After winning the top award last year, Geoff Stump was hesitant to submit a film for this past weekend's 2012 NEPSA Awards. The NEPSA’s are traditionally presented on the opening night of The Meeting in Aspen, and it’s a pretty loose crowd ready to laugh and get psyched on riding. “I tried to get my fellow filmer friends to submit their films,” Stump says, but much to his surprise, they all told him that they wanted him to submit one too. Stump said he struggled for a concept that would fit the criteria and work with the ski footage he had shot the previous season, before deciding that he would adapt the “Before Aspen” theme.
Officer Lamekey busting Aspen Spora.
The film opens with a quick puppet scene featuring Officer Lamekey busting young riding sensation Aspen Spora. Spora then “shrawlps” an opening segment and the film quickly becomes a tribute to the great skiers and personalities that came “before.” Torin Yater-Wallace and Matt Walker were both eager to help because they had cut their teeth with Stump when he was coaching the freeride program that he developed in Aspen. “I’ve got great footage of them both from the days when they were little rippers,” Stump says. “This past winter I only shot with Torin and Walker for one day in the regular park in Snowmass. I was just following them while they were having fun playing on the standard features.” With a concept in mind, Stump started down the path of creating a short that began with 11-year-old Spora and proceeded to give respect to many of those who contributed to skiing and the town of Aspen’s mystique and culture.
To fit the extensive NEPSA criteria, Stump still had to put an athlete into a non-skiing environment. He decided to end the film by joking that Klaus Obermeyer was older than the dinosaurs. Geoff said that some of his friends got worried and suggested that he’d better check with Klaus because, “Klaus might not like that.” So Stump went into Klaus’s office and told him that he wanted to put him in a scene with dinosaurs chasing him. Klaus reportedly laughed and said, “Great, I love dinosaurs. I remember when there was quite a few of them.” Now with skiing legend Klaus Obermeyer involved, Stump knew he had the ingredients for big laughs. But NEPSA movies have to adhere to several guidelines.
Klaus Obermeyer vs Dinosaurs
Stump now had to include the use of original music to comply with another NEPSA criteria. The main track of the edit is the song Get Back Home from Stump’s band Stumpa & Gathered Nation. He wrote, produced, sang and played rhythm guitar on the bumping old school ska song that sets the mood of the film. “It was a song that we used to perform with the 8750 Reggae Band back in the 90's.” Rasta Stevie from Blizzard of Aahhhs fame was in that legendary skiing reggae band. The track also features other musicians, including The Untouchables, Eek-a-Mouse, Boom Shaka and The Congo’s. “Aspen Valley is my home, so the track just seemed to fit the local vibe of the film,” Stump says. He also used part of a song called “No Indian” from Casper and the Mighty 602 Band. Though he didn’t play on that specific recording, Stump played hundreds of live gigs with Casper when he was living in Arizona. “Casper is a great friend and singer/songwriter from the Hopi First Nation people. When we pay tribute to the Ute Nation (Aspen’s original occupants) we wanted a First Nation band.”
On September 27th, the Wheeler Opera House was rocking and “Before Aspen” and Klaus got huge laughs and the night's only standing ovation, and a subsequent second place finish at the NEPSA Awards. Stump and Klaus had once again achieved there main objective. “Whenever Klaus and I work together, it's all about fun.” Ultimately, that is the Newschoolers mentality embodied in a couple old school skiers.
Stump Films presents, Before Aspen