Hot Dog… The Movie Turns 30

Looking back on the classic, with the cast partying in Squaw on Saturday

Lynne Wieland was 19 and unsatisfied with college when her father bought her a one-way ticket from New York to San Francisco so she could move to Squaw Valley, USA. A life-long Killington skier, she was working at Tahoe City's Granite Chief Ski Shop when the production of Hot Dog… The Movie came to town.

Her friend Robby Huntoon, who did the skiing for the film's protagonist Harkin Banks (Huntoon actually skied through the window pane of the second story of Squaw's Gold Coast Lodge), recommended Wieland for a minor role as part of Dan O’Callahan’s Rat Pack. They had hired an actress for the part, but Wieland, who could rip, out-skied her. She became Michelle "Banana Pants."

"To fulfill her contract I think she was the one who threw a drink in Squirrel's face when he asked for a blow job," Wieland says of the of original actress.

During filming, Wieland hitchhiked Highway 89 to Squaw every morning at 5:30 for makeup, and skied whenever they didn't need her on set.

"I was 19 years old, making $1,000 a week," says Wieland. "It was the first time out on my own. So you're all of a sudden thrust into this Hollywood production. And they partied, man."

"Yeah, the Chinese downhill is the only way."

“Yeah, the Chinese downhill is the only way.”

John Reger, who plays Rudi Garmisch, the angry German freeskiing champion, got the part after pretending to actually be German. Now a co-anchor on NBC affiliate KSBY in San Luis Obispo, Reger, a former Stanford basketball player who proudly says he still fits in his Hot Dog speed suit, looks back on the production fondly.

"(The Rudettes, his characters' company) were all local ski bums working at restaurants and we didn't have anything to do for the first two or three weeks up there," he says. "We just skied during the day and partied."

Mike Marvin, who grew up in Tahoe City, wrote, directed, and produced Hot Dog. He says the film is based on things that happened in his life while he was making ski movies around the Tahoe area.

"Compared to today, (the freestyle events) were gigantic," he says. "Thousands of people showed up and the whole idea was to party."

Marvin went on to produce several Hollywood films, and also directed the ski scenes in Better Off Dead and the Spy Who Loved Me. The scenes from Hot Dog, he says, are all based on true events. Like the wet T-shirt contest.

"I was beating around town and heard music. I went in and it was a full blown," says Marvin. "There were four guys on stage, bald-headed, playing saxophones, naked to the waist, and wearing spandex. A guy named Terry as MC and eight beautiful girls taking their clothes off, being sprayed with beer and champagne, and pretty soon it turned into a live orgy on stage. And guys were jumping out of the audience and having sex on stage. That was the freestyle circuit when it first started, anyway."

Showcasing great skiing (and great tits) to the masses turned a lot of people onto the lifestyle. Matt Reardon picked up the movie randomly at Blockbuster and watched it at his friend’s cotton farm in a small Louisiana town in hopes that it would be a respite from the brutal heat passing through.

"The film was life-altering to say the least," Reardon wrote in a recent e-mail. "I immediately told my parents, at the age of 13, I was going to be a pro mogul skier like Harkin. It sounded odd to my folks, never having seen snow prior."

By 21, Reardon joined the Bud Pro Mogul Tour and relocated to Squaw Valley. He's now the executive director of the Squaw Valley Institute, and responsible for organizing Hot Dog’s 30th anniversary party this weekend.

Says Marvin, "I always believed from the very beginning that it would be successful… But I never dreamed that 30 years later we'd be talking about it."

Details, Details

Hot Dog 30th Anniversary, Saturday, April 26
Squaw Valley OVL House, doors at 5:30 p.m.
Q&A with Director Mike Marvin and several cast members at 6:30 p.m.
Film premier at 7:30 p.m. with special directors cut narrative
Memorabilia auction items and raffle prizes
Costume party and live ’80s theme music après film
Master of Ceremonies UNCLE E