Words and Photos by: Jamie Walter
The Inspired Movie Tour made its first American stop in Burlington, Vermont on September 15th, after two successful (and very different) premieres in Quebec City and Montreal. Having attended both of those, I was curious to see what the turnout and reactions to the movies would be like down at the University of Vermont.
Phil Casabon, Henrik Harlaut, and I piled into my (very close to broken) car and drove down from Montreal to Vermont that Monday afternoon. Our trip was relatively mellow; Phil dj'ed some low key instrumental hip-hop beats, Henrik fell asleep for the first half of the drive and I soaked in the fact that two of the most currently influential skiers were both in MY car. Even our US Border crossing went smoothly, despite the car being filled with one American, one Canadian, and one Swede who had no clear story as to why we were entering the country. Henrik did have to fill out some paperwork, but after a $6 stamp fee we were back on our way.
The crowd gathers outside the Ira Allen Chapel at UVM.
We rolled up to the UVM Ski&Snowboard Club house to meet Paolo, the president of the club, and Eric Iberg, the man behind Inspired Media Concepts. The guys filled Eric in on how the first two stops went and look over huge stacks of posters and Inspired swag that Iberg has brought along for the rest of the stops. The UVM premiere marked the American beginning of their almost nightly movie tour with stops at universities throughout the United States.
The view from the back was just as good.
The autograph line was impressively long.
The premieres were hosted in the Ira Allen Chapel, a venue with plenty of pew seating and three massive screens up front. At first I had my doubts about holding an event full of rowdy skiers inside a chapel, but it quickly filled with hundreds of UVM and St. Mike’s students. Jason Levinthal even showed up with a fresh pair of Inspired Media Concepts x J Skis collab skis.
Inspired Media Concepts x J Skis Collab.
The line for autographs was backed up out the door, and by 7:30pm it was still stretched and had to be cut off. I’m not sure how many posters Phil and Henrik ended up signing in that time frame, but they were still smiling, shaking hands, and talking to every last student in an “Inspired Vermont” tshirt that walked up to them. Those two love what they do, especially spreading stoke to skiers all around the world.
Minds were blown.
A few quick swag tosses and an introduction from Phil and Henrik got the crowd fired up before the lights dimmed. This was my third time watching both flicks, and I can safely say that both movies can, and will, still impress you no matter how many times you see them. Whether it was picking out small details in Phil’s editing or appreciating just how HUGE Henrik sends a double flip off a rather large ridge, both “Keynote Skier” and “Road to Zion” contain so much impressive skiing that it’s hard to take it all in at once. I was not alone in being “wowed,” as a few quick glances around the chapel revealed that everyone else was just as impressed as I was, and it was only their first time seeing them.
Jason Levinthal praised Henrik and Phil for their movie tour after the showings. Henrik gets the 'gram in the background.
One sweet shot ski, signed by Phil Casabon.
The chapel was buzzing with excitement after the movies ended and the lights came back on. It was clear that the stoke had spread from Phil and Henrik to the massive crowd, and I believe that this movie tour exists to do just that. Even JLev got on stage and expressed his support for what the guys are doing, and the audience agreed with an enormous applause. The UVM SSC kept the crowd going with more swag tosses, a raffle for one of the coolest shot skis I’ve ever seen, and capped it all off with a classic Inspired group photo. As people finally filtered outside, you could feel a familiar mix of energy and cold air - the feeling that winter is finally coming.
Thanks to everyone that came out to the showing, Eric Iberg for making the tour happen, and Phil and Henrik for their continued efforts to get more people stoked on skiing. Keep spreading the love! This article is dedicated to my now dead Toyota Camry (2003-2014). You made it 301k miles and survived the drive to get Phil and Henrik where they needed to be. RIP.