Skiing Stoke from Lake Tahoe

Category: Movies (Page 2 of 4)

Ski Movies

Long Awaited Legend of Aahhhs is FINALLY Released!

Back in 2009, SBDC ran a post about the status of Greg Stump’s monumental film project called the Legend of Aahhhs. The movie was slated to be released later that year. Well it’s 2012 now and apparently Stumpy has conquered legal battles, focus groups and anything else standing in his way and the film is finally done. We are not sure if/when a Tahoe premiere is in store but it can’t come soon enough. Though somewhat of a deviant and frequently misunderstood, Greg is one of the most provocative, influential and compelling ski filmmakers of all time.

Theatrical trailer for the originally anticipated release date of 2009:

Mr. Stumps progression as a man child:

Powder Sequence from Janky Films, Boot Deep

I like the fact the Janky Films Crew don’t take themselves to seriously. However, there is nothing janky about this gorgeous powder edit from their 2011 release, Boot Deep. The storm system for later this week is predicted to start wet which is exactly what we need to get a base going from scratch. Drier snow is expected by the end of the weekend. It won’t likely be the Alta quality found in this segment but let’s hope for the best. Do yourself a favor and watch it full screen with good sound…it’s a gem!

Boot Deep Powder Segment 2011 from JANKYfilms on Vimeo.

Getting Janky With It

Film Review: Boot Deep by JANKYFilms

Sitting on my couch, looking out the window at a snow-less Mt Rose, I just finished watching Boot Deep by JankyFILMS. The 34-minute ski flick, filmed mostly at Alta, brought me straight back to the 1997-98 season that I spent there, living in the “fort” of the Alta Peruvian lodge. The film is well made, with quality cinematography that captures the unique feeling of living and riding at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon. There are shots of clouds rolling in up the valley, dry snow pouring out of the the sky, the excitement of an impending Interlodge, sunrise over Superior, good old day drinking and general carefree silliness on skis. Besides the soulful soundtrack (Thievery Corporations works impeccably for the pow sequence) and the beautiful shots, the lightheartedness is what really shines through. The skiers are good, but the footage keeps you on edge. Unlike most ski movies these days, where the lines are smooth and near-perfect, Boot Deep skiers are more likely to double eject or shoulder check. Here’s to JankyFILMS for keeping it real and bringing me back. My only critique: let’s see some more women. I know they’re hard to find at Alta — especially when they’d have to share a dank, smelly, closet-size dorm room with the likes of the cast and crew — but they’re out there.

Evolution of a Mountain Man

Matt Herriger’s theatrical debut, Winter’s Wind
Former Tahoe resident, cinematographer, and lifelong ski bum Matt Herriger has completed his first independent film called Winter’s Wind. After years of honing his skills shooting for TGR, Matty “Moo”, has added himself to the growing cadre of ski filmmakers who insist on multi year projects to achieve their cinematic goals (i.e. Deeper, Further, All. I. Can., Solitaire). The movie is about following your dreams as a skier and features real life ski icons Scot Schmidt, Micah Black and Gary Bingham among others. For more about Matt Herriger and his new project check out “The Razor’s Edge” in the 2012 Powder Photo Annual.

Theatrical trailer for Winter’s Wind

Now Showing – Sierroin has completed it’s new ski film called SIERROIN. The movie features North Tahoe locals getting after the best ski season in recent history. Grant Kaye contributed some great timelapse photography to the project and Squaw residents JT Holmes and Aaron McGovern graciously donated base jumping and POV footage.

The New Gold Standard – All. I. Can. sets a new precedent in ski filmmaking

By Rob McCormick
The future of ski films has arrived and it is called All. I. Can. by Sherpas Cinema. More of an art piece than a ski film, All. I. Can. is a notable departure from the ski porn formula we have been watching for nearly two decades. The result is a visual masterpiece.

All. I. Can. incorporates timelapse photography to create a living, breathing planet intertwined with freeway interchanges that carry blood to and from the beating heart of the Earth. Aerial photography of urban landscapes reminds us of the transition the planet has undergone in the past 100 years without being preachy about it. The athletes are introduced with a creative animation sequence similar to Richard Linklater’s work in The Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. The music is thoughtfully selected and flawlessly edited.

Oh yes, there is skiing in the movie too. You may even recognize a few names such as Mark Abma, Ingrid Backstrom, Kye Petersen and JP Auclair. The slow motion powder sequences are the most stunning and unique I have ever seen. The film focuses more on human powered access to the mountains than other means. It’s refreshing to see helicopter footage when necessary, such as plucking Kye Petersen off a mountainside that has disintegrated around him, without being gratuitous about it. How many times have we seen a product logoed heli dive into the abyss after dropping skiers off on a knife edge summit? Helicopters ARE cool but do we need to see helicopters filmed from other helicopters? Do we need to see helis in terrain parks so that skiers appear to be flying higher than the copter? Why does a helicopter even need to be in a terrain park sequence? I digress but the bottom line is that ski movies have become brutally redundant and we have become desensitized to even the most spectacular lines and footage.

The Sherpas Cinema crew are extremely talented cinematographers. In 2011 they have come out swinging with a film that will be watched for years to come. All. I. Can. doesn’t just raise the bar for ski movies, it sets a new gold standard.

Check out more on this revolutionary ski film and where to see it next on this piece by Unofficial Networks Backcountry Reporter Brennan Lagasse:
More on All. I. Can. from Brennan Lagasse

All. I. Can. may be purchased (and is well worth buying) on the Sherpas Website:
Sherpas Cinema Website

Film Review “Hot Dog…the Movie”

By Rob McCormick

I was thirteen years old when the ski comedy Hot Dog was released and the movie pretty much set my course in life to end up in Tahoe. I watched the film and wondered to myself, “where is this magical skiing playground with tons of snow, radical terrain, and residents whose primary goal in life is to ski hard and party harder?” I was not alone. Many of my impressionable young peers also worshiped the film from the first time they saw it. Filmed entirely in Squaw Valley and North Lake Tahoe during the impressive snow year of 1983, Hot Dog delivers a colorful cast, raunchy screenplay and some very good skiing for it’s time.

The movie begins as newcomer Harkin Banks visits Squaw Valley to compete in the World Cup Freestyle Championships. After picking up feisty hitchhiker Sunny they settle into Squaw and quickly meet veteran freestyler Dan O’Callahan who introduces them to the Rat Pack, a group of fun loving, hard charging locals. They also meet the arrogant yet talented Rudi Garmish from Austria. Rudi has his sites set on winning the World Cup of Freestyle for the umpteenth time. Oh and let’s not forget Sylvia, played by 1982 Playmate of the year Shannon Tweed. It’s not long before Harkin and the Rat Pack are competing against Rudi and his gang both on and off the slopes.

A topless front desk clerk checks Sunny and Harkin into the Fantasy Inn in Tahoe City.

So begins an hour and half of deliciously inappropriate humor including wet t-shirt contests, broomball matches, raging parties, gondola blowjobs, plenty-o-hot tub sex scene, drug use and references and of course the infamous Chinese Downhill. Let’s not overlook the sexual and racial stereotypes. All types of women appear topless throughout the movie and of course the trophy blond sleeps with the all the best skiers. Kendo, the Japanese freestyler, opens peanuts by karate chopping them and incorporates kung fu into his dance moves. Hot Dog also has a bevy of priceless one liners. The screenplay, written by Mike Marvin, gets away with a level of raunchiness not often seen by today’s standards.

If the story line and cast don’t have your attention yet, stop the presses because Hot Dog contains some of the best ski footage shot in the 1980’s. Many sports films come up way short by not accurately portraying the sports they feature. For example Sylvester Stallone free climbing with a full rack of gear in “Cliffhanger”. Hot Dog portrays the sport of skiing as it existed in the 1980’s perhaps more accurately than any other media at the time. Released in an era in which you had to watch ski racing to see skiing on television, Hot Dog showcased the Rat Pack simply destroying Squaw Valley both in competition and free skiing. Harkin Banks ski double Robbie Huntoon impressively rips classic Squaw lines including Beck’s Rock, The Alternates, Rock Garden and Broken Arrow. Other Rat Packers tear up the Box, the Light Towers and Enchanted Forest. The ski competition scenes, which include ballet, moguls and aerials, were filmed with real freestyle competitors during the Annual Winter Snowfest (yep, it’s been going on that long). Multiple camera angles used for Harkin’s “Kissass Blaster” may have over dramatized the jump a bit, but all of the action features real skiers in all of their helmetless 1980’s glory.

The highlight of the movie is the International Chinese Downhill…an every man for himself race to the bottom for $2,300 and the title of being the best skier on the mountain. Aggressive racers wear full motocross gear and employ dirty tactics including bludgeoning devices, blunt force weapons, and turbo smoke screens. Filming the Chinese Downhill combined legitimate skiing with impressive stunt work. At one point Harkin’s character skis through the Gold Coast mid mountain complex and crashes through a massive plate glass window before slicing through a picnic table and continuing down Mountain Run. Perhaps even more impressive is stunt skier Lane Parrish getting kicked off course and flying about thirty feet up into a pine tree.

Hot Dog is not the best movie ever made. If not obvious by now, it barely qualifies as a B class movie by any standards of film making. Though not well received by critics, the film was a hit with audiences and did very well at the box office. Closer to our neck of the woods, the movie really resonated with passionate young skiers nearly thirty years ago and is still good for a laugh today. Sure it glamorizes the rambunctiousness of ski town living to the lowest common denominator. However, it succeeds in painting an image of immense fun, athleticism and natural beauty that remain in North Lake Tahoe today. In no way do I regret moving here because of Hot Dog, rather I am very grateful for it.

Now Playing: Exit Strategy

Exit Strategy is film about skiers who choose to leave the crowds, boundaries and other limitations of ski resorts in search of untracked powder and a more satisfying ski experience. Filmed during the superb ski season of 2010, the movie features a cast of North Lake Tahoe locals including Squallywood Author Dr. Robb Gaffney. Though primarily backcountry focused, Exit Strategy has plenty of in bounds powder footage from Squaw Valley, much of which showcases Squaw’s rowdiest lines from the point of view perspective. The film also includes a trip to the legendary ridge of Bridger Bowl as well as tours of Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta in Northern California. The movie captures real people with typical lives and jobs who find ski touring and mountaineering to be the most rewarding of all recreational pursuits.

Exit Strategy is an independent project that began as a hobby and ended up being a full length ski movie. It was never intended for mass production or retail sale. It will be posted indefinitely on the home page of

Exit Strategy
Directed and Produced by Rob McCormick
Running Time: 42 minutes

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