What Sets Days of My Youth Apart

MSP producers on the behind-the-scenes secrets of their two-year project

Since their 1992 short film, Nachos and Fear (two things any skier worth his salt should be familiar with), Matchstick Productions has consistently created high-quality and innovative film. With the documentary McConkey taking the place of their 2013 film, MSP, in collaboration with Red Bull Media House, put two full seasons of shooting into this year’s Days of My Youth. We checked in with producer Mike Hans and executive producer Scotty Bradfield to find out what we’re in for this year.

Mike Hans: The filming schedule for Days of My Youth allowed us two full winters and an opportunity to shoot in the southern hemisphere between seasons. It was a relief to slow things down and take a more meticulous approach to filming rather than rushing through a single four-month window of winter. This allowed the team to settle into each location for longer periods of time and increase their odds of filming during the best possible conditions.

Scotty Bradfield: Having more time started the process off right, before a single frame was shot. We were able to take a lot of time discussing what we wanted to accomplish and say with this particular film, and really identify a story we felt represented skiing in a fresh and accurate way.

Richard Permin spins a 3 in British Columbia, Canada, while filming for Matchstick Productions' 'Days Of My Youth' last March. PHOTO: Alain Sleigher/Red Bull Content Pool

Richard Permin spins a 3 in British Columbia, Canada while filming for Matchstick Productions’ ‘Days Of My Youth’ last March. PHOTO: Alain Sleigher/Red Bull Content Pool

MH: Days of My Youth really brings a more calculated approach than prior MSP ski films. The additional time we had to produce each shoot, according to carefully planned storylines, really helped to develop the overall theme of the film. Additionally, we were able to secure access to the readings of the prolific Alan Watts—his speeches on living a better life. We were also able to gather insights from the athletes, which help to weave the narrative of skiing as a worthy and justifiable lifelong pursuit.

SB: While this film features amazing locations and the best skiers in the world, it’s not the typical rider part or location-based movie structure. Each segment represents a different facet of skiing, and the way it shapes and impacts us.

James Heim needed a snorkel while scoring freshies on the set of 'Days of My Youth.' PHOTO: Blake Jorgenson/Red Bull Content Pool

James Heim needed a snorkel for the B.C. segment of ‘Days of My Youth.’ PHOTO: Blake Jorgenson/Red Bull Content Pool

MH: The athletes featured in this film had a lot of say with regard to the type of skiing that would be showcased. They wanted it to feel real and accessible to viewers, as did we. In the end that results in some very unique segments—including a fun inbounds ski area session on everyday terrain and a roundtable discussion about what it’s really like to stand atop the most frightening lines in Alaska.

SB: At the end of the day, the technologies we use are just tools to tell great stories and inspire fans. We always want to be leading the charge with state of the art cameras, but it’s also about having the right tool for the job and not leaning on technology as a crutch. The high-caliber skiing paired with next level production value add up to make a film that will be fun to watch, while sending a message that skiing can keep you young for a lifetime.

Michelle Parker poppin' through the trees in B.C. PHOTO: Blake Jorgenson/Red Bull Content Pool

Michelle Parker poppin’ through the trees in B.C. PHOTO: Blake Jorgenson/Red Bull Content Pool

MH: We had a lot of fun working with a small, intimate cast of skiers over the last two years. All of the MSP veterans put together some incredible performances, and viewers will definitely want to keep an eye out for Richard Permin, Cody Townsend, Markus Eder, James Heim, and others. A couple of new guys brought a really fun approach to the inbounds ski area segment. We were lucky to get Banks Gilberti and Sander Hadley involved in shooting for that part of the film, and it’s awesome to watch those guys shredding together and having a good time. It’ll remind everyone of their best day on the hill just ripping around with buddies and grinning ear to ear.

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