Warren Miller’s ‘Chasing Shadows’ comes to Breck CMC Nov. 20-21
“Chasing Shadows” Breckenridge premiere
What: Premiere of this season’s Warren Miller ski film
When: Friday and Saturday, Nov. 20-21 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge
Cost: $15 adults, $10 kids
All proceeds from the local premiere benefit Dillon Valley Elementary School. Tickets are available at the door or online at breckchasingshadows.eventbrite.com.
Warren Miller’s “Chasing Shadows”
What: The 66th annual winter film from Warren Miller, with footage from Alaska, Utah, the French Alps and more from a roster of all-star skiers, snowboarders, monoskiers and powsurfers. In other words, it’s yet another beauty from the ski film masters.
Stars: JT Holmes, Seth Wescott, Caroline Gleich, Steven Nyman, Marcus Caston, Ingrid Backstrom, Pep Fujas and more
Director: Jon Long
Runtime: 98 minutes
“Chasing Shadows” will be available later this winter after the international film tour wraps up. All Warren Miller films are available on DVD or Blu-Ray through the Warren Miller web store ($19.99 and up) and through iTunes ($9.99), Amazon ($9.99 HD purchase, $3.99 HD rental) and the Google Play store ($9.99 HD purchase, $3.99 HD rental).
Only a Warren Miller crew would ever dream of a ski trip to the rough and ragged Himalayas — and then actually make it happen.
In “Chasing Shadows,” the 66th annual feature from the world’s most recognized ski-film house, a few of the absolute best (and craziest) winter sports athletes got together for classic Warren Miller globetrotting. There’s big-mountain skiing in Alaska, snowboard halfpipe at the Dew Tour in Breck, monoskiing shenanigans in Jackson Hole, speedskiing (aka paragliding with skis) high above Chamonix, even a bit of love for mogul racers — you name it and this film has it.
Like all Warren Miller flicks, this one is hardly content to get stuck in a neat and clean box. Every narrated segment, beginning with the film-opening trip to Chamonix, features a core group of athletes (both male and female) doing what they do best. Speedkiers JT Holmes and Espen Fadnes start things off with a bang, flitting from snow patch to snow patch while pulling mid-air 360s before landing on bare, green grass just outside of France’s mountaineering mecca.
“You always need to be aware of those big cliffs or hazards you have in front of you,” Fadnes says of the jagged peaks around Chamonix. “Then, all of a sudden, this big cliff approaches you, and instead of stopping or getting into trouble, you do a little toggling move with your hands and you’re a bird.”
And liftoff. The speedskiing footage is stunning and expertly edited together with footage from helicopters, grounded videographers, helmet-mounted GoPros and a slew of body cameras. These guys must have been loaded down with as much filming equipment as gliding equipment. When Fadnes takes a rough landing, he discovers that one of his leg straps was broken for most of the flight. So it goes in the extreme sports world.
The segments are all paired with a touch of cultural commentary, featuring the mountain-town locals who live and breathe winter at each locale. The Chamonix trip ends with Jacques Démarchi, a “’70s hot-dogger” who owns the first French monoski and invented the “aeroski,” small wooden wings you can flap to do — something. The pros aren’t convinced, but the quirky local is endlessly entertaining. Every mountain town has a few, and these towns just wouldn’t be the same without them.
Now, back to the tour de force sequence: Heliskiing in the Himalayas. Unlike Alaska or New Zealand or South America, simply attempting a ski trip through the world’s tallest and deadliest peaks just doesn’t happen often. The conditions are extreme, the environment is unpredictable and the risks are steep. Case in point: Seth Wescott’s snowboard didn’t arrive in Nepal until the day before the heli excursion.
“The expanse of these mountains was just pretty unreal,” he says. “(They’re) undoubtedly the most amazing, powerful mountains I’ve ever seen in my life.”
And that’s coming from a guy who’s won gold in Olympic boardercross — twice. The risks are entirely new, but the rewards of cruising through the dizzying “foothills” around Mount Everest are more than worth it. The powder fields of the region, known as Annapurna Massif, seem to go on forever, surrounded on all sides by peaks topping out at 26,000 feet.
After six decades, it’s hard to compare Warren Miller films. Each one manages to find something new and exciting while staying firmly rooted in the awe and inspiration of all things winter. “Chasing Shadows” is no different. For anyone who loves skiing or snowboarding — as in, anyone who lives within driving distance of the Breck premiere this weekend — this is mandatory viewing. You won’t regret a second.
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