Living in London and only usually getting a week or two on snow every winter, I tend to satisfy my cravings by watching the X Games, ski movies and segments posted on NewSchoolers.
But while it’s good to keep up to date with the latest big mountain lines and progressive new tricks, there are only so many Alaskan face shots and Himalayan expeditions I can take before I start to switch off. It’s not that these feats aren’t impressive – who doesn’t love a 100ft huck or gully straight-line – it’s actually their degree of difficulty that’s the problem.
The skill, strength and resources required to bounce through pillows in Japan, tackle epic first descents in Svalbard or conqueror the highest Andes are so far removed from what the average skier can manage, that it becomes hard to really engage with the action.
That’s precisely the reason why I reckon some recent resort videos have proved so popular. I’m thinking the in-bounds section of MSP’s ‘Days Of My Youth’ with Cody Townshed, Richard Permin, Banks Gilbelti and Sander Hadley ripping up Revelstoke, Snowbird and Crested Butte – probably my favourite five minutes of the movie – or Candide Thovex’s now-infamous ‘One of Those Days’ shorts.
Obviously they shred on a far higher level than most of us, but much of what these guys are doing is within our reach – we’ve all aired off natural slope-side feature, zipped through tree paths and buttered around on blue runs.
One day I may be able to afford to heli-ski in BC or muster the fitness for a proper Alpine touring adventure, but I’m well aware that I’ll never be a pro-skier, so as much as I love watching them push the sport forward, their burly escapades subconsciously make me feel all the more inadequate.
The thing is, watching things like Whistler’s GoPro Any Day Lines, there’s a good chance I can actually re-create some of their on-piste and side-country antics, living the dream for a few days and coming back with some helmet-cam footage that almost resembles what the pros put out.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think the showpiece of any good ski film should be deep pow, steep lines and massive airs, but judging from the above videos' reception, most movies would be improved by a segment or two bringing things down to earth and back to basics; just so the core audience isn’t forever alienated.