This is what the trailer looks like! It got released recently, and I'm pretty stoked. Check it out below, as well as the wee montage I made of which shots are me. Enjoy!
- Full movie premiering at the International Freeski Film Festival in Innsbruck on the 3rd of October as part of the worldwide tour! Click the pic to see a full size version, all these frame grabs are of me, from film by Simon Platzer
And this is how it felt to help make it:
This was my first season filming with a pro ski movie company. I always thought that the film trips would be entertaining; an easily captured adventure with ups and downs, crazy characters met along the way, a lot of laughs and everything always working out in the end, like an episode of 'Family Guy'.
It turns out that they are difficult to plan, hard work and sometimes just don’t turn out how you want no matter how hard you try. Like trying to get laid. But this just means that it feels even sweeter when it works out and you get the moneyshot.
‘Whiteroom Productions‘ is the film company, named after their successful debut movie 'Time for the Whiteroom' from last season. The man behind the camera and in the editing suite for both movies is Simon Platzer of SP Films. They are Austrian based and film mostly with Austrian skiers (and sometimes snowboarders), but I was lucky enough to get the invite this season after meeting them when they visited New Zealand, thanks in large part to my Austrian based ski sponsor Fischer.
After seeing their first movie I was really impressed at what they were achieving on a pretty limited budget, and they took it to the next level this year, turning up in New Zealand and camping on the Tasman Glacier below Mt Cook (NZ’s highest mountain) for a week and touring/climbing to all the lines that they shot. The weather forecast was pretty unfriendly but they stayed anyway and it turned out they were just high enough that it snowed there while it rained on all the ski resorts in the country- and then went unexpectedly bluebird. I was pretty inspired by their get-it-done attitude and thanks to the financial nod from Fischer I found myself on a plane with them on the way to Canada to film for a couple of weeks.
First sights of Canada
The reputed new powder haven of Canada was our first stop. Fabi (Fabian Lentsch) and I were pretty happy to finally arrive after the 9 hour Greyhound bus ride from Vancouver. We were actually a day late as well, as we had been denied boarding on our flight from Barcelona when we arrived 55mins before departure (instead of an hour), resulting in a day long man-date in the city. This was just after a 4* FWQ competition in Andorra including an afterparty where my wallet was stolen, preceded by a 14 drive from Innsbruck. So we were happiest to see the hostel beds for a night, to prepare for the upcoming week of solid film days.
The experience of the others having been there for a couple of days already meant we knew exactly where to go though, Dani (Daniel Regensburger), Jochen (Mesle) and Simon (Platzer, of Simon Platzer films) took us directly to the Cat Skiing area which borders Revelstoke Mountain Resort. The avalanche danger was high and there had been a recent death in the backcountry so we were confined to the trees for the first few days, but they provided the pillow powder goodness of my Canadian dry dreams in abundance.
One of the sick pillow zones
A blunt and to the point Canadian sign
Jochen walking the pillow talk
Fabi's turn to go big on the pillows
I was struggling to get used to my new touring setup at first, and since touring to film lines means only 3 or 4 get done a day it took a couple of days to start feeling it. Dani got unlucky and landed on a tree so hard that it broke the heelpiece of his boot, meaning he had to ski rentals for the rest of the trip but Jochen style-mastered off everything and Fabi started getting ridiculous, picking and stomping some of the rowdiest tree/pillow lines I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. After 3 days in this zone the filmable lines were becoming sparse, and we were creeping closer and closer to the terrain that cat skiing clients were paying to ride. The cat skiing groomer drivers and guides that had turned a blind eye to us until now eventually gave us a pretty clear indication that they wanted us to move on, which Fabi bore the brunt of pretty well. A new adventure was needed.
The friendly ex-patriot German who ran the hostel we were staying in in Revelstoke knew a guy who had built his own mini snow cat, which he called his ‘kitty’. Just over half an hour drive from Revelstoke is a snowmobile-permitted, easy access backcountry area that the locals politely asked us not to name here. The guy with the kitty also had a snowmobile (‘sled’ in Canadian) and a big tent and would take us all to the top for a price. It was a match made in Canadian heaven and our new adventure was found.
Dani Following the sleds
Our entourage with all the kit
This mystery mountain wasn’t one to put out one the first date though, and she made us work for it big time. The kitty and the sled both broke down at some point on the first day and there was so much snow from the last storm that it was difficult to get around on them even when they were going, or even to ski tour instead. The first zone we got to looked good but all the landings were flat as a car park and confiscated our skis more than once. Pitching the tent that would be our home for the next few days in the near-dark wasn’t easy either, and the cooker that we had didn’t do much to heat the inside, meaning that any wet clothes not worn in the sleeping bag froze solid overnight. There wasn’t a lot of talk over breakfast and our boots were about as easy to put on as a straightjacket.
Camo-Jeremy fixing the kitty, tent in the background
Nightlife in the tent
Once we got out and about though we realised that we had made the right choice. Rising majestically above a sea of valley fog the sail shaped peak we beheld wouldn’t have taken a ship anywhere on the calm, sunny day that greeted us. Better zones were found, friendly locals with sleds were met (as we could only afford the kitty and sled for the first day of our 3 day tent-venture) and the snow stayed cold even though it was sunny. One of my favourite moments was taking a photo of Jochen where he is barely visible, choked and blinded by the powder at the very top of his line. It didn’t really matter what you did here- a turn was a faceshot, or pointing it through the pillows caused powder explosions every landing. It was lucky that the lines up here were too short to present any serious exposure, lines could be scoped and sent with a ‘hold on through the powder blindness’ attitude, followed by hoots, hollers and high fives.
Neil discovering the morning man in himself
The ultra zone
- Jochen getting face deep in goodness
Neil's last line of the trip
And then it was all over. We were packing up the tent and skiing back down to the road, which was one of the longest runs of my life. I knew I was touring fit by then because I could still enjoy the heavy snow at the bottom of the run with a heavy pack on. We had scored.
The long trudge out
A collage of memories form the trip, get at me on instagram, instagram.com/neilwilliman
Jochen stoked on the whole trip
The next film trip would be to the Whistler backcountry, with even more ups and downs than I could have imagined on the way. Our organisational skills and luck would be tested even more rigorously by my new acquaintance, the rough loving snow goddess of ski film trips. And for that story kiddies, you will have to wait until next time, because that’s enough excitement for one night.
These words were by me, Neil, and the pics by me, Jochen Mesle, Fabi Lentsch, Dani Regensburger and Simon Platzer.
And a bonus montage of what I've been up to for summer,
- Summerlifeloving, New Swedeland goes Paris to Biarritz with Surfanic teamate Tove Kockum