The lights begin to dim and the audible buzz quietens as excited skiers settle down and someone in the back cracks a beer. It’s a welcomed and familiar scene all skiers have found themselves in, except last year when the pandemic shut down such gatherings. Attending ski film screenings is a rite of passage before winter and this year Salomon’s Quality Ski Time (QST) Film Tour reinvigorates that community gathering and gives it a twist. Rather than simply premiering one ski action type film, the QST Film Tour will highlight five films that showcase skiing but also touch on important societal issues. The tour kicks off September 30 in Denver, Colorado.
“In the midst of this ongoing pandemic, I think we are all aching for a bit of community and ski movies give us an hour or two to escape the day-to-day. The Quality Ski Time Film Tour highlights our athletes’ personal projects and passions. From epic powder days and the quest to summit peaks, to discussions about mental health and finding our way in the mountains – skiing is a bond that brings all walks of skiers together,” explains Jess Ambrogi Salomon Freeski Global Community Manager.
The films include Tales from Cascadia by Blank Film Collective, which will fill the slot of traditional deep powder ski porn set within the deep snowpack and rainforest mountains of the pacific northwest, followed by Summit Fever – the next installment from Cody Townsend’s The Fifty Project where the crew tangles with the iconic and very difficult Mount St. Elias. However, the film tour then begins to showcase more thought-provoking films while still underscoring traveling and spending time in the mountains, such as Girl Crush, by Mali Noyes and Mary McIntyre, The Pit Boss by Chris Rubens and The Blank Collective, and Ups and Downs by Drew Petersen.
Last winter, Petersen and I were out ski touring in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah with photographer Adam Clark – when he began explaining his film project. Ups and Downs is a personal story he wanted to share with the world. “Four years ago, I had a brush with death in a rockfall accident, the trauma of which sent me into a tailspin of PTSD. In the years since I’ve privately been living in a very dark reality behind closed doors, navigating my mental health diagnoses, brain injury rehab, and suicidal episodes,” explains Petersen. It’s a heavy topic, but one that is rarely spoken about recognizes Petersen. “If I could have heard a pro skier I looked up to talk about these things when I was younger then it probably would have helped me seek out help sooner… I hope this film is a catalyst for our whole community to have more real discussions.”
The notion of changing one point of view is similar in the film Girl Crush, where Noyes and McIntyre explain after producing and directing their first film which shows that women can navigate the big mountains. “If we inspire one young girl in the audience to lead and ski with confidence, then the entire film, and all our hours of stress and work, will be totally worth it,” says Noyes.
Lastly, the tour turns a bit more lighthearted with The Pit Boss where Rubens and the Blank Collective crew focus on Cole Pearn—a retired NASCAR crew chief who quit and took over the Golden Alpine Holidays hut system. His story is told while on the iconic hut traverse last spring.
“This film tour is all about variety,” says Joe Johnson, Alpine Marketing Manager for Salomon North America. “It’s a nice little evening of different types of content for everyone in the family, and I hope it will draw a bigger audience that traditional ski premieres.”
Here’s a little more info on the tour schedule:
|Date||Location||Venue and Tickets||Covid Protocols|
|9/30/21||Denver, CO||Oriental Theater||Vaccination card w/ matching ID or negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of show date required for entry.|
|10/1/21||Breckenridge, CO||CMC Breckenridge||Masks required regardless of vaccine status except when eating or drinking.|
|10/8/21||Missoula, MT||The Wilma||Masks are encouraged, but not required. While we do not require proof or verification, we strongly encourage patrons to get vaccinated or obtain a negative test prior to attending an event.|
|10/13 & 10/14||SLC, UT||Fisher Brewing|
|10/21||Seattle, WA||Broadway Performance Hall||Masks are required and proof of vaccination status (or negative test taken within 72hrs) is required for entry to the theatre.|
|10/22||Portland, OR||Aladdin Theater||Proof of a full course of COVID vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test taken in the prior 72 hours required. Masks are required inside in the state of Orgeon.|
|10/29 & 10/30||Tahoe City, CA||Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema||Masks are now required in the lobby, and recommended inside the theater when not eating or drinking.|
TBD Dates: Jackson, WY; Boston, MA; Revelstoke, BC.
Quality Ski Time films:
Tales From Cascadia
Cascadia, a bioregion defined by its unique natural characteristics, its people and its diversity. From the shores of the Pacific coast, to the lush rainforests, to the volcanic mountain peaks there are tales that define this harmony. In 2021, Blank Collective films will embed themselves in Cascadia in pursuit of these winter tales.
Ups and Downs
Professional skier Drew Petersen opens up about navigating the mountains and valleys of mental health, trauma, and suicidal thoughts through the lens of ski touring.
She knows how to read a map, navigate a whiteout, fend off grizzly bears and build the perfect winter camp. Her skin tracks are a work of art and her turns a thing of grace. She stomps cliffs with ease, floats through powder and stays composed in the gnarliest of weather. And between all this, she is always smiling, telling jokes and warming the mountains with constant laughter. She is my girl crush!
Girl Crush tells the story of five women skiing and camping in the heart of winter; forging friendships, collaborating on decisions, and learning to be proud to be a woman in the mountains.
The Pit Boss
Before Cole Pearn, the billion-dollar NASCAR industry had nothing in common with backcountry skiing. The political, geographical, and cultural differences are comical. So how did Pearn end up chopping wood and cleaning outhouses instead of atop the billion-dollar race industry?
Seventy-five million race fans were shocked when Pearn quit as one of the top NASCAR crew chiefs. Fox Sports pundits speculated about where he’d end up, but none guessed Golden, B.C. His last race was rough. A heart-breaking mistake in the final minutes cost his team their second championship in three years. But even before that, Pearn had decided to quit and take over the four backcountry huts of Golden Alpine Holidays.
In Cody Townsend’s quest to climb and ski all fifty of “The Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America”, there lies a few mountains that are among the hardest, gnarliest and most daunting ski descents in the world. One of those mountains, is Mount St. Elias. In his first attempt, Townsend is joined by snowboarder Nick Russell, guide Dan Corn and cinematographer Bjarne Salen, head up to the second highest peak in the US to face off with the mountains legendarily horrendous weather, its avalanche prone slopes and its rarely summited peak. The adventure becomes a lesson in what makes adventure like these, so special.