Featured Image: Oskar Hall
It’s not far out there to say that the Faction Collective has amassed one of the greatest teams of skiers the world has ever known. Not to say there aren’t other dream teams out there, and no shot to the plenty of rippin’ skiers who have chosen to be a part of smaller brands either. But you would be hard-pressed to find another brand with an assortment of skiers as entertaining to watch as Faction’s legendary crew. Perhaps the one factor that has set Faction apart the most in recent years is the fact that the Verbier-based brand has created several full-length films that showcase top-of-the-line production quality and skiing.
Releasing an annual team film has become a mainstay for Faction and their first three movies easily stacked up against releases from other big name production companies, creating a new avenue for ski brands in the media space. Now, with a new winter upon us, Faction is releasing its latest film online, in full, and completely free of charge—and you can watch it right here. Don’t forget to play it big and turn up the volume!
I’m one of the lucky ones, and was given a sneak peek at the flick before it launched. There are also tens of thousands who had who had the chance to watch the film over the course of the fall; Faction brought the film on tour to 28 countries and screened it to over 300 different locations from September thru November. If you’re one of the many who have also seen it—bravo to you for seeking out one of the best films of the year. For those who are about to press play though, here’s everything you need to know about Faction’s latest flick…
The names and places are the stuff of legend. Alex Hall, Antti Ollila, Ben Buratti, Elisabeth Gerritzen, Bella Bacon, Blake Wilson and Tim McChesney are just a few of the folks you might recognize from the team’s extensive roster. While, individually, they are each amazingly talented, bringing their own skill set and refined styles to the table, the real magic happens when you throw them together into crews at top notch locations and set them loose. Which is exactly what happens in ROOTS; it’s as if the Megazord is unified and set free to wreak havoc at ski hills across the globe. You’ll also find that Faction pulls its talent from every corner of the ski world, gathering skiers from different disciplines, backgrounds and places across the globe. From Jackson, Wyoming, to Ruka, Finland, Mt. Baker, Washington, to the Italian Dolomites, there are few reaches left untouched by the Collective.
The filming gets better every year. Etienne Mérel, Faction’s in-house director, has an extremely recognizable style that conveys a refined craft. He and his team’s camera angles and editing skills work hand-in-hand to pull you into the world of these skiers, and you’ll notice in several segments “drop shots” combined with side views of the jumps. These dynamic techniques give a new perspective on just how freakin’ massive some of the features are in real life. Oftentimes it can be hard to get a grasp on the scale of things when the camera is stationed at the bottom of the run or feature: By giving a new vantage point, Etienne and the ROOTS film crew are able to give a truly mind-blowing experience when it comes to putting the viewer as close as possible to “being there” with these rippers, and the result earned the movie “Best Cinematography” at the 2021 iF3 Film Fest in October.
Overall, “Roots” showcases the best of ski culture. Behind the expensive cameras and meticulous editing, this film tells a story of those grounded by doing what they love. These athletes live and promote a lifestyle that isn’t centered around money, nor fame or praise. As is mentioned throughout the film, if that’s what you’re looking for, this isn’t the path for you. Because skiing is just that—a lifestyle—and it’s about meeting people that share the same spark. Skiing offers the chance to disconnect from the world and enjoy, a simple pleasure at the core of our sport. ROOTS is just an extension of our culture; it invites you to tap into the beautiful world skiing provides. Now hit the damn play button already and revel in the world-class production and awe-inspiring skiing from some of the sport’s best. When the movie is finished, grab your buddies and head for the hills; it’s ski season, baby!