We are in another ski movie "Golden age" – New schooler | Episode Movies

Here at NS and in other corners of the ski world, we talk a lot about the ‘golden years’. This happy era has a few notable traits: affordable housing for ski bums, a small roster of pros with celebrity status, no iconic or epic lift lines, more pow days, and a roster of killer ski movies. Unfortunately, I can’t say that we’re reliving the golden days of yesteryear. The distribution of Icon and Epic Passes is clogging the arteries of our old haunts, housing in ski towns is going straight down the drain, and the fabled ski bum is now more of an endangered animal than a mythological creature. However, on the filmmaking side, we seem to be entering another golden age and this is why:

During the freeskiing heyday, the movie scene was dominated by a few heavyweights. Fall rolled around, and you packed into your local theater to check out the latest offerings. If you enjoyed a movie, you can grab a DVD or VHS copy to watch later. The 5 to 10 films that appeared per season covered the entire spectrum of ski media.

Now, with the advent of consumer cameras, Instagram, YouTube, newschoolers, and free high-quality video editing software, everyone is making ski films—the production and publishing tools are readily available to everyone.


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This season, the democratization of the ski film world has reached a critical mass. What was once a small selection is now a tidal wave of short films, feature films and solo parts. Take a quick look at iF3’s setlist and you’ll see what I mean. Sure, there are the usual mainstays like MSP and TGR, but exciting single-rider parts like Jake Mageau’s “Be Water” and Cole Richardson’s “Your’s Truly” also make an appearance.

The craziest thing about all of this? Once fall is over and winter begins, most of these movies will be released for free. Well, I’ll be the first to say it: it’s not easy to make a decent living in the world of skiing, and I hope those who produced these films received proper compensation, whether it be through a travel budget or a paycheck . I’m more than willing to spend money to support those who make ski films (buy Forre’s latest film). However, I can’t help but pinch myself every time I log onto NS during the cinema season and there’s again a high-quality free movie or individual part (the three movies embedded here were all released in the last few days). We truly do live in an age of content abundance – gone are the days when you could only watch a few movies a year.


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Here is the definition of democracy: “a system of government by the whole population or all legitimate members of a state, typically through elected representatives.” A few paragraphs ago I mentioned the “democratization” of ski filming. Today there is a greater diversity of voices in the film circle than ever before – women, non-white people and disabled people are visible in ways they weren’t in the past, which better reflects this whole population of skiing. While we grapple with authoritarianism on a political level in the US and elsewhere abroad, skiing seems to be heading in the right direction.

Take, for example, In Your Dreams and Nexus, two new films produced and starring only women. While there are still exceptions to the rule, their existence suggests women are starting to take up more space in the ski media, a net win. And as we move forward, women-only ski movies will be known as cross-genre paradigm shifts; it will only be ski films that aptly depict the diverse composition of our sport.

Diversity is not just about representation. It can also refer to the style of filmmaking. Setting up a ski movie no longer always means drone shots, 4K cameras and cineflexing. You can get fuzzy dad cam footage, really interesting athlete stories, and movies that better reflect the average skiing experience if that’s your thing.


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Produced by Lupe Hagearty and directed by Owen Dahlberg, Rhythm in Chaos is a perfect example of this diversity in filmmaking styles. Produced for Deviation Works, the film is clean but gritty and relies on handheld camcorders to create unique perspectives. At the other end of the stylistic spectrum, in the world of traditionally polished films (gimbals, drones, more megapixels than you can count), there’s also plenty of choice, like Blank Collective’s “Feel Real.”

The democratization of ski content is not without pain. The rise of social media has cranked the proverbial content firehouse to the highest level and bombarded us with non-stop clips. This challenge isn’t just limited to skiing and affects everyone with an internet connection by discounting long-form content. Scrolling through quick hit clips requires significantly less mental energy than committing to a 45 minute ski movie. When we only had long-form films to choose from, we didn’t risk racking our brains before we got to the good stuff, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks we’re going to make the feature-length film Losing Instagram roles would seriously damage freeskiing culture.

Similarly, all of the tools that launched this golden age of freeski secondary media, such as social media, internet access, and consumer gear, are the children of an ever-accelerating technological takeover of our lives. Ten years ago I had an iPod shuffle that I only listened to music on. Now I have an iPhone full of apps explicitly designed to fragment my attention and keep me at home and mindlessly scrolling. To say that our attention spans and our need for real human connection are under attack would be an understatement. Loneliness, after all, may be the defining story of this century; a worrying prospect because ski movies really shine when viewed in a community setting.

So this new golden age is not without its downsides. But what era of abundance doesn’t? After all, every new solution presents a new problem. Technology has turned ski film production on its head, but it has also exposed us to its worse side effects.

Luckily, faced with this challenge, we skiers still seem keen to get together. iF3 is back in full swing and countless film tours are sweeping the country this fall. Last season, skiers flocked to the slopes in record numbers to meet friends and shred. Skiing has always been so sticky about maintaining old and new relationships. And with more filmmakers taking over the mantle every day, we’re better prepared than ever to showcase our sport. To live through another series of ski films “golden years”.

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