Monday, October 29, 2007

Tales of the Rope

In the past two weeks I've mysteriously started receiving issues of SKI magazine. Not that I'm to complain about skiing literature to read, but the addition of another magazine to my home has me completely overwhelmed on reading time. Regardless, I still read it. As a magazine goes, it's an interesting toned down bit on the outdoor lifestyles of skiers. Seems to be written for a mostly maturer audience. I'm not so sure I like their "learn how to do it" sections' presentation method, but thats for another day.

In the first issue I received, the back cover has an opinion piece written by the one and only Warren Miller. The article centered on the joys of a rope tow and how it taught so many, was simple, was cheap, etc all in the Warren Miller nostalgia manner. He closes with a bit of a rhetorical question with an allusion to the changes in skiing culture that centers on the idea of "Where did all the rope tows go?"

To answer your question Mr Miller, if you leave the confines of the big destination resorts for a little while, you'd find that those mysterious rope tows can be found at the small resorts of America. I have several destroyed pairs of gloves to attest to this. But more importantly it's at the smaller resorts where you find regulars mixing freely with new comers and the staff.

Now if you were to ask about the T-Bar... thats a whole different topic...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Review: PowderWhore's 07

Had the opportunity to catch the latest from the PW film crew as they traveled through. I've said it before, I'm not a big tele skier. Having successfully navigated my way down the mountain a few times on some teles, I can say the feeling can be very similar to lunges. I've only been successful on one ascent attempt with them. I'll have to keep trying this season.

Anyhow back to the film. This film is strictly a telemark skier film with asentions and decisons going on all film (I think there was one shot with a snowboarder at the very end, but the powder made it hard to tell). Initial reactions from friends and I:

It felt very short. Coming in at about 45 minutes in length, the overall movie feeling was much less. Outside of (possibly) adding in more stoke shots, I'm not sure there was much that could be added to the film to change that feeling. I'm also not sure that's a bad thing.

Awkward filming. Having watched my fair share of these films, there get to be some expectations in the style of shooting. For example most of the bigger budget films set up angles to show the rider arriving towards the camera or on a constant follow from a distant peak or helicopter. PW07 contained a lot of shots like this, while including several following shots where the skiers would ride past the camera only to disappear into the distance. This gave it a feel for an extremely low budget film, but did provide a nice change.

Optics quality was lacking. Without giving away some of the film, one of the most awe inspiring moments comes with a horrible focus blur problem. It's obvious this was an unfortunate attempt at using a digital zoom and not an optical zoom. Several other shots of long untouched powder we speckled by red, blue, and green dots from the digital camera sensor brightness level being overloaded. Probably should have had a tint and polarizing lens on there. At least invest in a better optical zoom lens, it will make all the difference for the film.

Big mountain riding. These guys had absolutely no reason to go play in the park. They had some great shots of big mountain riding, and the pure bliss that comes with it. The few riders who did try some grabs, weren't spectacularly amazing grabs, but enough to convey the air time they were enjoying. There were certainly a couple of ridge lines I wish they'd have ridden though.

Editing. For the most part the editing was fine. The comedic montage of personal statements felt like a bad edit at first, but made more sense as it went on.

Comedic gold. I'm not sure if the guys planned every moment I found humorous, but they obviously love what they're doing and love that they can do it. It shows in how they dealt with each other.

Repeat shots. I did get confused a couple of times during the film. Was I watching a ski pron or was I watching an episode of "Walker Texas Ranger"? While not nearly Walker level of annoying, the constant showing of a shot from multiple angles allowed some drops to be understood a lot better. On the other hand that is the job of the editor, to pick which are the best shots. After the second time of seeing the same drop from 3 different angles I got tired of the effect.

Bunch of teases. Not only did they show some amazing powder, backwoods, and climbing shots to get my psyched for the season... they also teased me with a raffle where I won absolutely nothing. Talk about leaving you high and dry...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Peak Peformance: Stop Go Stop

Looks like Peak Performance went and did something really nice, they made a ski film! Not only that, but it's also available online for free. Go check it out at As far as a video goes, it's rather enjoyable. Some nice musical syncs, some great moments in the snow, big mountains, a few tricks, a good couple of crashes. Well worth watching.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A-Basin back again

By the time this makes it to post, it's old news for any powder hounds, but whatever.... A Basin is open! Let the 2007-2008 season officially start. Anyone make some turns today?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Review: Matchstick Productions - Seven Sunny Days

The previous two years I've found Matchstick Productions films to be some of (if not THE) best of the films produced. Hence, it was with great anticipation that I awaited the arrival of Seven Sunny Days.

For the most part, the film did not disappoint. Some truly beautiful jumps and landings to be had throughout the film. MSP continues to push the viewer "into the action" stages with their creative camera angles, placements, and usage. I'm not sure how many cameras they end up destroying each season, but some of the results are certainly worth it. The continued inclusion of creative comedy skits is always welcomed. My favorite scene has to be the helmet cam shoot-through the crevice on (what I swear was a) one foot maneuver.

My main complaints with this seasons' film, it felt more like a park and pipe movie with less mountain riding, and MSP it's time to grow up and get larger venues! You know, with seating, or at least a non-crappy dance club speaker system. Yikes! I couldn't understand a word being said during the movie, but on second hand I really didn't care either. The cute burnette next to me was reason enough to be distracted from the dialog.

The big take away from this film, slowly but surely all these films are becoming very similar to Warren Miller's original style, minus the over dub.

Snow Dumping

The folks over at Kahru have a brief post about some of the northern Cascade ranges and their snow. My personal favorite line:

Up high in the North Cascades, Mount Baker received 20” of new snow yesterday (Ed: 10/4/2005)
20 inches. In October!

Snow Stoke Part 3

Looks like the fine folks at Nike's ACG group have gotten together and put up some great little snow stoke videos online. My personal favorite seems to be the Hokkaido Japan trip with some beautiful powder. Go check out a few, it's certainly worth it.