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‘Penken State of Mond’ – Gavin Rudy and friends at Penken Park, on the wild glaciers of Austria

Most films begin with a concept; an idea around which the flick can find its bearing. In skiing, this can be a variety of things. Oftentimes it’s a feel that the person behind the camera is trying to convey. Larger projects, like the timeless 2013 movie ‘Valhalla’ by Sweetgrass Productions, have shown how it’s possible to thread a plot line through the breathtaking action shots of skiing British Columbia powder, linking the piece into a cohesive unit of story telling and adrenaline. More recently, the shorter edits that dominate YouTube and Instagram seem to focus on the style of skiing or personality and build around that. The residual factor between all of these is the vision one has when they set out to film. But Gavin Rudy, a master of his craft who has honed his skills in the recent years creating solo projects and working with the Strictly crew, has shown us that true style and vision unfold themselves as they goes, and that you don’t always need a floor plan to start.

‘Penken State of Mond’ had no master plan, no blueprint, it was all off the cuff. Gavin shared this with us when we were prodding for answers surrounding what pictures he had gotten from the time the edit was filmed, or, moreover, what the thought behind the filming and production had been. It turns out the 5 minute hammer of an edit was simply the unplanned product of good people coming together over a common love; summer skiing at Penken with your homies. “It was sweet. It was just any other unplanned two days of skiing. Turned out it was one of the most poppin’ sessions I’ve ever seen.”

This might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but the cohesive feel of the whole thing is very impressive when considering there was no roadmap to start. Yes, when Joona Kangas, Simo Peltola, Dani Bacher, Ferdi Dahl and other friends show up, it’s hard to make a project that downright sucks. But still, starting with zero intention and building out an edit that flows together as smoothly as this does is indeed an achievement. This might not be entirely surprising though, as great ideas tends to come around when you’re not following a set plan; when your mind is open and the opportunities don’t have to be sought out, they simply arrive.

The way I see it, this shows years of focus, refining a specific style of presentation. Whether you love it or hate it, you have to respect the fact that Gavin has come to own his unique eye behind the lens, which is something that many filmers try throughout their career to achieve and never do. It’s always easier to build off of what you’ve seen and imitate, than it is to start producing something original. Gavins projects thus far have been more and more unique and individualized, taking the knowledge gathered through the years and using it to aid in his own style of creation. The ability to present the world as you see it, and not just regurgitate what’s been established, is a talent that that skiing will always be in need of.

As we saw in ‘August Light‘, Gavin and crew clearly have a cinematic direction they want to take their movies in the future. While not every project is going to be a 20 minute masterpiece like ‘August Light’, the ability to create a short, beautifully cohesive product off the cuff is still something that deserves to be celebrated.

It could be said that dissecting something so poetic like ‘Penken State of Mond’ detracts from its beauty. But if it brings the product the attention that it deserves, which in turn provides needed inspiration for the community, then I think the project still remains wonderful in its own right. We will never know the formula for how to create great art like this, but for this masterpiece, it happened to be, “a heater [made] out of some normal days, just for the passion of skiing with your international friends.” Sounds like a pretty spectacular formula to me. Enjoy 5 minutes of summer skiing beauty, from the Austrian heaven of Penken Park.

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