SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

With Survivor filming for season 41 and 42 indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show’s past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they’ve been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.

Michael “Frosti” Zernow was a pretty chill dude when he appeared on Survivor: China back in 2007. Which is why in a season full of big combustible personalities, the youngest member of the cast at only 20-years-old says he” felt like a lot of the time I was acting as a mediator or pacifier for the chaotic energies of my fellow paranoid, starving castaways.”

Frosti was known for much more than that. He was also recognized as a likeable player willing to throw caution to the wind while throwing himself head and feet first into some very physical challenges. Which is exactly why the other players had to vote him out before he got too close to the end and racked up individual immunities and jury votes. The fan favorite — who now goes by Frosti Snow — was eventually voted out in eighth place.

We fired off a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to the parkour master to get his thoughts 13 years later on his time in China, as well as up update on what he’s been up to since then. So take a chill pill and get ready for a heaping helping of Frosti.

Frosti Zernow Survivor
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS


ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you’ve been up to since appearing on Survivor.

MICHAEL “FROSTI” SNOW: I fell in love, moved to California, and got married. I was a sponsored parkour athlete as well as a stuntman. Now I am one of the owners of Tempest Freerunning, which makes clothes, shoes, & state of the art training facilities for parkour. I’m a Red Bull TV host and recently created a new game for making connections called Canyons, which had me traveling the country giving talks & playing games at schools, conferences, and events.

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

Honestly, I think just getting on the show was a really big deal that I didn’t fully acknowledge until way later. I am a pretty confident guy, so going into the casting I felt like I was a perfect choice, but, in reality, I was underage, inexperienced, and really just fortunate to be there. Now when I look back at the game, I’m proud of myself for having no idea what I was getting myself into but still turning it into one of the biggest learning experiences of my life.

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?

I believe that how you do one thing is how you do all things. I had thought of Survivor as a way to show the world who I am, so I tried to play a good game, then got caught up trying to compete well and be friends with everyone. I should have been thinking of it as a game, one that’s meant to be won. Nobody judged Todd for backstabbing or lying. He literally did both to me and I voted for him to win in the end. The next time I get a chance like that, I’m in it to win it.

What’s something that will blow fans’ minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?

Even though it is a TV show I think a lot of people don’t realize what goes into making it. There’s a lot of waiting around. A lot of rules. The first week of filming, we were in Shanghai and traveling on a train together to film our intro but we weren’t allowed to speak. At meals, during/between filming, all silent. The first time I got to talk to any of the other castaways was after days of being around them under the watchful eye of the producers. Same thing on the bus/boat rides to and from Tribal or challenges. They used to threaten if we didn't stop talking they would make us wear blackout bags on over our heads like we were going to go see a crime lord.

How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?

I think mine was relatively fair, but they really focus on the interpersonal experiences we had (obviously, DRAAAAMAAA! Right?). I felt like a lot of the time I was acting as a mediator or pacifier for the chaotic energies of my fellow paranoid, starving castaways. I really actually had fun working around the camp, searching for food and resources, generally just exploring and enjoying my time out there. That doesn’t really come through in my edit, but I was told by a few members of the crew that I seemed like I had more fun on the show than anyone else ever had.

What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?

I think it was harder to trust people. I had a little voice in the back of my head all the time reminding me that someone could be lying. I also hoarded food. Mostly chips.

Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?

I never regretted going on the show. There were definitely some challenging moments, but that’s why I wanted to be there. How often in life are you given the chance to do something truly difficult, to sacrifice the things and people who offer the most support or comfort in your life in exchange for the unknown and exciting? It's a rare opportunity I wouldn't trade for almost anything.

Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?

Right after the show, I spent the most amount of time with Todd and Courtney. We had so much fun together on and off the island. The partying definitely got crazy for me after a while, so I took some time off the scene. When I was living in New York, I got to hang out with Courtney which was amazing, and since I’ve been in quarantine I’ve had a few calls with the old tribe. Peih-Gee is hosting an online game night I went to and I got to catch up with Leslie, Sherea, Denise, Jamie, Erik, and Todd the other day for a charity Zoom. No one knows where James is (do you know? Say hi for me if you see him!) and I haven’t heard from Dave or Chicken in years.

Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what’s your favorite season you were not on and why?

I wish I had been on Winners at War because that would mean I would had won my season.

Who’s one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?

Ozzy was the person I wanted to compete against physically the most. I met him a few times over the years and he seemed like a pretty nice guy. I think in the water he could take me, but in an obstacle course I would definitely have an advantage. We did both compete on American Ninja Warrior, I don’t remember how he did, but I set a record for fastest qualifying time in ANW history.

If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?

It would have more Frosti on it. Every season. It’s what the people want!

Finally, would you play again if asked?

In a heartbeat.

To keep track of our daily Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires and get all latest updates, check out EW's Survivor hub, and follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning $1 million, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "Dig deep!"

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