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‘Maneuvers’ – Sämi Ortlieb and Level 1 blend camera wizardry and skiing in this stop motion ski flick

These days many ski films can seem to blend together. That’s not to say they’re not fantastic projects with tons of hard work behind them, but when the shots and skiing are quite similar, it can be easy to mix up segments. ‘Maneuvers’ however, is not a project you’re going to confuse of mix up any time soon. Back in 2019, during Level 1’s final annual film, ‘Romance’, Sämi Ortlieb directed a series of incredible shots using stop motion animation. The segment was understandably a huge crowd pleaser, as the skiing as well as creative approach at how to document it, were equally impressive. With the mustachioed Canadian Rob Heule close behind, the skiers weaved their way over jumps and throw fields, with the snow folding and unfolding as they went. Easy to watch, hard to create.

Now the concept has returned, with shots from the original film being reused, as well as some new angles getting thrown in. Featuring the talents of Sämi, Rob, Remco Kayser, and Dane Kirk, ‘Maneuvers’ is an incredible fusion of creative animation and skiing. It’s always a promising sign for the sport to see riders and filmers alike exploring new ways to spice up the filming process, and to bring in concepts that have hardly, if ever before been tried. Hopefully there’s more where this came from, and we’ll be seeing the gang back in action creating ski flicks that make us pause and think, “how the f*ck did they do that?”.

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