rambling by Jeff Schmuck
crisp and professional photos by Dan Brown
drunken and out of focus ones by
There’s no finer way to get pumped for the arrival of old man winter than with a good old-fashioned ski movie premiere. We all know the drill. You saunter on down to your local theatre/lodge/ballroom/bar with your friends and loved ones, maaaybe have a few along the way, throw down $5, and take your seat. As you impatiently away the movie who’s trailer you’ve watched ten million times to begin, you see friends you haven’t seen in a while, or people you recognize from your local hill who you’ve never actually met, but still exchange smiles with. Maybe a few of your favorite skiers are there, so you score an autograph or two from them and share stories about last winter while discussing your plans for this one. The lights eventually dim and someone from the film usually appears on stage and proceeds to pelt you with free stuff to get you stoked. Then at last the movie begins, and you hoot and holler as loud as you can at the images that will have you dreaming of winter until that annual magical morning comes, when you open your window and see snow on your home hill.
The International Freeskiing Film Festival facilitated all these moments and more for many of us in Montreal a few weeks ago. After two straight days of premiere after premiere after premiere and a chaotic weekend of partying, anyone with half a brain and in desperate need of a fully functioning liver would be happier than a pig in shit to not go to another premiere for at least a year. So as the multitude of people who made the trip out to Montreal for IF3 were heading home, with their foggy memories, crystal clear daydreams and pulsating hangovers in tow, what did myself, IF3 and Bula’s JF DuRocher, Poorboyz’ Tyler Hamlet, Phil Benjamin and JP Auclair and the infamous Mike Rogge do? We piled into Rogge & JF’s whips and headed out on the Poorboyz Bula East Coast Movie Tour.
the tour begins...
Most (especially IF3 Preisdent Felix Rioux and even the king of party animals Doug Bishop) thought we were flat out crazy. I was fighting a cold and in dire need of rest, JP had a ton of things to do before leaving for Kenya on his Alpine Initiatives trip, Rogge had school and JF’s head was still spinning from everything that needed to be done in the wake of the festival. But the prospect of heading out on the road to hang out together, meet new people and show Reasons (and party) in Burlington, Boston, New York City and Glens Falls while spreading the stoke to skiers all down the East Coast was more important to everyone…so off we went.
Poorboyz' Tyler Hamlet: you like me, you really like me!
After the boys made the first tour stop in Quebec City (which I skipped due to my cold) to hang out with our friend Phil Belanger at D-Structure, our journey began at the NS office in Montreal where Tyler picked up his four NS Awards for Reasons, including Best Trick, Best Editing, Best Single Shot, and of course, Best Film. We loaded the awards, luggage and bottomless pit of Bula/PBP beanies into the vehicles and drudged through Montreal traffic before finally reaching the border, which we surprisingly crossed with no hassle.
A hop, skip and a harassment of an On Star employee later we arrived in Burlington, Vermont, a quaint university ski town and home of two pioneers of the sport, Mike Nick and Jason Levinthal (neither of whom showed up for the premiere…dicks!), along with some little snowboard company called Burton.
After a quick redneck dinner that was made that much more redneck via our first round of many of Big Buck Hunter during the tour, we headed up the hill to the University of Vermont where the ski club had everything ready to go for us.
Big Buck Hunter: round 1 of 734,282
As the crowd congregated like vultures in the Vegas desert, the UVM crew got things warmed up with Joystick’s Hot Lunch and edits from Jiberish and John Symms. Slowly the chairs filled up and it was show time. After now having seen it numerous times, I can’t help but notice what an interesting films Reasons is to watch in a premiere setting. Poorboyz has strayed from their usual barrage of ski porn imagery with this masterpiece of a film, thus it is a much slower movie than their previous offerings. Due to this fact, each crowd I’ve now seen the film with has reacted in one of two ways and with no in between…so quiet that you can hear a pin drop, or so loud that you can’t hear yourself think.
In Burlington it was the former, as the crowd sat in silent awe from the opening segment of JP and Benchetler slaying light and deep Japanese pow all the way to the appropriate hammer of Simon Dumont’s quarterpipe world record. After the film was done, the boys from Nordica were gracious enough to hook us up with a few pairs of skis to give out.
UVM! UVM! UVM!
The first pair went to whoever had the sweetest tattoo, with it coming down to some chick with a Nike swoosh (complete with their slogan Just Do It underneath) and a guy who was sporting a fresh UVM tattoo. It was a tough call, so we figured we’d let the crowd decide. To no one’s surprise, a very frat boy-like chant of UVM broke out. It was settled. For the next pair of skis we played my personal favorite premiere game, which is where you put a $20 bill on the ground and have someone stand on one foot and attempt (and I stress attempt) to pick the bill up with their mouth without anything else touching the ground. As you can imagine, some serious carnage ensued with people smashing face first into the floor (mostly girls who should really be more flexible), but hey, it is for a free pair of skis right?
bobbing for dollars...and skis
After the Burlington premiere (and a night of college-style partying which included more Buck Hunter, drunk chicks, a battle of the bands and a whole lotta chicken wings) we were off to Boston.
Tyler steps it up to Big Buck Safari, where he killed entire families of endangered African animals in round 2,116 of 734,282
the lengendary Dan Kaminski makes a much-welcomed appearance
Upon entering city limits, Rogge blasted the soundtrack from The Departed as he and Tyler eagerly pointed out filming locations from the movie. We entered downtown with Rogge essentially playing snakes and ladders through the narrow streets as JF could nearly be heard screaming in French a block behind us. We checked into our hotel and as JF and JP threw a Macbook party in the room, Tyler, Rogge, Phil and myself hit the streets to kill time before the show.
After checking out Quicny Market and the fake Cheers bar we stopped to watch some badass breakdancers from New York called YAK, who upon completion of their show approached me to complement my fresh Voleurz gear, which they were more than happy to sport for a photo or two that we knew the Voleurz family would be stoked on.
the YAK breakdancing crew reppin Voleurz...
Then after Rogge hooked them all up with some Bula/PBP beanies it was off to meet the man of the hour, and every hour for that matter, John Symms. Symms had been hanging out in Boston sobering up after IF3, and was looking forward to a mellow night with us before boarding his 6am flight to Pennsylvania the next day to see a childhood friend. Little did he know what he was in for…
The Greatest Bar
The Greatest Bar in Boston hosted the show, and were great enough to make it an all ages affair so the kids could come out and enjoy the film. In a contrast to the respectful silence that beheld the Burlington premiere, the Boston premiere went off like a rodeo in Arkansas. People cheered, jeered, ooh’d and ahh’d and lined up after the credits rolled to give props to Tyler, JP and Phil.
JP, Tyler and some stoked fans
People really know how to party in Boston, and they weren’t afraid to show it during the film, or after, when everyone in our crew had a few too many courtesy of the friendly Bostonians and appropriately spent the night in various locations other than the hotel room.
Symms being hard as fuck while Rogge plays it cool with the ladies
The next morning, our crew decided that having Symms around was just too much fun (as it always is), so we staged an Al Qaeda-style kidnapping so we could bring him with us to New York (well not really, as Symms fell victim to the perils of alcohol and ended up missing his flight, at which point he agreed to our insistence that he join us in the Big Apple). We again packed up our whips and headed down the east coast through Rhode Island, Connecticut, and an Old Country buffet en route to the city that never sleeps.
stocking up for New York
New York was the crown jewel of the trip, as on top of it being New York, Red Bull was hosting a VIP-style premiere for us in the Red Bull Space in Soho which JF had purchased six cases of Vodka in New Hampshire for (God bless New Hampshire and their liquor prices). Once the unforgettable skyline of Manhattan appeared, I got extremely excited, as New York is my favorite city in the world (but not as excited as Rogge when he saw Citi Field, the new home of the New York Mets, as Rogge is the biggest Mets fan in the world).
New York City
We weaved through Brooklyn (home of Biggie, Jay-Z…and Nate Abbott) and took the Brooklyn Bridge into to the abyss of Manhattan. Once on the island, it was time to harass the On Star employees a little more as our French counterparts (who had already arrived) didn’t know the name of the hotel, or how to get there. But after much horn honking, fist shaking, swearing and doing more figure 8’s than in Aspen Extreme we finally made it, and checked into our home for the night.
We then got suited up (since it was New York) and watched Symms bust out some push-ups in the hotel room while insisting he wouldn’t miss his altered flight the next morning. We then piled onto the busy streets and on the way hit up some good ol’ New York street pizza before arriving at the Red Bull Space.
Symms gets warmed up for the night
the mean streets of New York
From the second we arrived we knew it would be unlike any other premiere we’d done, as the venue was extremely unique. With immaculate white walls, floors and intricate lighting, a dj booth and two fully stocked Red Bull bars, the party was on. We got to try out the new Red Bull cola (which is not only real tasty on its own but also goes well with Rum and Vodka), meet Tyler’s mom, hang out with some of Rogge’s friends and people watch strangely-dressed Soho guys as we hit on a host of models, or rather, wannabe models.
Red Bull Space...
We weren’t sure what to think about the scene initially as it seemed apparent that the majority of the people there didn’t know anything about skiing and were there more for the party than to scream their heads off at the film (with a notable exception: some die hard skier who thought he was being dragged to a lame cocktail party by his girlfriend who damn near shit his pants when he saw JP and discovered he was at a Reasons premiere). But boy were we wrong. New York turned out to be the loudest of the tour as the crowd at the Red Bull Space were absolutely flabbergasted by what they saw.
Symms looking damn good as usual
Tyler & JP introduce the film
As the film went on the crowd got louder and louder (most notably during the Quebec rail segment) as the drinks kept flowing and flowing. Once the show was done, it was down the street to a bar that Red Bull had arranged for us, where more drinks flowed, Rogge damn near passed out from exhaustion, I horrified a stagette by performing a tough guy shot (snort salt/drink Tequila/squirt lime in eye) and a harem of women tried to make John Symms miss his flight. New York, New York.
blatant and shameless Newschoolers plug
The next morning, to my surprise, Symms managed to make his flight and we were off at a reasonable hour to Rogge’s hometown of Glens Falls, New York for the last stop of the tour.
West Mountain, NY
Where as everyone was most looking forward to the New York stop (other than Rogge, who was most excited about this one), the Glens Falls stop was going to be the most special. The premiere was put on in coordination with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with all the proceeds from the door going to them. The premiere was held in the ski lodge at West Mountain (Rogge’s home hill), which perfected the tour’s streak of each and every stop being drastically different from the last: a prim and proper auditorium, a wild and wacky bar, a lush and posh gallery and an old and character-filled ski lodge.
By far the most special aspect of the night though was the attendance of Nathan Voorhis, an eight-year-old ‘Wish kid’ from South Glens Falls who has been skiing at West Mountain since he was three and who’s wish was to meet a pro skier. Nathan has Moyamoya disease and underwent corrective brain surgery in January of this year after a month of stroke-like symptoms. His mother informed us that he has a few more x-rays and potential surgergies to go, but during his recovery, he's been a happy and healthy boy who loves skateboarding and skiing.
the crew shares stories with Nate from Make-A-Wish...
Upon arrival at the venue, our crew happily spent the afternoon with Nate, listening to his stories about skiing at West Mountain (including when he accidentally hit a cliff when he was three but stomped it!), hooking him up with free swag, having him throw out product to the crowd and all in all doing anything and everything we could to put a smile on the face of this courageous little man, and in the end…what a huge smile it was.
...and JP puts him in charge of the swag toss
The good-sized crowd then took in Reasons and we all watched in silence as the last showing of the tour came to a close. At the end of the night a line-up formed in front of JP for autograph after autograph after autograph, with Nate at the end of it.
JP signed for everyone
JP signed his hat and hoodie, and then to the delight of Nate and all of us looking on, gave him his Kendama, which he quickly attempted to master.
Nate works on his Kendama while his mom reps NS
As we piled outside to the parking lot in preparation to go home and watched Nate excitedly wave good-bye from his parent’s car, any feelings of sadness that the tour had come to a close were erased by our smiles. Smiles that knew we had done our part, however small or big, to give a little piece of stoke for Nate to hold onto as he fights his battle, and for all the stoke we had brought to the hundreds and hundreds of others that we were so thankful to meet in Burlington, Boston, New York and Glens Falls…in the hopes that their winter comes that much sooner, and will be that much better.