3D, HD, 8 year olds, steeper, deeper, more serious. We headed down to the International Freeski Film Festival in Annecy this weekend to check out the latest ski films from Teton Gravity Research, Matchstick Productions and a host of others hitting the shelves….I think we have just seen the future of skiing, in more ways than one. First of all, 3D ski films. We weren’t that bothered about the hype surrounding 3D. How good can it be? Well, it turns out having seen Sammy Carlson rip through a few jumps in 3D Slow mo at the end of the TGR film Light the Wick, that it’s actually pretty damn special. It was only a short section, but it really whet the appetite. How long will it be until the first full 3D ski film? Not long we reckon. A 3D head cam shot would possibly be the best thing ever, aside from actually shredding some of the knarliest lines in the world ourselves (which we admit might not ever happen).
The second glimpse of the future? Kelly Sildaru in Punch Line, an awesome new film from the French free riders behind PVS Company. The girl (can we call her that?) from Estonia is only 8 years old, yet she charges almost like a seasoned pro, spinning on and off rails, 540’s, deep pillow runs. Keep a keen eye out! Punch Line was an awesome film, well edited and linked up, and we can see why they won the Most Innovative Visual Effects award.
Predictably, The Way I See It, MSP’s latest, cleaned up many of the awards – Best Film, Best Editing and Peoples Choice. Hard to argue really. Incredible footage held together with insight into the lives of the riders pushing the limits over the last year. Colby West seems to be taking more of a comedy role these days (and good at it he is too), as Bobby Brown, Sean Pettit and others ripped through everything they were put in front of.
All the ski films took us to some awesome new locations too. TGR explored the unskied and serious looking terrain near St Petersburg, Alaska. Some awesome rag doll falls in there, leaves you wondering how some of them are still walking! Meanwhile, PVS took us to Kamchatka, Russia, and did you know you could ski in Croatia? Well, it looked pretty awesome when the TGR riders turned up in time for the best snow in 50 years! We were also looking forward to seeing Say My Name, one of the first all female ski films, featuring Grete Eliassen. Our experience wasn’t helped by some technical problems in the cinema, but we were left a little disappointed with the editing, and the scripting of it just had that hint of cheese to it which did no one any favours. Take nothing away from the riding though, some great lines in there from the Pro Female of the Year. Keep an eye out for Legs of Steel though – their Pilot filmed last season suggest there might be some pretty good films coming out of these Austrian rockers over the next few years.
We spent most of the day with sweaty palms and heart pumping, but couldn’t escape that nagging feeling that TGR’s carbon neutral claims and calls to respect the mountains might be a touch ironic. Helicopters, snowmobiles, avalanche blasting..this was classic man in and over nature entertainment. Massively entertaining and inspiring it was too, but surely that is only going to fuel our demand to get out into the mountains?
It’s more important than ever then that we support the ski operators and accommodation providers who have shown us their commitment to doing their bit. As Jeremy Jones showed us in Deeper, there is plenty to explore without the use of helicopters, snowmobiles and lifts. And use the train not the plane when you can!We have put up clips from our pick of the ski films we saw: Light the Wick (Teton Gravity Research), The Way I See It (Matchstick Productions), Punch Line (PVS Company) and The Pilot (Legs of Steel). Check them out and get psyched! Winter is coming…