Yep, it's that time of year again. September. The month when ski movie companies roll their annual hour-long compilations to theaters packed with adoring fans. It's a glorious time, really, when the stoke for skiing is at its yearly high.
But let's face it: You hit three or four of these a year, spread over an adulthood of skiing, and the scene can get a little...well... monotonous. One steady stream of bros and their entourages of bromosexual friends blends into another, and before you know it, 10 years have got behind you and you find yourself married to a "Brand Manager" and living in Ogden, Utah, with a kid... and maybe starting to get a little bromophobic in your old age.
To be honest, the parties are fun. Really fun. What has become mundane is the coverage of these events. Day after day website after website is inundated with stories from the latest premiere, most entailing a non-offensive write-up and a stock sequence of shots: the marquee, athletes signing posters, and so on. In the rare occasion a journalist tries to do something weird, like give his honest take an on event, it usually ends with said writer being called a slew of nasty names and getting summoned into the publisher’s office like some sort of juvenile delinquent. Because it's media partnerships with apparel companies that make the snow fly in the winter, and the sooner we ski-journalist types realize this, the better off we'll all be...
I hit my first premiere of the year last night when 4FRNT's second annual team movie, DANG! debuted at the Tower Theater on 9th and 9th in Salt Lake City. Rest assured, I had my shot list in hand, and I've compiled them as proof that I am still a Ski Journalist, and did in fact attend a ski movie premiere this year. But before we get into that, a few candid thoughts on DANG!
• Hands down the best ski movie title of the year, which lead to a constant stream of jokes at the pre-party. "Where's your DANG! shirt?" "That's a nice, DANG! hat." You get the picture.
• The pre-party, at the 4FRNT StoreFRNT at 2900 West Temple in Salt Lake felt more like a backyard bbq than a movie premiere party.
• DANG! is a good movie. It's entertaining, then it's over. That can't be said for a lot of ski movies these days. Austin Ramaley is a really good editor.
• It doesn't intend to compete with Level 1, Poor Boyz, et al, and it doesn't. A lot of the best shots (David Wise's pipe runs and doubles at Snowbasin) were shot under greybird skies when most film companies wouldn't bother. Knowing the behind-the-scenes, though, it's understandable. This was the only day 4FRNT had access to the Snowbasin Dew Tour course. I'm not going to go so far as to say it actually adds to the production, but it's definitely more in tune with reality for most of us: You ski when you can, not just when it makes nice pictures.
• 4FRNT's team flicks are intended to promote the athletes you won't see in bigger productions. That said, Wiley Miller and Hoji have the best segments, followed by Wise and Cody Barnhill. Purchase it for those guys, but watch it to see Finn Anderson, Andy Partridge, Nick Miles, Laurent Favre, Will Berman, and the rest of the team that you won't see many other places.
• In introducing the film, 4FRNT founder Matt Sterbenz said something to the effect that the team movie is the future (I don't have his exact words because that would have required staying sober and taking notes, and while I did stay sober, I didn't want to let everyone know that by actually taking notes. Plus I didn't have a pen.). It's actually the past (see Performers, K2 or anything from the Bones Brigade). But his statement reminds me of an Aerosmith quote from the grunge-rock ’90s, after they were called, “just another three-cord rock band.” Steven Tyler's response was, "Who else is still doing that?" Ski companies these days make webisodes and spend 10s of thousands of dollars to place their athletes with a major movie company. Which in 2012 makes the movie DANG! as quaint and colloquial as it's name. And maybe a sign of things to come.
• Overall the evening was a nice collection of fellow bromosapiens, which is really what premiere season is about.