Words and Photos: Josh Bishop
On Saturday, September 8, friends, families, and athletes stood shoulder to shoulder at the City Hall Amphitheatre in Denver, Colorado, to celebrate the release of Level 1's 13th film, Sunny. Tom Wallisch, Tim McChesney, Parker White, Tanner Rainville, Mike Hornbeck, Pat Goodnough, Will Wesson, Wiley Miller, and Chris Logan signed posters for two hours while the theater filled up. DJ Largechild blasted music on the wheels of steel (read MacBook Pro), drinks flowed from three bars, and raffle tickets were dispensed like candy at a rural New Hampshire street parade.
When the film started, the balconies were so packed you could barely get a glimpse of the opening credits. While sprinting to the bottom floor, I pushed my way to the back of the crowd to see the intro give way to a mix of athlete and travel segments that transitioned perfectly from one scene to the next. Exotic destination trips to Japan and Turkey were standout, while athletes in Alaska explored new urban environments and fully disregarded the pristine peaks. Park shoots at Breckenridge and Sun Valley were immaculate, and every athlete segment documented tricks that were more calculated and unique than a standard ski movie.
The most impressive aspect of Sunny was that Level 1 generated something of such high caliber without good snow. According to Level 1's Freedle Coty, the key to success was staying in British Columbia the entire year. "I actually didn't film outside of B.C. until late March," he said. "There was no need to go anywhere else"
Overall, the film demonstrates that imagination is endless, provided you have the right ingredients to help you along. The Level 1 formula changes year to year, which is exactly what keeps us coming back for more and more each fall.