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Trailer Time Twenty Thirteen

August 31, 2013

I’ve been drawn back to the blog after a few months off – you don’t want to be fannying about in front of a computer when a heatwave hits Britain – by the slew of ski movie trailers that have been hitting the interwebz. So, as has become customary, I’m going to give a wee rundown of the biggest and bestest out there.

First up, lets see what the big guns have got up their sleeves for the ‘Fall’ season. My two favourite productions houses – Poor Boyz and Matchstick Productions – have both teamed up with Red Bull Media House for their 2013/14 films. It’s unclear whether that’s down to budgetary constraints on the part of the filmmakers, or just another case of the energy drink brand taking over extreme sports as we know it; but access to their seemingly limitless budget and array of super slow-mo/heli-cams does make for some pretty staggering scenes.

Poor Boyz’ Tracing Skylines follows five of the finest pro skiers on the trips of a lifetime they have envisioned for years, documenting, in the old Warren Miller style, how their jealousy-inducing winters unfold.

“Sean Pettit ventures further in his home turf of British Columbia. Watch as he trades the comfy lodge for a glacier camp – finding unexpected sources of fun in the backcountry. Logan Pehota pinpoints a remote Alaska lighthouse to use as a home base, where he launches a helicopter expedition and finds fresh terrain to attack. Karl Fostvedt takes urban skiing to a whole new level by spending his time searching for the perfect jib, drop and jump amidst the concrete jungle that is Detroit. Pep Fujas leads the backcountry in pure essence. Julien Regnier is found trekking the grueling 100km historic high alpine route between Chamonix, France and Zermatt, Switzerland. Finally, Bobby Brown brings the crew back together for a spring session to wrap a season that won’t soon be forgotten” – says the blurb.

MSP already have the McConkey Movie out on tour, but as I covered that last year, I’ll concentrate on their new film Days of My Youth. According to the spiel, “the film will lay out the joys and struggles of shredding in the big mountain arena, and it will showcase the delight of childlike discovery that skiing can offer as more than just a form of recreation, but as a way of life.” Same old same old, but as ever, the footage on show in the teaser is pretty compelling, with the Cineflex Elite heli-mounted camera capturing the likes of Mark Abma, James Heim, Michelle Parker, Cody Townsend, Markus Eder and Bobby Brown in their prime.

Moving on though, and those without the luxuries of Red Bull’s financial clout are still turning out some impressive-looking trailers to get you stoked for the season ahead. Sherpas Cinema‘s Into the Mind looks typically epic, with a pretentious press release to match.

“Blur the lines between dream state and reality, as you perceive the world through the minds of many. Into the Mind contemplates the experiences passed between mentors and peers to paint a philosophical portrait of human kind. What drives us to overcome challenge? How do we justify risk? What forces are at the core of a mountain addiction? Unique athlete segments over a multitude of mountain sport genres depict the connectivity of Earth, and window into never seen before moments. Explore how we begin our perception of self, construct the foundations of confidence, and are ultimately led up the path of self-actualization.”

There’s clearly some impressive shredding and mesmerising cinematography, but they definitely deserves some ridicule for taking themselves a bit seriously; ably provided by everyone’s favourite sock puppet.

Often similarly po-faced, Teton Gravity Research have ambitiously entitled their latest venture Way of Life.

“For some, embracing the mountains is not just part of life—it’s a way of life. The search for snow shapes not only how they approach these peaks, but also how they approach the world. And whether athletes spend their days dropping first descents in Alaska, lapping the local mountain, or training for the Olympics, they’re part of a community built around a shared passion. The bonds that form from this community transcend continents and cultures, transforming strangers into friends. After all, a smile on a powder day needs no translation,” – worthy stuff, but we’ve heard it all before.

The last of the big, serious players is probably Sweetgrass Productions, whose fourth feature Valhalla, “is the tale of one man’s search to rediscover the freedom of his youth. Feeling the distant heat of it’s fire still burning in the mountains of the frozen north, he goes in search of those tending the flame—the untamed, the wild, and the outcast dwelling on the fringe,” – blah, blah, blah.

Not all ski movie makers feel the need to go all wistful and artsy, the antithesis to that approach coming from the always dependable Europeans, Legs of Steel. For The Lost they’ve actually gone a little bit overboard with the intro, and I’m disappointed to hear they’ve fallen for a dubstep soundtrack, but the old tropes of big guitars and even bigger multi-person jumps are thankfully still there.

While LOS seem to have gone a bit big league, it’s nice to see that smaller budgets don’t mean less fun; in fact the reverse is usually the case. The well named Nipwitz crew have a trailer out for their new one Brain Massage, and it’s a reassuring mix of creative urban jibbing, hair metal and downtime tomfoolery.

Over the last decade there has been a gradual divergence in freeskiing, with the old school ski mountaineer types going one way and the new school park rats going the other. Both have their merits on film and most production companies try to blend the two, but for several filmmakers its all about purity of style. Here are two trailers which exemplify this, the first from the PowderWhore Productions, so I’ll let you guess which side of the argument they fall on.

While in Elevation its all about the rewards of pitting oneself against the natural terrain, the final preview for Stept Productions‘ Mutiny shows how the sport’s young guns see urban jibbing and jumping as their rock’n’roll. In the end the both come off looking a bit silly really.

To be honest, I generally favour the big mountain stuff, but when these kids put so much creativity and hard work into scouting these city lines and pulling off such technical tricks, you have to pay them their dues. The Scandinavian Wordup Media launched their aptly-named Concrete Jungle at the end of August, and it looks like all the hassle they went to has paid off:

Keeping it Nordic, Field Productions have just released their trailer for Supervention, which features a cast of talented Norwegian skiers exploring their own peaks as well as venturing to New Zealand, British Columbia and of course Alaska. It’s also got my current favourite downhill racer Aksel Lund Svindal in it, and anything featuring his thighs is worth a watch.

As I mentioned earlier, the Shane McConkey documentary is already impressing audiences across North America, but a few weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised to find out that another of the finest fallen skiers of recent times, CR Johnson, was getting his own retrospective. Funded by 4FRNT Skis and in collaboration with High Fives, TGR, Inspired Media, Level 1 and Poor Boyz, it looks like a properly inspirational tale of a true talent.

Finally, while all these clips are clearly full of testosterone, there’s a distinct lack of estrogen amongst them. To help redress that balance, a bunch of fine females have put together a new movie called Shades of Winter. Starring Rachael Burks, Lorraine Huber, Janina Kuzma, Sanda Lahnsteiner and many more, it looks every bit as good as the male-dominated movies above it in this list.

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