The videographer aims to bring more diversity to snowboarding
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE—- A lot has changed in the past year for Luis Medearis, who has gone 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 hopes to use his success to inspire black youth and change the face of snowboarding.
Medearis grew up in Los Angeles and attended the University of Sacramento. His future in-laws have a home in Tahoe, so last year Medearis and his fiancée, Vendela Williams, moved to Kings Beach.
Medearis said Williams was half Swedish and half black and had always enjoyed being outdoors. She inspired him to try snowboarding.
He had played college basketball and coached youth basketball, but had never tried winter sports.
“I enjoyed the challenge,” Medearis said.
Shortly after picking up a snowboard, he also grabbed a camera and started filming his friends snowboarding.
“I took some really big slams early on, but it was super rewarding,” Medearis said.
Despite its many downfalls and misadventures, Medearis quickly created content for Boréal. Soon after, he got his first paid gig in Palisades.
From August to December 2021, he traveled to Mt. Hood, Oregon with Team Burton. Medearis struggled to get snow on its lenses and struggle with snow brightness. He said it was a horrible experience but also an incredible learning opportunity.
Just last week, February 5-12, Medearis was in Aspen, Colorado filming during National Brotherhood of Skiers week.
“It was amazing to walk around the village and see a bunch of people who look like me,” Medearis said.
Snow sports are not known for their diversity. A 2020-21 Snowsports Industries America participation study showed that only 38% of snowboarders were diverse.
So while personal success has been great for Medearis, its main goal is to inspire young black people to join the sport.
“I want to show them that it’s not 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 experienced a few odd or mugged looks, he said, “At Tahoe it was nothing but love, I had some incredibly 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 an editor for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication to the Sierra Sun