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Ski Movie Trailer Season

August 11, 2011

Dreaming about snow and ski slopes in the middle of the summer may seem perverse to most, but for those with a passion – neigh addiction – for winter sports, the Northern hemisphere’s sunniest months are blighted by reminders of the impending ski season in the form of trailers for the latest round of ski and snowboard movies.

With all the biggest jumps, longest jibs, wince-inducing stacks, silliest skits and gnarliest lines of last season committed to tape, then meticulously edited and lovingly synced with songs, the big guns start teasing with clips that start us thinking about where to take our next winter adventure, rather than which beach to go to or what to stick on the barbie. I’ve long since come to terms with my addiction – as well as the fact that I’ll never be good enough to emulate any of the feats displayed – so I’m happy to spend some summer downtime marvelling at the bombastic spectacle that is ski movie trailer season. Here are a few of my favourites so far:

First up is the long-awaited film dedicated to my favourite free-skier (after Shane McConkey, RIP), Seth Morrison. ‘The Ordinary Skier’ traces his journey from the middle class suburbs of Chicago, to the Colorado Rockies, and into the underground ski-bum subculture that would eventually become Freeskiing; or so says the blurb. Very much of the old school mould, Morrision lets his skiing do the talking – all hucking hundred foot cliffs and straight-lining narrow gullies – while the plaudits roll in from his peers.

Another skier deserving of his own film is Tanner Hall. In a far shorter space of time he’s racked up just as impressive a CV as anyone in the sport. He won seven golds and four silvers at the Winter X Games – twice coming back from career-threatening injuries in 2005 and 2009 – he set up Armada Skis in 2002 and part owns snowcat ski hill Retallack in British Columbia with Seth Morrison. It’s this mountain that his movie is named after, with the action covering his return to skiing after two years out from the tibial plateau fractures and ACL tears in both knees he suffered after overshooting a jump at Stevens Pass in Washington. I met him briefly in New Zealand, and contrary to his slightly bratty image of old, he actually seems like a really decent guy after all he’s been through, so its nice to see him enjoying huge backcountry jumps, seemingly endless pillow lines and epic tree skiing again.

One of Tanner’s champions in the past, if you’re looking for the cream of the new school crop, then Poor Boyz Productions‘ are consistently your go-to guys. Their latest effort is called ‘The Grand Bizarre’ and features the likes of Bobby Brown (not that one, this one), Nick Martini, Dane Tudor, Sammy Carlson and Simon Dumont in his incredible Red Bull cubed pipe. Expect lots of style progression, urban aerobatics  and immature hi-jinks in-between.

Consistently my favourite ski movie producers, the mighty Matchstick Productions, look like they may have blown away the competition again though; and with such a simple concept. The infamous La Niña weather system was particularly harsh and heavy last year, bringing record snowfalls across the Rockies and coastal ranges of North America, so MSP stayed at home and simply recorded the incredible footage of the world’s best skiers getting lost in the deepest power ever seen. The secret of a good trailer is choosing a big, powerful song and classily editing your best bits in time. They’ve nailed it on both points here; Manchester Orchestra’s ‘Virgin’ being a fitting choice for the scenes.

Talking of good music, Level 1 had me from the start by picking a nifty remix of Caribou‘s ‘Sun’ to accompany their ‘After Dark’ trailer. The first minute of fittingly after dark footage works perfectly with the intro and the rest of the film doesn’t look to shoddy either – anything with a triple backflip has me hooked (1 minute 14 secs) – with lots of lesser known skiers proving their worth.

The other big production house that can be relied on for a good annual release is Teton Gravity Research. This year’s offering, ‘One For The Road’, and as the intro suggests it’s all about the journey. To be fair to them, it does get about a bit, spanning the record-breaking season in Jackson Hole, Japan’s powder mecca Hokkaido, Iceland’s urban side, the unexploered Macedonia and Montenegro, pillow lines at Baldface Lodge, first descents in Pemberton, BC, and of course the obligatory trip to Alaska. The music and voiceover are a bit tiresome, but the trailer is worth a look if only for the blood-curdling sound and vision of Ian McIntosh’s massive fall at 1 minute 20 secs (he’s recovering well apparently).

In addition to these favourites, there’s also a whole lot of other ski movies due for release this autumn that deserve a mention. French Company PVS‘s new one ‘Animus‘ is all very stylised, energetic and nu-skool – but nonetheless impressive looking – while the 8th movie from Norway’s Field Productions‘Being There’ – takes a less frenetic and more epic approach, full of beautiful Scandinavian vistas and tight skiing from the likes of Jon Olsson, Henrik Windstedt and Tom Wallish.

As much as I’m committed to the cause of protecting the environment, incessant green-wash in documentaries has started to annoy me over the last few years, so I wasn’t sure when I heard about the idea of an eco-ski movie. The fact that the six-minute trailer for The Sherpas’ ‘All.I.Can’ is sound-tracked by Pendulum and starts with exactly the kind of wistful images that clog up these overly guilt-inducing docs didn’t fill me with confidence, but eventually Mark Abma, Eric Hjorleifson and Mike Douglas started shredding some BIG mountain lines and things picked up. People who live their lives in the great outdoors are on the frontline of the ill-effects of man-made pollution and the fact that this doesn’t seem to be badgering you with grim statistics, instead displaying the best of the mountains and the playground they present, is a refreshing way to get the message across.

A few good-looking trailers for ski movies from less illustrious producers now. First up is ‘That’s Fine’ from the Voleurz family of skiers, snowboarders and skaters; it’s being released for free on their site on November 21 and for that price it’s well worth a watch. Also going up for free online is ‘Nothing Else Matters’ from Legs of Steel. Shot by Andre Nutini, it features British talent Paddy Graham amongst others and also includes never-before-seen tricks like Bene Mayr’s first forward double misty 1080 and an incredible looking finale featuring loads of skiers going off three overlapping jumps at the same time. A last scrappy looking entry comes from East Coast studio Meathead Films, who have got their latest selection of ‘Prime Cuts’ up for grabs in trailer form. Cut across backcountry Vermont, New Hampshire and Quebec as well as slicing and dicing urban terrain in Portland, Boston, Quebec City and their hometown of Burlington, this snippet from Syracuse to Boston gives you a good flavour of the nonsense they get up to; it’s all about the spelunking.

Finally, if your favourite bits in Warren Miller films are the adventure segments, then this one’s for you. Sweetgrass Productions’ ‘Solitaire’ charts the team’s two years travelling the snowiest bits of Argentina, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Rather than being all face-shots and corked 720’s, the uncharted beauty of the terrain abounds and if you can cope with the earthy intro and local voiceover, then there’s some incredible shots later on in the teaser film.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 21, 2011 10:31 am

    Nice summary of the upcoming movies, I can’t wait until they all come out!

    My friend has recently released a trailer to an upcoming movie called ‘Wanderlust’. It was mainly shot at Mammoth, and has both skiing and snowboarding. Check it out at my blog, http://auspolicy.wordpress.com/ and vimeo.

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