Ski movies premieres: “Valhalla,” in Breckenridge, and “Elevation,” in Frisco
Monday, Nov. 4
Where: Breckenridge Backstage Theatre
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Backcountry Brewery in Frisco
When: 7 p.m.
Hollywood may have its award season, but here in the mountains, as the snow starts to fall and the resorts start to open more and more terrain, many of us welcome the upcoming winter with a different kind of ritual pageantry.
That’s right, ski porn season.
Editor’s note: The aforementioned term was once used in company clearly not well-versed in the mountain lifestyle. What followed was a fairly confused and disgusted look until it was clarified. So with that in mind, “ski porn: a movie or movie clip consisting of montages of sick ski or snowboard tricks with no context, plot or any other attempt to tie it all together,” as defined by urbandictionary.com.
Monday night offers up two opportunities to indulge in the annual pre-season movie ritual with premieres in Breckenridge and Frisco — though both filmmakers would argue, and rightfully so, that their movies are more complex than the above definition. The Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge will be showing Sweetgrass Productions’ latest offering, “Valhalla,” and the Backcountry Brewery in Frisco will host the filmmakers of Powderwhore Productions for a screening of their new movie, “Elevation: A Backcountry Film.” The Summit Daily was given advanced copies of each to review prior to showings.
“It’s about finding your own freedom, refinding the beauty of youth,” says “Valhalla” director Nick Wagoneer. The movie, two years in the making and featured in Outside magazine, strays from traditional ski porn by adding a story line, an idea that Wagoneer says is unique to the typical ski film.
Part fictional narrative, part ski movie, the film follows a main character/narrator’s journey of self-discovery to a ’60s-style skier’s Shangri-la in the mountains of British Columbia. While it may add a story line, make no mistake, it still has plenty of solid ski and snowboard sequences shot in both B.C. and Alaska.
As a sort of homage to the ’60s and early ’70s, the film definitely carries an eclectic vibe complete with Woodstock-era music and a dream-like psychedelic night skiing sequence.
“The original emphasis comes from watching a Woodstock film,” Wagoneer told the Daily. “The ’60s and ’70s vibe is something people immediately understand.”
The movie carries a theme of recapturing the innocence of childhood and rediscovering freedom in the mountains. It’s definitely a unique twist on the traditional ski movie.
The film may not appeal to anyone looking for the run-of-the mill ski movie. But if you’re open to something a little different and enjoy some Led Zeppelin and Steve Miller while skiing, it’s worth checking out. Fair warning: There are some nude skiing sequences.
“Valhalla” is showing at the Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge Monday, Nov. 4, at 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 (includes two beers) and proceeds benefit the Snow Leopard Trust and Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). The movie is also available on Blue-Ray, DVD, iTunes and Netflix.
Elevation: A Backcountry Film
“Elevation” leaves the resort and heads deep into the backcountry in a documentary style. “This movie is part ski porn, part documentary and a full-on propaganda piece promoting the joys and wonder of exploring on skis and split-board,” filmmaker Noah Howell said in a news release.
The movie jumps around, capturing people’s backcountry ski stories in off-the-beaten path destinations that include the Cascades in Washington, the Tetons, the lesser known Wallowas in Oregon and a number of other locations in Utah and Alaska. At each stop it introduces the viewer to people passionate about backcountry skiing and riding.
“We were looking for interesting stories and unique places that haven’t been done or were just too good to pass up,” Howell told the Daily. “We’re trying to mix ski porn with actual story.”
He and his brother Jonah are the men behind Powderwhore productions. Describing their approach to film, Noah said: “We try not to take ourselves too serious. We try to get out with people that are having fun and capture they’re doing by staying out of their way.”
“Elevation” definitely hits some unique destinations and tells the story of people passionate about the backcountry in the process. There’s a good chance it’ll also make you laugh.
The Howells will be at the screening at Backcountry Brewery in Frisco on Monday. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. “Elevation” is also available as a digital download, through iTunes and on DVD.
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