Videographer aims to bring more diversity to snowboarding
Special to the Sierra Sun
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE—- A lot has changed over the past year for Luis Medearis, who went from never having been on a snowboard to becoming a successful snowboard videographer. Medearis is one of the few Black videographers in the industry and he’s hoping to use his success to inspire Black youth and change the face of snowboarding.
Medearis grew up in Los Angeles and attended college in Sacramento. His future in-laws have a home in Tahoe, so last year Medearis and his fiance, Vendela Williams moved to Kings Beach.
Medearis said Williams is Half Swedish and Half Black and has always enjoyed being outside. She inspired him to try snowboarding.
He had played college basketball and coached youth basketball, but had never tried snowsports.
“I enjoyed the challenge,” Medearis said.
Shortly after picking up a snowboard, he also picked up a camera and began filming his friends snowboarding.
“I took some really big slams at first but it was super rewarding,” Medearis said.
Despite his several falls and mishaps, Medearis was soon creating content for Boreal. Shortly after, he got his first paid gig at Palisades.
From August to December 2021 he traveled to Mt. Hood, Ore. with the Burton Team. Medearis struggled with getting snow on his lenses and combating the brightness of snow. He said that it was an awful experience but also an incredible learning opportunity.
Just last week, Feb. 5-12, Medearis was in Aspen, Colo. shooting at the National Brotherhood of Skiers Week.
“It was amazing, walking around the village and seeing a bunch of people who look like me,” Medearis.
Snowsports are not known for diversity. A 2020-21 Snowsports Industries America Participation Study showed that only 38% of snowboarders were diverse.
So while the personal success has been great for Medearis, his main goal is to inspire Black youth to join the sport.
“I want to show them there is more than just bouncing a ball or rapping… if you want something, it doesn’t matter what you look like,” Medearis said. “They shouldn’t be limited by what they think they should do.”
While Medearis has experienced a few odd glances or aggression, he said, “In Tahoe it’s been nothing but love, I’ve had amazingly awesome experiences.”
The National Brotherhood of Skiers is also working to diversify the industry. To learn more or donate, visit http://www.nbs.org.
Medearis’ work can be found at https://www.instagram.com/cuban_lu/?hl=en.
Laney Griffo is a staff writer for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun
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