Steamboat Springs For years, Julian Bristow was another one of the Steamboat Ski Area tourists, watching TV18 each morning while he put his gear on, slid on his boots and grabbed his skis to hit the slopes while on vacation.
In those days, Bristow was a player on the Los Angeles Rugby Club, living in Southern California with his wife, Astrid Reichelt. Steamboat was a yearly vacation for the couple, a chance to break away from the big-city lifestyle and return to their small-town roots.
Bristow, a native of New Zealand, said that when his rugby contract was up in 2011 and it came time to leave Los Angeles, there was really only one destination.
“As soon as we finished up our business in Los Angeles, we just said, ‘Where do we want to go?’” Bristow said. “In the same breath, we both said, 'Steamboat.'”
So the couple packed up and left, and Bristow began managing the Bear River Bar & Grill, just a stone’s throw away from the stage TV18’s anchor Reed Jones sets up winter mornings in Gondola Square. Bristow said he sometimes would wander over to Jones and company, giving the crew updates from the base.
Bristow’s infectious personality intertwined with his heavy Kiwi accent just seemed right for television, and Jones expressed interest in having him on the show as a co-host, when the time was right.
With the Bear River job out of the picture, Jones approached Bristow again, and the opportunity was a no-brainer. Along with the convenience of producing at the base of the mountain, the job was the total package.
“I live so close to the mountain,” Bristow said. “I can get to the stage first thing in the morning. I’m not doing anything that time of the morning anyway, but now I have my gear with me. As soon as the show’s done, skis on.”
But first things first, and that’s producing a morning show that caters to locals and the visitors Bristow once was. He said he likes to add a little flavor to the show, sprinkling in at least a few jokes as the show wears on.
And being on camera is nothing new for the Kiwi, after spending much of his childhood in Mattel TV commercials for the famous board game Battleship. More recently, using his deep rugby background, Bristow served as a consultant on the set of the Clint Eastwood-directed movie “Invictus,” starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.
With his background and personality, Bristow already is cooking up ideas he and Jones can put together to take TV18 to another level.
“When we have a chance to do the interviews, let’s bring in those real interest groups,” Bristow said. “I want to get more tourists and local stage.”
It’s work not necessarily like anything Bristow has done before, but he said it doesn't feel like work so far, and he’s settling in nicely.
“It is so much fun,” Bristow said. “I walk up to the stage and set up the camera at 7:15 a.m. Reed shows up and essentially we just have a chat. We are giving viewers the information they need and we meet some cool people.”
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll
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