Erik Roner is a Lake Tahoe-based pro skier. He's also a BASE jumper. And now he's been cast on Nitro Circus, a reality show on MTV that Johnny Knoxville personally pitched. We caught up with Roner while he was filming the series in Utah.
How did Nitro Circus start?
There are these guys from Utah who’ve made rowdy dirt-bike movies over the years starring [motocross pro] Travis Pastrana. Then they linked up with Dickhouse Productions, the guys who made Jackass, to do an Evil Knievel tribute show. Johnny Knoxville saw it and said, “We need to make this a show.” So Knoxville walked into a meeting with MTV suits, stammered for a couple of minutes, then said, “It’s like Jackass, only these guys have skills.” Now they want 12 episodes.
And what do you do?
They picked me more for my parachute stuff than my skiing. We travel around and each episode is geared toward a different cast member, though Travis is always the star. When it was my turn, they made me back-flip a dirt bike. And here’s the thing: I don’t even know how to ride a dirt bike.
Jesus. Did you land it?
On my third try. It’s a miracle we’re still not hurt. Everyone’s taken a beating but still standing. During the Utah episode we set or broke 42 world records. We set the land-speed record for a lawn mower, the most [four] people on a dirt bike to go over a 25-foot gap jump.
Your junk must be killing you.
It’s OK, but thank you for asking. And that was nothing. I tied a rope between two hot-air balloons and jumped off. We raced RVs before it turned into an RV crash-up derby. We BASE jumped off the Palms Casino in Vegas.
Your parents must be thrilled.
Well, they understand what makes me happy. They’re nervous to see the show. You never know how people portray you on these reality shows. But there’s no drama on the show.
Wait—you all get along on a reality TV show? That has to be a record too.
It’s not like [shrill voice] “You bitch, you slept with my boyfriend!” There’s camaraderie. It’s a shared look at our own idiocy. Later we’ll be filming two winter episodes in Jackson. The other guys on the show suck at skiing and hate the cold. That’ll be my time to shine.
- SKIING MAGAZINE, FEBRUARY/MARCH 2009