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More Than You Think: A small series that says a lot about women’s skiing

From "More Than You Think"

From “More Than You Think”

A few years ago, a lot of us got excited about Lynsey Dyer’s Pretty Faces, a ski movie made by – and featuring – women skiers. That’s because ski movies typically belong to men. The numbers back this up. In 2014, the Pretty Faces Kickstarter website posted that even though women make up around 40% of the skiing population and about 30% of the adventure sports film viewership, only 14% of the athletes in major ski films were female. And this was a record of female representation, up from 9% the previous season.

I don’t think it’s improved.

So you have to understand how excited I was to see the new video series produced by Outdoor Gear Exchange, a fantastic outdoor adventure store in Burlington, VT. Entitled More Than You Think, the videos feature a group of young women skiing at three different locations throughout the northeast.

Ho hum, you say, yet another ski movie. Except with women. So what. Well, here’s what: This series is terrific. Sure, like a bazillion other ski movies, there’s great skiing and great scenery. But it’s different, too. As a woman, I found it empowering. Heart warming. Up lifting. Unlike conventional ski movies, More Than You Think focuses on regular women — not professional skiers — who are having an absolute blast outdoors. It reminded me a lot of the Ski Diva trips. There’s no pretense, no posturing. It shows how women can really rip and do things together that make them happy, without the company or approval of men.

Perhaps some quotes from the women involved can give you a better feel for what it’s all about:

Throughout the sport of skiing in general, it’s very much accepted as a predominately
male sport. While there are a lot of women who ski, they’re just expected to not
perform as well. And that’s bullshit.”

“It’s really important for me to share this lifestyle with other women. You know,
I’m not a professional skier, but I want to be out here doing what I want to do for
me…..It’s important that other women know that you don’t have to be an expert at something; you can come out and learn.”

“The onus is one us to create our own normal for what it means to be a woman, and
so we need to make sure that as women we’re not complacent and we’re not going
to say, ‘oh, I’m going to be in the B group because I’m a woman.’ You can be in
whatever group you want to be in. We need to take responsibility for making sure
we propogate that understanding.”

“It’s important to normalize the presence of women in the outdoors, particularly
the ski industry, because it provides role models for little lady shredders to look
up to and realize that they are just as capable and equal to males and can
succeed at anything they put their minds to, and it also provides more opportunities
for women to get involved.”

“When I’m skiing with a group of like-minded women, I feel really comfortable just
to be myself myself. I feel really happy in where I am. I feel normal. And I feel empowered.”

There are three episodes in the series. Episode #1 takes place in the Chic Chocs in Quebec; episode #2, in the backcountry around Smuggler’s Notch; and episode #3, in Mount Washington, New Hampshire.

Recently I spoke with Sam Davies, Digital Content Creator at Outdoor Gear Exchange, about the videos:

Ski Diva:Why did Outdoor Gear Exchange decide to do this series?
Sam: We wanted to do something new. We often see mid-level athletes who are perfectly good skiers — but not professional skiers — skiing in all sorts of videos people put together, but they are very rarely female. It was important to us to show that you don’t have to be a man or a sponsored athlete if you want to ski in the backcountry. You can be a relatively decent skier and still ski some pretty cool stuff.

Ski Diva: Who are the women in the video, and how did you select them?
Sam: Honestly, it was just a couple women who work at Outdoor Gear Exchange and some of their friends. We asked if they’d be interested in doing this, and they said sure. There wasn’t an official selection process.

Ski Diva: How about the specific locations? How did you decide where you were going to shoot?
Sam: We decided to shoot the Vermont stuff because it’s close by and easy to get to; the Chic Chocs because I’ve been there before and it seemed like a great place to spend a week; and Mt. Washington because it’s such a staple and test piece of New England backcountry skiing. I think we would have been remiss not to include it.

Ski Diva: Was there a specific focus for each location?
Sam: The one main overall takeaway piece was that you don’t have to be a professional skier to go backcountry skiing. Subsequently, the first episode focuses more on the value of taking an all-female trip. The second one focuses more on the importance of finding a group of women in your own local community that you can ski with before or after work or on your day off. And the third is about introducing women to backcountry skiing who haven’t done it before, and the value of experiencing it in an all female group instead of in one that’s male dominated.

 

And now, sit back, relax, get yourself a snack. Because I think they’re so terrific, here are the three episodes that make up More Than You Think.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.



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Line of Descent: A Review of the ’17/’18 Warren Miller Movie

LinesofDescentI have a confession to make: I haven’t been exactly stoked for ski season this year. I know, I know. Pretty sad, isn’t it? I think it’s actually because of the bike accident I had this summer. I’m still on the mend, and I’m a little trepidatious about how I’m going to hold up once I get on the snow.

So I was less than enthusiastic about seeing this season’s movie from Warren Miller Entertainment, Line of Descent. My heart just wasn’t in it. But then something happened. Who knows…..chalk it up to the magic of skiing. Within the first few frames I could feel my spirit starting to lift. The film opened with a series of quick clips of people doing the most amazing skiing; of majestic, snow covered mountains; of skiers enveloped in billowing clouds of powder. And almost immediately I was reminded, hey, so this is what it’s all about; this is why I love to ski. So if the purpose of ski films is to get you stoked, let me be clear: Line of Descent delivers. Really, it was just the doctor ordered. What do I think about ski season now? Bring. It. On.

Setting that aside, writing a review for one of these movies isn’t particularly easy. Why? Well, to be honest, most ski films are pretty interchangeable. It’s the nature of the beast. The format and subject matter are pretty limiting. I mean, we’re not looking at intriguing plot lines or character development. Line of Descent is no exception, as it follows the classic WME pattern: exotic locales, fantastic skiing, plenty of hucking cliffs, back flips and slo-mos of skiers hurtling through chest-deep powder (be forewarned: you’ll want to wear a bib to sop up the drool). All the same, do we really care that it’s not Oscar material? No. I think we all know what we’re in for when we buy our ticket. It’s fun. It’s entertaining. And that’s all that matters.

Anyway, here are my comments — and I do have some — about this year’s movie, Line of Descent.

• As you’d expect, the movie focuses on side and backcountry locales, with various resorts acting as springboards for much of the skiing: Jackson Hole, Squaw, Steamboat, Silverton, Val d’Isere. The first segment of the film is essentially a valentine to Jackson Hole, focusing on the spirit and community that make it such a great place to ski (oh, and there’s Corbett’s, too). At Squaw, the focus is on Jonny Moseley and his kids (needless to say, they’re adorable. And they rip, too, of course) as well as on Errol Kerr from the Jamaican Ski Team (you read that right, though he grew up in the US. His dad was Jamaican and his mom, American. Kerr’s competed on both the US and Jamaican Ski Teams). The segment on Steamboat is fun, featuring skiers at the NASTAR Nationals. And at Val d’Isere, well, more on that later.

• Each year the films feature at least one locale outside North America. This year there’s the aforementioned Val d’Isere, as well as segments in New Zealand and Norway. Norway particularly intrigued me, with huge, gorgeous mountains that run down to the sea. Not too shabby.

• I was struck by the absence of big park skiing and/or boarding. Other WME films have had segments featuring heart-stopping slopestyle or freestyle. I guess I’ve come to expect it. But this time, no big park features, no moguls.  And aside from a few quick clips in the intro. there wasn’t the customary urban segment, featuring skiers or boarders hucking off buildings or sliding down stair rails. So if you’re looking for that, you won’t find it here.

• As you know, Warren Miller left WME Entertainment a time ago, though he often makes an appearance in the company’s films. But there was even less of him this year than in years’ past — just one short segment in the beginning where he talked a bit about his childhood. Warren, we miss you. The film just aren’t the same. It’s too bad they haven’t found someone with the same amount of charm who could pick up the baton. Jonny Moseley, the current narrator, is lovely, but let’s face it — he’s no Warren.

• I think my favorite segment of all was the one about pow surfing in British Columbia. (Yeah, it wasn’t even skiing!) This is essentially snowboarding without bindings. Pow surfing was covered in the ’15/’16 movie Chasing Shadows, and I remember liking it quite a bit then, too. But the spirit of the participants, the outstanding conditions…heck, they just seemed to be having a blast. It all came together to produce what I thought was the most fun part of the movie.

• Like the other WME films, Line of Descent belongs almost exclusively to the men. Sure, the segment in Val d’sere is all women – Lexi duPont, Amie Engerbretson, and McKenna Peterson, the same three spotlighted skiing in Alaska in Chasing Shadows. I love seeing them ski. These women absolutely rip, and they seem to have so much fun, too. Other women featured include Jess McMillan, Kaylin Richardson, Linda Haaland, Arielle Gold, and Kalen Thorien. Yes, out of  the 29 skiers/boarders represented, only 8 were women. I think WME could do better.

So there you have it. So go, welcome in the new season with Line of Descent. After all, Warren Miller movies are a tradition, and why the heck not. Here’s where it’s playing and when. And here’s the trailer.

 



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Here, There & Everywhere: A Review of the ’16/’17 Warren Miller Movie

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How do you get your ski stoke going? Do you plan a ski trip? Cruise your local ski shop? Go to a ski show? Sure, these are all good options. But for a lot of people, the best way to get excited about the new season is to see the latest Warren Miller movie. It’s a tradition — after all, there’ve been sixty-seven of them. And though Warren is no longer personally involved — and there are lots of other ski movies around –Miller is still the granddaddy of them all.

Which brings me to this year’s movie, Here, There, & Everywhere, because Warren Miller is in it quite a bit. That’s a change from most of the more recent WME movies. After all, Warren Miller sold the company to his son in 1988, who sold it to Time Warner, who in 2007 sold it to the Bonnier Group, a Swedish-based media conglomerate that also owns a roster of snow-sports magazines. So Warren Miller, personally, has been out of the picture, so to speak, for a long time.

Why is Warren so prominently featured? Does it have anything to do with his new autobiography, Freedom Found? Or is the release of the book tied to coincide with the release of this year’s movie? In a world of marketing tie-ins, this wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

warrenmillerNonetheless, I was happy to see him back. He’s 92, and yeah, he’s led an incredible life and definitely deserves props for his contributions to the world of skiing. Anyhow, the movie starts off with two young skiers — Colin Collins and Tyler Ceccanti, specifically — on a road trip to recapture the early days of Warren Miller’s career. It’s sprinkled with vintage clips of Warren Miller and short present-day interviews with the man, himself.

To me, that’s where the movie really shines. I love the back and forth between the past and the present, the old juxtaposed with the new. This follows through in a segment on Stein Eriksen, who passed away in 2015, and a feature on Turner Mountain, an old school ski resort in Montana.

As for the rest of the movie, well, there’s the obligatory Alaskan heli-skiing trip; there’s a travelogue-type segment on Greenland, which I found fascinating; there’s a piece on fat-tire biking in Crested Butte; and of course, there’s the usual big mountain skiing that makes your jaw hang open (how do they do that?). To me, though, it seemed like the movie hopped around a bit. At first I thought it was going to be mostly back and forth between the past and the present day; you know, like compare and contrast. But many of the segments depart from this entirely. It’s almost like there are two different movies going on. Then again, most people probably don’t care. There’s lots of great skiing, and for them, that’s enough.

So I’m sure you’re wondering: are women skiers represented? A bit. Former Olympian Kaylin Richardson makes some appearances, and lord, she’s amazing. There are also two all-female segments — one in Switzerland with Jess McMillan and Grete Eliassen, with some terrific skiing and gorgeous scenery. And then there’s one in Crested Butte with Wendy Fischer and Ingrid Backstrom. While these women are incredible skiers, much of the segment focuses on them as ski moms. Ingrid was seven months pregnant(!) during the shoot, and Wendy has a couple of very cute kids. Really, I have no problem with this. It was heart warming and fun. But y’know, two all-female segments and one is mostly about motherhood? Really, WME?

All the same, Here, There & Everywhere is a fun way to pass a couple hours and to get your ski stoke going. So if you want to see the movie, here’s a list of where it’ll be and when. Enjoy!

 



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Chasing Shadows: A Review of the ’15/’16 Warren Miller Movie

warren_miller_entertainment_chasing_shadows_359275

Back in 1949, the world of skiing was very different from the way it is today. There were no helmets, step-in bindings, or snow tires; Vail Resorts didn’t even exist; and no one even imagined a powder ski, RFID technology, or launching themselves down Corbet’s Couloir.

Change is inevitable. Change is good. But for 66 years, one thing has remained constant: there has always been a new Warren Miller movie. Oh, sure, there are a lot of other companies making ski movies and videos now: TGR, Meathead Films, Sweetgrass Productions, even equipment manufacturers like TheNorthFace, Smith and Salomon. But way back when, the only game in town was Warren Miller. If you wanted to see a film about skiing, that was it.

Today, Warren Miller isn’t even Warren Miller anymore. Warren Miller sold the company to his son in 1988, who sold it to Time Warner, who sold it in 2007 to its current owner, the Bonnier Group, a Swedish-based media conglomerate that also owns a raft of snow-sports magazines. No matter. WME is a firmly entrenched part of the skiing landscape.  They’re a skiing institution. And for many people, going to a Warren Miller movie is a cherished annual tradition to kick off the ski year.

Which brings me to the current movie, Chasing Shadows. Warren Miller Entertainment recently sent me a copy to review, and I spent a delightful afternoon watching and getting very, very stoked for the coming season. I mean, isn’t that what ski films are for?

Chasing Shadows is a lot like other Warren Miller movies. There’s loads of great skiing in amazing places: Nepal, Chile, Chamonix, Alaska, Utah, Jackson Hole, Japan, and more. There are plenty of flips, hucks off cliffs, and slo-mos of people skiing in chest-deep powder. And the skiing itself is fantastic. Be forewarned: you’ll want to wear a bib to sop up the drool.

I love watching this stuff. But to be frank, many of the segments are pretty interchangeable with past Warren Miller flicks. Sure, the skiers have changed, and the locales differ from one year to the next (well, sometimes). But do we really mind? No. Not much. It’s fun, all the same.

Nonetheless, I do have some comments about Chasing Shadows:

• There was an utterly charming piece about Monopolooza, an annual gathering of mono-skiers in Jackson Hole. I’ve never mono-skied and really never gave it much thought, but these guys totally ripped and had so much fun that it was an absolute pleasure to watch.

• I loved the feature on the US Ski Team killing the moguls in Deer Valley. It’s amazing how easy they make it look for something that’s so incredibly hard. Plus, hey, there’s Hannah Kearny, a fellow Vermonter and Olympic freestyle gold medalist! [waves]

• There’s a segment featuring Lexi DuPont, Amie Engerbretson, and McKenna Peterson skiing the heck out of Valdez, Alaska. This was the only all-female portion, and I thought it was pretty great. There’s too little of this in most ski movies (the exception being Lynsey Dyer’s all-female Pretty Faces). For some reason, film makers seem to focus on men more than women. Yes, there are more male skiers than female. And yes, there are women in other segments of the film (Rachael Burke, Kaylin Richardson, Ingrid Backstrom, Caroline Gleich, and the aforementioned Hannah Kearny). For the most part, however, the movie belongs to the guys. So does that really matter? There’s something about seeing amazing women skiers that’s inspiring, not just to me, but to thousands of other women and girls, too. So in the interest of growing the sport, I’d have to say yeah, it does matter.

But back to this particular segment:  I liked how one of the women (can’t remember which) said how some of the runs made her nervous and how the women looked to one another for support — it made them seem more human, more relatable. That said, none of the guys said anything about being nervous. Really, do they all have nerves of steel? Is it because the women were more open? Or is it because that’s what the film makers chose to show, because it’s “expected” female behavior? I have no idea, but it made me wonder…..

• Powder Surfing. Ever heard of it? This isn’t snowboarding; instead, it’s a bindingless board that’s a hybrid of surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding technology. There was a nice segment focusing on industry entrepreneur Jeremy Jensen. I wish they’d spent a little more time exploring this. Maybe it’s the next big thing.

• The Cowboy Downhill in Steamboat is a riot! For the past 41 years, Steamboat has been hosting an event that gets rodeo cowboys out on the slopes. There’s a lot of crazy skiing and falling, and it’s a hoot.

• I had mixed feelings about a segment on speed riding in Chamonix. In case you don’t know, speed riding is an extreme sport that combines skiing and paragliding. Yes, it’s exciting to watch. But given the recent deaths in the wingsuit and base jumping community, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it being featured so prominently in the movie (it’s in the first segment). Could be my age (I might feel differently if I was a 13-year old boy), could be my mom radar. I don’t know. But it did make me wince a bit.

• I’m probably in the minority here, but I always find the titles of ski movies somewhat perplexing, and Chasing Shadows is no exception. On the one hand, it could refer to all the great skiers from the past, and how each skier stands on the shoulders of those who’ve come before. But it could be this: in the segment that takes place in Japan, a female voiceover comments about winter and the guys who’re out there skiing, “I see the dark and cold; they see shadows filled with endless possibilities.” So maybe that’s it. You’ll have to watch and decide for yourself.

You can catch Chasing Shadows in one of its stops on its nationwide tour. Go here for locales and showing dates.



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Pop the popcorn. The ski movie trailers are here!

If you want to get stoked for the upcoming ski season, there’s no better way than to watch this year’s batch of ski movies. So grab some Sno-Caps, slurp down a Snow Cone, and take a gander at these:

Conquering the Useless: This one features Elyse Saugstad and her husband, Cody Townsend. I recently interviewed Elyse for my blog. You can find it here.
Warren Miller Media’s Chasing Shadows: (This is the 66th annual Warren Miller movie!)
TGR’s Paradise Waits
TGR’s For Lack of Better:

Revision Skis Advance:
Super Proof Masquerade:
Blank:
Legs of Steel’s Passenger:
Sweetgrass Production’s Jumbo Wild: Not exactly a ski movie, but a documentary about the decades-long battle over the future of British Columbia’s iconic Jumbo Valley, highlighting the tension between the protection of wilderness and the backcountry experience and ever-increasing development interests in wild places.

 



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No Turning Back: A Review

WME_PosterI have to admit, I haven’t been a Warren Miller fan for a long time. After all, it hasn’t been the same since Warren stopped making his own movies. For me, the newer ones tend to run together — a lot of people jumping off cliffs; oh look, more back flips; and the obligatory urban stuff, sliding down stair rails and jumping over small buildings and parked cars. Granted, some segments are much better than others. But on the whole, I’ve kind of lost interest.

Sacrilege, I know.

Still, the Warren Miller movies are a tradition. An indicator that ski season is coming! So when Warren Miller Entertainment asked if I’d like a review copy of their new movie, No Turning Back, I said sure, why not.

I won’t keep you in suspense. Almost to my surprise, I liked it.

The construct is the same as it’s been in the past. Like other WME movies, it’s divided into segments, each one featuring different skiers in different locales. The first segment (which I think is the best) showcases Ingrid Backstrom, Jess McMillam, and Chris Anthony skiing in the Chugach of Alaska. The ability of Jess and Ingrid to tackle the steep stuff is exhilarating to watch, and the passion and excitement they bring to big mountain skiing is an absolute  joy. WME has featured women skiers before, but I love that this time they’re in the lead spot. Maybe it’s a reaction to the new all-female Pretty Faces movie? Who knows. But as a female skier, and one who gets pretty tired of having the focus on guys, guys, and more guys, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the women rip it up.

The second segment spoke to me, too. As an older skier, I loved seeing a group with an average age of 46 absolutely killing it in Chamonix. Seth Morrision, Mike Hattrup, Tim Petrick, and Heather Paul tackle some awesome terrain off the Aiguille du Midi, accessing lines that can only be reached by rappelling down ropes and descending ladders. Some of the quotes I wrote down as I watched this portion: “With the revolution of ski gear, [skiing is] the fountain of youth for anyone who’s older,” “When skiers are saying 50 is the new 40, what they’re really saying is thank you fat skis,” and “If you’re not smiling, you better change sports.” Anyone who disses older skiers or thinks that they, themselves, are too old to ski, watch these guys. You’ll change your opinion pretty quick.

And I also enjoyed segment #3, which focused on the laid back, off-the-beaten path ski towns and areas of Montana. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to Montana twice in the past two years and plan to go again this winter. The scenery is gorgeous, the skiing by Julian Carr and Sierra Quitiquit is lovely, and the whole vibe of the piece really spoke to me, since I love places that are a bit outside the mainstream.

There are five other segments, too: Snowboarding in Niseko, Japan, which features boarding in an insane amount of snow in the country’s north island; skiing Mount Olympus in Greece (loved the history and the ruins); searching for the site of the world’s oldest ski in Lofoten, Norway (the beauty of the mountains and sea is amazing), racing in Vail and Beaver Creek (enjoyed seeing the racing legends); and speed-riding, which involves skis and parachutes in Switzerland (in a word, heart-stopping).

On the whole, I found this movie more accessible than some of the ones I’ve viewed in the past. Yes, it still has the obligatory exotic locales. Which really, I enjoy. But I think it seemed more focused on actual skiing rather than jumping off cliffs and doing crazy stunts. And not only did the first segment feature women, but women were also featured prominently in two of the other segments, as well. For me, this is a big improvement.

Did it do its job and get me stoked for the season? Yes.  Then again, I’m always stoked. My rating: Two ski poles up.



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Pretty Faces: A review of Lynsey Dyer’s all-female ski movie

PrettyFaces

I’ve been excited about Pretty Faces ever since I heard about it way back in December. Here’s a refresher: Despite the fact that women make up around 40% of the skiing population and about 30% of the adventure sports film viewership, only 14% of the athletes in major ski films this past season were female. And this was a record of female representation, up from 9% the previous season.*

So Lynsey Dyer decided to do something about it. A phenomenal world-class skier who was named Powder Magazine’s Skier of the Year, Lynsey is also the founder of  SheJumps.org, an organization dedicated to encouraging  women to  participate in outdoor activities. Lynsey made it her mission to produce an all-female ski movie. That took some doing. She used Kickstarter to raise most of the funding, eventually collecting enough to make her dream a reality. (I interviewed about this here.)

The movie just had its premiere showing in Boulder, Colorado. And though I wasn’t lucky enough to be there, one of the members of TheSkiDiva.com forum, Monique Mudama, was in the audience. I’ve prevailed on her to write a review, and with pleasure, I present it here:

Pretty Faces: A Review
By Monique Mudama

It’s no surprise to me that Lynsey Dyer’s crew picked Boulder for the debut showing of Pretty Faces. And it’s not much of a surprise that the show sold out, either. Boulder Theater was packed with people – more women than men, but plenty of both – to celebrate skiing, to celebrate women skiers, and to build some serious stoke for the coming ski season.

Pretty Faces. What can I say? I loved this movie. It’s strange, but a lot of ski movies don’t have enough actual skiing. Pretty Faces does not suffer from this problem. It delivers shot after shot of women hucking cliffs, charging through pow, and owning steep descents. Professional athletes talking about why they ski. Little girls giggling as they learn how to ski. Middle-aged women bouncing up and down in their chairs, talking about how excited they are every morning to go ski. I’ve never seen a ski movie that so completely represented how I feel about skiing – giddy, gleeful, grateful. Maybe a little obsessed.

And the skiing. I was captivated. As the audience around me hooted and stomped and screamed whenever another female athlete was introduced, I just kept leaning forward in my chair and whispering, “Oh man. Oh my god.” The skiing was so beautiful, so aggressive, so perfect. I ached to be there, skiing those lines. To be someone who could ski like that.

To be honest, once an athlete is bundled up in ski gear and getting face shots while skiing bottomless pow, you can’t always tell if that’s a man or a woman. But I don’t think that’s the point. The point is that when I’m skiing and I see a guy ski an aggressive line or huck a rock, I appreciate it, but it doesn’t impact how I ski. But when I’m skiing and I see a woman ski an aggressive line or fly off a jump? It’s different. Suddenly, it seems possible. Pretty Faces is an entire movie filled with women expanding my concept of what is possible.

Before seeing this movie, I went primarily to show my support for the idea – to help prove that an all-female skiing movie was viable. And that’s still a good reason to go. But a better reason to go is this: Pretty Faces is one of the best ski movies I’ve seen. Go watch it.

For more info on Pretty Faces, go here.

*Data from the Pretty Faces’ Kickstarter website.



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It’s ski movie time!

And why not? It’s fall, otherwise known unofficially as pre-season. And if you’re like me, there’s nothing like a good dose of ski porn to get you stoked about what’s to come. So buy your tickets, grab some popcorn, and settle into your seat. It’s time to get your fill of breathtaking cliff jumps, incredible mountain scenery, and hilarious crashes (which sort of reassure us that yes, even the great ones fall).

Which movie am I most excited about? No surprise here: it’s Pretty Faces, the first ever all-female ski movie, produced by Unicorn Picnic. Some of you may recall the Kickstarter campaign Lynsey Dyer ran late last year to get it funded. (I wrote about it here). Yes, she succeeded raising money far beyond her initial goal, and yes, the movie will  be making its debut in Boulder on September 30.

Here’s the trailer:

And here’s the schedule, as it stands so far:

September 30: Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
October 3: Roxy Theatre, Revelstoke, BC
October 4: Sturtevant’s, Sun Valley, ID
October 8: Tower Theatre in Salt Lake City, UT
October 15: Volcanic Theatre Pub, Bend OR
October 15: Roxy Theatre, Missoula, MT
October 16: The Mountaineers , Seattle, WA
October 17: Pink Garter Theatre, Jackson, WY
October 19: Don Thomas Sporthaus, Birmingham, MI
October 22: Portland, Oregon with EVO Gear
October 23: Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington, VT
October 25: Brava Theatre, San Francisco, CA
October 29: Egyptian Theatre, Boise, ID
October 30: Backcountry Essentials, Bellingham, WA
November 13th: Hadley Farms Meeting House, Hadley, MA
November 14: with WomensMovement.com, Durango, CO
November 15: Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, NM
November 16, Marriott Park City, Park City, UT
November 26: The Sitzmark at Alyeska, Girdwood, AK
December 12: South Lake Tahoe, NV
December 13: Taos Ski Valley, Taos, NM

Of course, there are loads of other ski movies coming out, too. Here are trailers to a few of the many:

Warren Miller Production’s No Turning Back:

Almost Ablaze, by Teton Gravity Research:

Days of My Youth, by Red Bull:

Powderwhore Productions’ Some Thing Else:

Deep Andes 2014:

Hoo Doo from GypsyFeelin:

Tribute, from Freeski-Crew.com:

Jamski Films’ The End:

Salomon Freeski TV Season 8 – The Controller:

Enjoy!



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What I did during the off season…

DBPBCoverNot this year, but during the summer of 2008.

I wrote a book — a ski mystery, actually, called DOUBLE BLACK. It was published by Minotaur Press in 2008. But it was only available as a hard cover.

Until now. All good things come to those who wait. So if you’ve been putting off reading it because you’ve been waiting for the ebook or the paperback format, well, you’re time has come.

I have to say it’s a lot of fun. DOUBLE BLACK features Stacey Curtis, a young woman who moves to a Vermont ski town to become a ski bum. She’s kind of my alter ego — the person I might have been when I was younger, if my life had taken a different turn. Anyway, Stacey doesn’t have any money, so she ends up sleeping in her car behind — until one day she stumbles across a ring of master keys for the area’s vacation condos. Of course, she decides to put them to good use, going from condo to another, spending one night here, one night there, until one night she opens a door and discovers (dah dah dah dahhhhhhhhh)  a dead body. And that’s where the really book takes off.

Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly had to say:

For all its fluffy powder and Green Mountain gemütlich, Vermont’s Spruce Peak has a decidedly sinister side in Clinch’s easy, breezy debut. Bostonian Stacey Curtis, a grad student turned ski bum, quickly discovers that when she finds a dead man with “the jagged oily chain from a chain saw yanked tight around his neck.” Though she has headed for the hills in hopes of lessening the drama in her life (think cheating fiancé), spunky Stacey’s amateur sleuthing efforts send her schussing into fresh intrigue, danger, and just maybe romance with hunky ski patroller/trust funder Chip Walsh. Clinch, a Vermont resident who runs a popular Web site for women who ski (www.TheSkiDiva.com), clearly knows—and loves—the terrain, conjuring the kind of bewitching winter wonderland and endearing New England characters that will leave readers antsy for a return visit.

And this is from Romantic Times, which gave it FOUR STARS:

This first in the new Ski Diva mystery series set in the Green Mountains of Vermont features a smart and sassy lead character with a fun sense of humor and appealing supporting characters. Clinch captures your attention from the start and never lets go with a plot that must be similar to traveling down a slick slalom course with all its twists and turns. This is a wonderfully entertaining way to spend a chilly winter evening.

You can find DOUBLE BLACK in all the usual on-line places: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo.

Ski season’s coming, and this is a great way to get yourself geared up. Hope you enjoy it!

 

 



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Lights, Camera, Skiing.

Pop the popcorn, dim the lights! It’s fall, and you know what that means:

The new ski movies are here!

Time was, ski movies were solely the province of Warren Miller. But things have changed. Warren’s not so lonely anymore (well, I actually don’t know about Warren specifically, since he’s no longer part of Warren Miller Entertainment. But you get the drift). Now you can get your ski stoke from a whole host of production companies: Teton Gravity Research, Level One, Powderwhore, Partly Cloudy, Sweetgrass, MSP, Whiteroom, and more.

I’m like any ski addict. When fall rolls around, I’m positively starved for anything to do with skiing. But when you look at the trailers for a lot of ski movies, they’re all pretty much the same. Most feature extreme skiing in Alaska, a fair amount of urban skiing (sliding down railings and leaping over alleyways), and lots of aerials and freestyle.

To be honest — dare I say it — it’s almost boring.

There’s no question that I admire people who can ski like this. It’s so far beyond me it’s not even funny. Probably beyond the abilities of 99.99% of those who are watching, too.

I’m sure I don’t represent the large majority of the ski movie audience. To me, the best ski movies are those that focus on something in particular. The upcoming Shane McConkey documentary is a good example. And I always love the ones that feature skiing in another culture. Humor’s good, too.  That was a big part of the charm of the old Warren Miller movies. That’s largely gone. A shame, really, since it can really make a movie.

I know ski movies aren’t great art. I mean, it’s skiing, albeit great skiing. There’s no narrative, no story arc, in fact not much dialogue at all. And to honest, it really is fun to see people do things that most of us can only dream about. But for a ski movie to stand out these days, something new needs to be done. Otherwise it’s just one of the pack.

That said, here are some trailers from this year’s group. Happy viewing!

And while we’re talking trailers, this one looks particularly interesting: a little film about small ski areas in Vermont. I wrote about the value of small hills here. And since I live in Vermont, this one really hits home (love the Grace Potter & The Nocturnals music, too. Yes, a Vermont band):

 



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