Words by Greg Fitzsimmons (@GFitzsimmons)
There was an epic season, there were trailers, and hype. They lined up in mass and product was thrown to screaming fans. Then a film screened for the first time ever. This is what happens in ski towns when leaves change and temps drop below 40-degrees. And, TGR knows how to do it all right—the filming, the storytelling, the promoting and the delivering. On Saturday, TGR premiered “The Dream Factory,” and it dropped so hard that it left a crater in Teton Village.
Teton Gravity Research unfurled its new film in style. A surf and turf dinner atop Jackson Hole Mountain Resort with the close-knit Teton Gravity Research “la familia” kicked off a three-day rage fest to commemorate this year’s flick. Along the way, Seth Morrison sunk a championship winning putt in the 13th Annual TGR Golf Tourney, the Mangy Moose went off, and Jackson officially kicked off the countdown to winter.
Clockwise from top left: Roner, Flahr, Sage, Durtschi and Dash. Photos by G. Fitzsimmons.
A stacked cast of characters showed up to see the film for the first time, including Seth Morrison, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Dana Flahr and Dash Longe. But, the biggest star in this year’s film? Alaska. Valdez, Haines, Girdwood and The Knik—the insane new zone that TGR pioneered—are the main characters in “The Dream Factory.” From the old days when a heli-bump in Alyeska only cost $5 to Durtschi stomping switch on an Alaskan spine this past season, TGR’s latest release tells the story of big-mountain skiing in Alaska—and a captivating story it is, indeed.
“This movie is about Alaska and the history of skiing in Alaska,” says TGR co-founder Todd Jones. “As much as the skiers have influenced the legendary places in AK over the years, those places influenced us. You don’t just go up to Haines or Valdez and take over. Those places have history, roots, and culture. The locations are huge; they were a very big part of this film.”
“The mystique and allure about Alaska is that it is an exploratory place,” adds Sage Cattabriga-Alosa.
The TGR crew is in the position of being able to tell the history of skiing in Alaska because along with Doug Coombs, the Jones brothers—TGR’s founders—played a huge role in making AK the dream destination for skiers throughout the world. Todd and Steve Jones have been heading up to Alaska with a camera since 1995, trading off filming and skiing to capture the cowboy scene up there.
Sage, Dana, Tim, Philippi and more sign autographs. Lower left: Angel Collinson and Todd Jones. Photos by G. Fitzsimmons.
Throughout “The Dream Factory” there are a lot of historic lines juxtaposed with full-tilt modern day descents. You’re going to see Jeremy Nobis flashing Pyramid in 1997, and then see Daron Rahlves’ new footage; both guys pushing what we think is possible. Colter Hinchliffe puts his spin on Dr. Seuss, the line pioneered by Jeremy Jones and more recently skied by Sage. And, Griffin Post, Todd Ligare, and Ralph Backstrom went to work last season in Valdez riding lines that the guys before them made classics.
“It is a cool way to pay respect to those people that came here before us,” says Griffin Post.
Todd Ligare shot by Mark Fisher.
While the AK locales take center stage in “The Dream Factory,” a handful of riders and segments had the standing-room-only crowd going bonkers. Tim Durtschi can ski, it’s a fact. From the film’s opening segment to the closing credits, Durtschi throws down, detonating big-mountain lines, jibbing crazy ice features, and putting together an incredible season’s worth of footage. Dana Flahr’s Pemberton segment is rowdy. Clayton Vila and Cam Riley get creative in the streets of Anchorage, and Dash Longe went off all last season.
Longe’s consistent performance paid dividends. “After a packed season I got flagged in for the big-dog trip to The Knik with Seth and Sage,” says Dash. “That zone is vast, with a huge fly zone. It’s the coolest place I’ve ever seen.”
Tim Durtschi shot by Mark Fisher.
And, there’s a Corbet’s Couloir segment that had the Jackson Hole locals raging. John Spriggs and Jackson local Max Hammer, along with a handful of other rippers like 13-year-old Daniel Tisi, threw down for what is likely the most epic Corbet’s session of all-time. Spriggs kicked off the morning with a huge backflip into the fabled couloir underneath the Jackson Hole tram, and the subsequent session that TGR captured is crazy. Hammer’s massive switch-180, complete with a shifty, into Corbet’s is another memorable part of the segment.
“Filming that segment was pretty spur of the moment,” says Max Hammer. “I woke up to a phone call that morning telling me ‘if you can be here, make it happen.’ Spriggs went first and did a backflip that was just enormous, and he said it was his first time ever skiing Corbet’s. After that, the session was on. I had always thought about hitting it switch because of the beautiful take-off. Growing up in Jackson I used to sneak into TGR’s world premieres and grab as many stickers as I could. I am super pumped to be a part of this film, and couldn’t be happier.”
Seth Morrison, shot by Gabe Rogel.
“The Dream Factory” will now make the rounds through ski towns and packed theaters. In its wake, TGR’s new film will leave pow-starved skiers satiated until chairlifts start spinning. Click here for “The Dream Factory” tour dates.
Watch the trailer on the 2012 Trailer Time page.