Words and Photos by Ian Campbell
The annual Meathead Films’ premiere at the University of Vermont was held last Friday, and for the first time in months the vibe of winter and ski season was in the air again. The Meatheads put on a double showing of their 2010 production, “Work it Out”, and everyone and their mother came out for the event. A whole slew of the Meatheads showed up, including Hammer, Radio Ron, Will Wesson, Andy Parry, Shea Flynn, as well as many other athletes, filmers, and photogs who were there to sign autographs and just enjoy the night. Entering the theater, I realized I was following the Governor of Vermont, Jim Douglas, who came by for the first showing and even stopped to admire the new “Meat Wagon” in front of the theater.
Inside the hallway was an endless corridor of schwag from all sorts of sponsors, from Line and K2 skis to Nokian Tyres. And there was a swarm of fans hungry for a chance to meet their East Coast heroes from the big screen. And they were not disappointed, as all the athletes were signing the new “Work it Out” posters and whatever else the fans handed them. Later in the night, Dan Marion was even witnessed giving the Hammer a forearm sharpie tattoo that simply read, “Keep the Shred Alive.” Those four words encompass so much of what the Meatheads have always been about, and to see the generational gap spanned like that it became clear that Meatheads like Hammer and Radio Ron are passing on their years of knowledge to the young guns. And the veterans still have a lot left in the tank!
The first showing brought out the families and younger Meatfans and the second show was packed with college students and young adults a.k.a. “the rowdy bunch.” Will Wesson raffled off a pair of Line Chronics at the end of the first showing. The winner, a little guy who couldn’t have been more than one year old, was perhaps the Meatheads’ youngest fan. Good thing the little dude didn’t win the Pabst Blue Ribbon edition K2′s that were raffled off after the late show. At the beginning of each showing, the Meatheads hyped up the crowd by tossing out all sorts of sponsorship goodies from chapstick to Ski the East apparel.
The film itself maintained the quality and level of creativity folks come to expect from the Meats over the years. This year, though, there were a few standout segments. First, Will Wesson, Andy Parry, and Shea Flynn’s adventure into Washington, DC was surreal. Seeing people skiing in, and through, places like the Lincoln Memorial that no one ever considered ski destinations before was just amazing. Then, due to the weak winter, Director Geoff McDonald made an executive decision to head farther east than any Meat Wagon could take them, Hokkaido, Japan, in search of copious amounts of snow. L.J. Strenio, Dan Marion and Sean Decker absolutely killed it in Japan where they were blessed with an outrageous amount of the famed Japanese powder. This is a segment not to miss. Finally, back in the states there was the annual throwback mogul segment, which was greeted with loud cheers. Hammer and Radio Ron, using WD-40 as wax, have an intense part up at Sugarloaf in the few remaining mogul fields. Again, a crowd pleaser.
After all the free products were dispensed and everyone was completely stoked for the upcoming season, a few of us headed down to my place for a couple more PBR’s before heading down to Metronome where the after party was wild and raging. Everyone was having a great time enjoying each other’s company, discussing plans for next year, and getting their party on in celebration of, once again, another quality film.
The Meatheads have really created their own unique style in the ski movie industry, a combination of intense, technical and extremely creative urban offset with some large park shoots and, as always, the best backcountry skiing footage to come out of the East Coast. On that note, keep your fingers crossed and pray to the snow gods for another successful year. I cannot wait to see what the Meathead’s come up with next year.