photos: Jamie Walter
It was a rainy night in Quebec City for the world premiere of BE Inspired, the two-year creation of Eric Iberg, Phil Casabon and Henrik Harlaut. A couple hundred people crowded into a warehouse on the north side of town to take in the show.
Some of the people there were small, made smaller by their baggy hoodies. They looked like miniature Dom Laporte’s or, more accurately, sized-down Phil Casabon’s. Phil is, after all, the man they were there to see. He is top dog in the Quebec scene; the prodigal son sitting on two years of unreleased footage, one half to the B&E whole. The other is of course Henrik Harlaut, the joyous Swede, the grinning face in this masterful duo. To the 13 year-old skier, they verge on god status.
The young fans were lined up at 7 o’clock sharp, when Phil, Henrik, Tanner Hall, Cali P and Dillon Cooper slid into their seats and began signing autographs. It’s at that moment that the pros must look biggest to the kids. Signing posters and posing for photos, these skiers are bridging the gulf that can seem so huge to fans. Never was that more obvious than when Tanner leaned out of the conversation he was standing in and reached back to fist bump a crew of young hoods. He thanked them for coming out and suggested they take a photo together. It was for the love of the sport, and Tanner wears that love on his sleeve. Movie premieres are essential in this way, and we would do well to preserve them.
Elsewhere in the venue was a lot of the usual premiere-night stuff: a huge neon Monster Energy logo glowing on the wall, clusters of friends eager for the movies, and parents standing near the back looking altogether lost.
Just after 9 o’clock (Iberg runs a tight ship), the lights dropped for Tanner Hall’s latest, “Ring the Alarm”. His movie is a skier’s movie. “That’s the love of the sport,” he says in a voiceover. “That’s just all I know. That’s just all I want to know.” There are shots of him skiing Haines lines that this Quebec crowd simply cannot fathom. They lose their minds. Howls, hands in praise. There are shots of him open coat with an avy beacon strapped tight around two layers of tall cotton. At one point Loic Collomb’s boot pack was visible, and it is easily one of the most precarious I’ve ever seen. In another shot Sam Cohen ducks into an Alaskan line that flew over the heads of this crowd. No frame of reference for that kind of extreme.
BE Inspired, the main event, began next. It's quite simply an achievement. We've written about it already, and Twig is right on the money. My take is this: Phil and Henrik serve their skiing to you like rap mc’s. The movie is their cypher and they’re leaving the mics in body bags. They’re clowning on us with that mammoth tube. Same with the red ledge in Quebec. We should be so lucky to witness it.
From there, the night ran away into sets by Randy Valentine, Dillon Cooper and Cali P. The quality of their performances is testament to the cross-cultural network that Phil, Henrik and the Inspired family have developed. Real recognize real. In the audience heads bobbed to the rhythms, and when the vibe surged beer and limbs flew in all directions. We were a couple hundred people in a warehouse in Quebec City watching great skiing alongside other skiers. We should remember to do this more often.