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Trailer Time

August 1, 2012

Another year, another bunch of ski movie trailers to get me far too excited, far too early. So while there’s still half a year or more until I can actually access any northern hemisphere snow, I’m going to run through some of the films that are keeping me in front of a computer screen, rather than outside in the summer drizzle.

First up, the reliably progressive Poor Boyz Productions have come up with ‘We: A Collection of Individuals’. The film focuses on the enviable day-to-day career of a pro-skier, portraying it as a collaborative effort, rather than the individual pursuit many would imagine. The clip is full of the usual downtime tomfoolery, alongside some incredible lines and tricks from a talented roster of athletes.

Another production team which regularly delivers the goods is the highfalutin-sounding Teton Gravity Research. This season they’ve been focussing on the free-skiing mecca of Alaska, where they’ve had 17 years of experience, since the days of intrepid extreme explorers like Doug Coombs. ‘The Dream Factory”s trailer gives a brief history of skiing adventures into places like Valdez, Haines, Petersberg, the Tordrillos and the Knik, whilst spinning some gnarly yarns about the frontier skiers and giving some nu-skoolers the chance to experience these magnificent mountain ranges.

Good ol’ Warren Miller is back again for another year of comfortingly predictable fare with ‘Flow State’. Of course, we no longer get his soothing narration after the rather unnecessary lawsuit a couple of years ago, but the trailer looks up to the usual high production values, exotic locations and top-notch athletes. You do get a certain sense of de ja vu with the over-arching narrative conveyed through wide-eyed skier interviews; how many different ways can you say that skiing is an incredible, inspirational experience?

With that question posed, I quite admire Headbud Productions‘ ‘Same Shit Different Movie’. This Austrian team specialise in urban jibbing and jumping, testosterone-fuelled young skiers and pounding metal soundtracks a la Legs of Steel. This might not appeal to everyone, but at least they’re honest about the slightly derivative nature of the ski movie industry and its annual claims to be doing something boundary breaking.

Talking of Legs of Steel, they’ve just stuck up the trailer for their latest statement of intent, ‘Hurts So Good’. It features two of my favourite up-and-coming skiers, Paddy Graham and Jossi Wells, stomping big lines and even bigger tricks to a ballsy psych-rock accompaniment. There’s even a chap jibbing in skinny jeans; what more could you want?

Staying in Europe, but aiming at a different demographic entirely, is M-Line‘s ‘Another Day in Paradise’. The majority of it was filmed in Austria, taking advantage of last season’s incredible conditions and the country’s many big mountain spines, faces and slough-avalanches. Proper manly first descent stuff.

The Voleurz crew have only got a quick teaser-teaser out for their forthcoming film ‘Kill Your Boredom’ – full trailer drops August 20 – but the pitting of mortal enemies skiers and snowboarders in a battle to the bloody death is a good way to whet the appetite if you ask me.

This year’s best exploration award looks like it’s going to Fischer skiers Mel Presslaber and Sandra Lahnsteiner, who travelled to Morocco in search of snow. What they found isn’t going to rival North America for steep and deep, but then that’s not really the point.

Having said that, Level 1‘s ‘Sunny’ looks to be a fairly globetrotting affair. Following on from last year’s ‘After Dark’, this time the theme surrounds sunny as a mental disposition, showing the likes of Tom Wallisch and Eric Pollard brightening up places like Turkey, Japan, Switzerland and the Arctic Circle.

There are a whole bunch of good-looking movies from smaller producers that are well worth a mention, so here goes: Toy Solider Productions’ ‘Act Natural’ is a mostly West Coast USA affair focusing on young jibbers doing it their way; Eric Iberg has collaborated with Inspired Media and the likes of Tanner Hall and Phil Casabon to try and define their steez in ‘Education of Style’; Wordup Media’s ‘The Fire’ covers new tricks and big falls from Norway to New York City; 4FRNT’s new team movie ‘Dang!’ sees Hoji, Wiley Miller, Cody Barnhill, etc ripping it up around the globe; and finally Pat King produces and directs PYP’s latest effort ‘Part Time’.

Earlier in the year we got a few teasers of forthcoming features from a couple of my favourite skiers. French X Games gold medallist and Freeride World Tour winner Candide Thovex has been given his own film by Quicksilver, ‘Few Words’, which was filmed over two years, capturing some stunning nature and equally impressive skiing.

More importantly though, the tragically deceased freesports legend Shane McConkey is being immortalised by Matchstick Productions this year. The trailer came out back in March and looks like it’s going to be an emotional re-telling of this fascinating mans life, delving into his relationship (or lack thereof) with his free-skiing father, his infamous sense of humour, his pioneering base jumping and ski design, and the classic extreme sports vs adult responsiblity dilemma.

I’ve saved the very best for last though, as MSP’s other big film of the season sees them celebrating 20 years at the top with ‘Superheroes of Stoke’. An amusing title for British people not au fait with extreme sports parlance, this is in fact an epic look at how far the sport has come in the time they’ve been making movies; rather than a rundown of Staffordshire’s best and brightest. According to this week’s official announcement, it honors the heroes who have made the sport of freeskiing what it is today and pays tribute to the heroes who gave their lives for what they loved.

“Throughout 2012, MSP’s film crews relentlessly traveled the globe in search of the moments that would define the cutting-edge of what is possible on skis. Highlights from 19 years worth of archived material have been edited amidst stunning new HD footage to demonstrate how far the athletes have progressed and how far boundaries have been pushed.” This could be the greatest ski movie ever made.

(It appears I’m not allowed to imbed, so here’s a link

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