When you've been in the ski movie game for as long as most of the big name production houses out there, year after year the struggle to create a film that is as fresh and unique is difficult. Snow can only get so deep, lines can only get so steep, and the number of accessible, skiable mountain ranges is finite.
Thankfully for ski moviegoers, companies like Level 1 place the necessity for creativity at the top of their checklists when producing a new film.
"We take a lot of pride in being different," says co-director Josh Berman, who started Level 1 out of his college dorm room back in 1999. "We want to be unique, we don't want to be like the other guys."
Premiering their 19th annual film, Zig Zag, last Saturday night in front of a packed crowd in Denver, Colorado, Level 1 proved to be just that. Breaking away from a narrator driven storyline they have used for their last two films, Level 1 decided to ditch the commentary for Zig Zag and let the skiing do all the talking. With no superfluous slo-mo or lifestyle shots, Zig Zag's message is clear--less talk, more skiing.
Since the beginning, Level 1 has put a much heavier emphasis on skiing's street scene than other film companies, swapping out heli bumps and skiing spines for bungee cord tow-ins and sliding handrails. In true Level 1 fashion, Zig Zag comes straight out of the gate with an opening street segment shot in Sweden featuring Scandanavian shredders like Kim Boberg and Oliver Karlberg who make you question what's physically possible on a pair of skis.
In addition to featuring some of the industry's top tier street skiers, Level 1 also does an incredible job of highlighting their athletes’ versatility. Rather than focusing on locations, Zig Zag puts the skiers at the core of their segments, giving talents like Sami Ortlieb the ability to showcase his skills and creativity both in the park and in the backcountry.
Zig Zag still appeals to the powder hound in all of us. Featuring the likes of Thayne Rich, KC Deane, and Chris Logan getting their fill on endless face shots and massive backcountry booters.
And with a closing segment starring Parker White sending it off some of the biggest features I've seen in recent memory, you're sure to leave the theater thinking the same thing--enough talking about skiing already, let's put our boots on and get out there.
Zig Zag Trailer