics. But his world shattered in May 2016 when, on an eleven-hour drive from Mount Hood resort, Stevenson fell asleep at the wheel and veered off the road.
The gifted skier suffered multiple skull fractures in the crash and doctors had little hope for a full recovery, let alone freestyle skiing on a professional level. Over the coming months, Stevenson endured vertigo and memory problems but showed the will to power through the ordeal. After only two months, he was not only able to walk again but ride his bike, asking doctors: “When can I ski again?”
Although his medical team gave Stevenson the green light to resume training, more battles were ahead. After all, completing physical rehab is one thing; landing massive aerials and backflips over a snow park ramp is an entirely different ballgame. Speaking on the experience of landing his first tricks after recovery, Stevenson said in the documentary: “I cannot tell you the rush I had. I never felt so much gratitude in my life. I was weaker, but I still had the muscle memory… It’s not over!”
As it turned out, Stevenson was just getting started. Only eight months after the near-fatal crash, Stevenson won his career-first FIS World Cup at Seiser Alm, Italy, in January 2017. From there, he earned a ticket to fulfill his childhood dream: Competing at Winter X Games, the world’s biggest stage in action winter sports.
The rest is freeski history: In his debut at X Games Aspen 2020, the Monster Energy athlete achieved what no other X Games rookie had done in the event’s twenty-year history: After winning the Ski Knuckle Huck competition, Stevenson became the first rookie in X Games history to claim Ski Slopestyle gold. Since then, he has earned critical acclaim for his progressive IGNITE video part and ended his 2021 season with a first-place Slopestyle finish in the final at the U.S. Grand Prix World Cup, as well as the FIS Slopestyle and Overall Freeski Crystal Globe trophies.
The secret to success? “The crash taught me life lessons that make me a better person and ultimately make me a better competitor,” said Stevenson in the documentary.
“Nerve” was written and directed by Monster Energy athlete and filmmaker Clayton Vila. After growing up on Block Island, New England, Vila built a career as a pro freeskier on the strength of self-published online videos, including 2008’s “Clayton Vila Shreds Block Island”. Vila’s debut as a filmmaker, the documentary “For Lack of Better”, garnered honors as Film of the Year at the Powder Awards in 2015. He received an X Games bronze medal for his freeski performance in the 2016 Real Ski video competition. Vila produces commercials and films through his production company, Greenpoint Pictures.