Army Vet TJ Angus Stars in MTV 'Winter Break' Reality Series

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There have been spring breaks, Jersey shores and last year's "MTV Floribama Shore."

But one constant in reality shows about twentysomethings having a good time (or not, as the case may be) is that they are typically set when and where the sun shines. There hasn't been been much literal chilling out in the deep midwinter.

However, now comes MTV's new docu-series "Winter Break: Hunter Mountain," which debuts at 10:30 p.m. Feb. 27. Eight single young people (four men, four women) who were previously strangers share a cabin on Hunter Mountain in upper New York state. There's definitely snow on the slopes as the weather pours a cold one. Viewers will get to share the experience over the course of eight episodes.

"It's gonna be an awesome show. It's never been done before. It's the first reality show in the middle of winter," said one of the participants, Taylor James "TJ" Angus.

Angus, 24, grew up in Rutland, and seems like he was a good choice for "Winter Break."

"I love the winter," he said. "That's my favorite season. I've been snowboarding since I was 6 years old and I'll never stop." There's Massachusetts to thank for that. "I've always loved Massachusetts and where I'm from."

Angus has his friends to thank for becoming a potential reality TV star. "My friends signed me up for it. I got picked and they didn't get picked," Angus said.

Part of the selection process included Angus sending a video of himself and describing what he's like.

Were his friends upset that they didn't make the cut while he did? "Kind of, but they're my friends and they're excited I got on it," Angus said.

Angus' new friends on Hunter Mountain are Jeffrey Brewer "J. Brew" of Manchester, New Hampshire; Alessandra Camerlingo, Blairstown, New Jersey; Jillian Metz, Manalapan, New Jersey; Alex Shinder "Sheen," Hoboken, New Jersey; Taylar Shinn, Oroville, California; Marc Vinda, Bergenfield, New Jersey; and Carissa Witham, Waterbury, Connecticut.

The creative and production team for "Winter Break" was also behind the "Jersey Shore" reality shows that introduced us to Snooki and company, and "MTV Floribama Shore" which followed eight young adults who live together during the summer on the Gulf Coast at Panama City Beach. That show had eight episodes with titles such as "Drunken Words; Sober Thoughts" and "Eat, Pray, Party."

In "Winter Break," according to MTV, "the party moves from the beach to the mountains."

A jovial 30-second trailer suggests high jinks on Hunter Mountain including diving into the snow wearing swimming trunks, a broom on a bare rear, drinks, tears ("We can't be friends anymore"), exhortations ("Feel any better, you little boy?"), and cabin fever ("We've only been here five days!").

"Winter Break" was filmed over the course of a month about a year ago, Angus said. He wasn't at liberty during a recent prearranged telephone interview via MTV to discuss some aspects of the show such as whether any romance breaks out in the cabin. "You're probably going to have to watch the show to see that," he said.

Still, the time on Hunter Mountain "was a great experience," he said. "A lot of snowboarding. We had a lot of fun." Hunter Mountain itself is "a very nice mountain ... good snow for the East Coast. We call it the 'Ice Coast.' "

Angus graduated from Wachusett Regional High School in Holden and served on active duty in the U.S. Army with postings that included South Korea and Fort Riley in Kansas. He now works in construction and moved a couple of months ago from Rutland to the Chicago suburb of Homer Glen, Illinois.

He said he'll be watching the premiere of "Winter Break" there, while his parents view the show in Rutland. "Me and a lot of my friends are gonna watch it together."

Angus has stayed in touch with his friends from Hunter Mountain. "We all talk all the time. We're all pretty good friends," he said.

"MTV Floribama Shore" ranked as MTV's highest-rated new series debut in over three years and the series has been renewed for a 20-episode second season.

Asked if he would consider doing a reality TV show again, Angus said, "If an opportunity came up and I was asked about it and liked it, I would definitely do more."

Meanwhile, he has some advice for everyone back home. "Stay tuned to the show coming up. It's going to be a lot of fun," Angus said.

Contact Richard Duckett at richard.duckett@telegram.com. Follow him on Twitter @TGRDuckett. ___

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