Halcyon Days are defined as a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful. This title is a perfect fit for this movie. The halcyon, nostalgia if you will, runs through this film like a beating heart and it didn’t take long before I was mesmerised.
Jiberish edits are known as some of the most OG of the OG edits, and Halcyon Days had me reminiscing of those days. Nick Meilleur's film harks back to the days of small crews going out, filming and releasing banger content. An epic crew of riders have come from all parts to stamp their mark on each and every segment of this flick.
One of the defining features of Halcyon Days is this dichotomy of old school vibes and that new style skiing we’ve come to love. The editing and video style could almost be from the golden-era if it weren’t for some of the tricks we see (and a few drone shots that would have cost a fortune all those years ago with a heli). It's no surprise that old school vibes run through this one, with the pedigree of the line-up here. Superunknown X Finalist (and SU XIII Semi-Finalist) Jacob Hyllengren Larson shares his progression in life, now combining a 'real job' with skiing every day. Old dogs don't need new tricks when they have style like his... but he's got a couple.
Left to Right: Joona Kangas, Kai Mahler, Anttu Oikkonen & Daniel Hanka
For the last few years Scandinavia has been working its way up my seemingly infinite list of places I need to go and ski and the move has me feeling the itch to get over there quick. Vinterpark, Norway and Levi, Finland get their fair share of free advertising here. Both look like incredible places to be and to ski. Joona Kangas is butter incarnate. His shots from Levi are gorgeous and this whole segment excellent – Anderson .Paak x Joona Kangas is a combo I never knew I needed, but I certainly did.
The track selection throughout is perfect, and there is some flawless editing here. I don’t want go down the road of talking about the individual shots from the Levi trip as we could be here all day. To put it simple simply: it's full of style and bangers. Oh, and night skiing, or just, 'skiing' in that part of the world. Anyway, that’s fucking cool too.
There's an element of relatability throughout Halcyon Days that really stuck with me. All the shots are from resorts, their parks or sidecountry. Places us mere mortals can go to ourselves during the season. It’s often a curse of ski movies that everything feels very out of reach to the viewer. Unsurprisingly, the skiing in Halcyon is untouchable. But it skips the custom parks for spring sessions, seemingly endless heli trips, and urban features with long builds of most of today's ski movies. All of Halcyon Days is within the confines of what a regular ski trip could look like. It’s nice to only feel separated from the riders in terms of ability, not access as well. Because of this the vibes feel very tangible, not only does it tick my most important box for any ski movie, making me want to ski. But it ticks another, less frequently ticked, box; I could ski all these spots!
It’s not just Joona who drips for the entirety of the film. Kai Mahler, a favourite of many, shows up in the second act and shows just why he has a long career ahead, despite having quit the comp scene. His bag of tricks is so ridiculously versatile and creative, it’s hard to keep up sometimes. His hands-by-the-sides 180 is a one of my favourite tricks of his, you can’t beat that simplicity. That’s the real joy of Mahler’s skiing, everything he does, from simple rail slides to creative pre/post takeoff/landing grabs look effortless. He closes out the film with some “chill” laps in Laax on both natural hits and through the park and pipe. He’s a true master of his craft. Daniel Hanka gets an honourable mention for skiing fast and bringing his unique flavor to proceedings. We love your style Dan, never stop!
Now that's how you grab Japan!
There's a smattering of sidecountry and powder shots in the movie too, and they break things up nicely. An all-park film can sometimes feel samey, although I don't think this would have had the off-piste been ommitted. The spot, shot and trick selection in the pow pow is bang on and really adds to the overall feel of the film; just a tight crew hanging out and ripping.
This film brings back memories, echoing vibes from the 'golden days' of freeskiing, but with creative, modern park shredding. It's a joyous reminder of what skiing is and can be, very much needed in these difficult and uncertain times. I enjoyed every minute of Halcyon Days. It's well balanced, beautifully shot and edited. The sections of narrative are excellent and made me think (read: shout) “I want to live there!” at every new location talked about.
The industry standard is moving away from feature length films to smaller crew oriented punchy shorts. That is a shame in some ways but great in others. I love being left wanting more and Halcyon Days does just that. I hope there's many more to come from this crew.
Halcyon Days was live for 24 hours only, exclusively on Newschoolers. It'll be back online later in the season. Keep an eye out for more NS premieres and don't miss the next one!