The golden age of freeskiing is gone. I understand that this statement may turn some heads, but allow me to elaborate. There is a timeline to any craft, where you can trace back when the origins were, and when the acceleration began. For our case, let’s say that the ‘golden age’ is the period of rapid growth and expansion early on in the game, when individuals are just beginning to push the boundaries and explore what is truly possible. Think J.P. Auclair, Tom Wallisch, Candide Thovex; the big hitters of pre smart phone days. By no means am I saying that skiing is stalled, or that there isn’t an abundance of progression. Look to The Bunch, to Faction, to Capeesh, and plenty of others. You’ll find a plethora of riders advancing the sport in every discipline under the sun. Let’s call this, our current state, the ‘progressive age’.
Both are equally as important. Obviously without the former, there’s no start, and without the latter, the whole thing would fizzle into nothing. And while the progressive is beautiful to watch unfold, there is an undeniable nostalgic pull to a golden age of anything. Luckily enough, there is another evolution happening under our noses; a different golden age. One that coincides with the skiing in a way that it seems to be a part of it as much as it is a result of it. I’m referring to the growing number of films that use skiing as a medium to convey another sense of creativity.
These experimental films disguised as ski movies are an evolution in skiings timeline, and a definitive change in how the lifestyle and sport are documented. “As the Carousel Swings” is yet another name on this ever-growing list of incredibly creative projects. Björn Eklund, the mastermind behind both the filming and post production, is a man with few public works. He’s certainly worked with some of the best, while filming for Level 1 and helping with the editing for a handful of short ski films. But as far as projects that exist under his own name, or that of his company, Multicolored Studios, there are just two that can be easily be found online; ‘Phantom Brickworks‘, staring skier and music producer Hugo Burvall, and ‘Butterfly‘, a three year project centered around the never-aging Swedish ski phenom, Kim Boberg. “As the Carousel Swings” is his latest project, and it’s no exception to the standards that Björn has previously set. The skiing and filming go hand in hand, as they both work together to bring your full attention to what’s in front of you.
As with all greats, Björn’s works are crafted with an unmistakable style that could have only come from one individuals mind; his own. The world he lures us into is an amalgamation of abstract and precision. Each shot and transition seem at first glance to be placed at random, yet they are so clearly deliberate in every sense of the word. It’s difficult to put a pin in what exactly it is that makes this film so enjoyable to watch, but I don’t think we need to completely understand every aspect of the mad scientists product, nor his process. Sometimes what’s left unsaid is the greatest part. Memorable art is never about one specific technique, nor the realization of an undeniable answer. Rather, it allows you the space to bring your own interpretations to the table. It points you in a direction, leaving the rest up to you as the observer, and brings a freedom that no road map could ever duplicate.
At the end of the day, if you take nothing away from “As the Carousel Swings”, that’s completely fine, too. Part of the beauty here is that, while the film can conjure an array of feelings and emotions for those watching, it asks very little in return. You don’t have to follow every single step and walk away from it understanding a new lesson of life. There’s no pressure to know how all the tricks were done, (which you won’t), or realize how each meticulous scene was created, (which you also won’t). None of these things are necessary to enjoy this film. You just need to be along for the ride. As Björn puts it, “as long as the carousel swings we will keep on going”. A huge thank you to Kim Boberg, Oliver Karlberg, Hugo Burvall, Melwin Morén, Emil Granbom, and Björn (the muthaf*ckin man) Eklund, for forging a uniquely inspiring piece of art, and for pushing ski films into a new era.
“Inspired by my father and his joy to life, as well as the song ‘As The Carousel Swings’ by The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Every now and then I doubt myself on making ski movies. I keep telling myself this is the last one- but as long as the carousel swings we will keep on going.” -Björn Eklund