Each fall, as the night time temperature drops and the leaves begin to change, skiers know it’s time to hunker down and watch ski movies. We tease ourselves endlessly with footage of epic powder stashes, big mountain lines, and imagine what it would be like to step in and ski or ride one of the endless Alaskan chutes that athletes like Cody Townsend drop into with style. In short, they elevate our stoke, bring us together for a good time and mark the start of something else: ski season.
Here are the films that are new this year, and where you can watch them in Vermont.
Leave Nice Tracks
For four years filmmakers Dan Cirenza and Marius Becker—both former cameramen for ESPN—and Kyle Crichton have followed Vermonters Angus McCusker, Zac Freeman and a posse of volunteers from the Rochester/Randolph Sports Trails Alliance as they’ve created ski glades in the Green Mountain National Forest, the first sanctioned glading ever done on National Forest land. This Nov. 7, their documentary Leave Nice Tracks: The State of Vermont’s Backcountry debuts at the Backcountry Forum in Rochester, Vt. Catch it at Burlington’s Outdoor Gear Exchange on Nov. 9. For more showings, see leavenicetracks.com
In this feature-length film made by Faction Skis, starring their talent-packed crew of professional athletes, including John Collinson, Kelly Sildaru, Elisabeth Gerritzen and Candide Thovex. The trailer features a mix of scary big mountain lines, stunning pillow drops and big park air. Tour dates and screenings to be announced. us. factionskis.com
In what may be the funniest ski film of the year, stand-up comedian and ski industry insider Katie Burell chases two pro skiers who work at Mica Heliskiing around the mountains of British Columbia. “They go up, they go down, how hard can it be?” Features skiing by Girls Do Ski founder Leah Evans and extreme skier Christina “Lusti” Lustenberger and Diny Harrison, the first certified female mountain guide in Canada. Keep an eye out for showings. colleengentemann.com
MountainFilm Festival Tour
More so than other mountain film contests, this traveling festival tour aims to celebrate the people and cultures that make mountains so compelling as much as the athletes themselves. This year, catch Life of Pie, a film about two mountain bikers-turned-pizza chefs who transformed a small Colorado Mountain town, or Rusty’s Ascent, which examines an accident on Everest and probes whether the risks mountaineers take are worth pursuing and The Running Pastor, a film about running and spirituality in the Faroe Islands.
Hopkins Center for the Arts Spaulding Auditorium, Hanover, N.H.: Oct. 5; Vermont Law School, South Royalton: Oct. 24; Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, Stowe: Oct. 26; UVM Davis Center, Burlington: Oct. 30; The Big Picture, Waitsfield: Nov. 2; Middlebury College Dana Auditorium, Middlebury: Nov. 3. mountainfilm.org
Real Rock 14 Film Tour
Catch some of the best new climbing films made around the world with shots from more than 500 locations in 40 countries. Reel Rock events feature athlete and filmmaker appearances, raffles and more. Catch previews for feature documentaries like The Dawn Wall and Valley Uprising along with powerful shorts. If you’re lucky, you may catch your local crag. This year’s lineup hasn’t been released yet but stay tuned. Petra Cliffs Climbing Center, Burlington: Nov. 7 at 6 p.m.; Stratton Mountain: Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. reelrocktour.com
Return to Send’er
Matchstick Productions’ latest film focuses on four elite freeskiers—a veteran, a rookie, an innovator and a big mountain skier carrying on his dad’s legacy. The film follows each athlete in a series of oversized personal segments on their home turf, letting them showcase their sense of style. The unifying theme? All four unite for an epic heliskiing trip at the end of the film. Look out for Mark Abma, Karl Fostvedt, Sam Kuch and Logan Pehota and seventies rock tunes. However, as was pointed out by Outdoor Magazine, you won’t see any women among the 11 athletes featured here. Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington: Oct. 17. matchstickpro.com
Level1Productions celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a film that argues we’re seeing a modern golden age of skiing. The film features Emilie Bergeron, Lucas Stal Madison, Laurent de Martin, Samil Ortlieb and more, from a generation of contemporary skiers that Level1 Productions argues came of age during a period where technology allowed athletes to hone and perfect the tricks and bars set forth by past generations. With terrain and scenery spanning from Sweden to Quebec and Hokkaido, Japan, it’s going to be fun. Bain Mathieu, Montreal: Oct. 17. Dates and locations of other screenings to be announced. level1productions.com
Warren Miller Entertainment celebrates its 70th anniversary this winter by featuring a few ski legends like Glen Plake next to newcomers Caite Zeliff, Jaelin Kauf and Baker Boyd. Skiing was undeniably different in 1949, when Warren Miller shot his first film. Shaped skis and high-speed quads, modern touring equipment and heli-skiing weren’t around yet, but this year’s film aims to capture the aspects of the sport that haven’t changed. Filmed on-location in Jackson Hole, Eldora, as well as in France, British Columbia, Switzerland and Austria, the film aims to capture mountain culture as much as the usual high-flying big lines. Killington Snowshed Conference Room: Nov. 30; Stratton Mountain School Kaltsas Center: Nov. 30; Horowitz Performing Arts Center, Saxtons River: Dec. 7; Town Hall Theater, Middlebury: Dec. 11&12; Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington: Dec. 13; Okemo Mountain School Training Facility, Ludlow: Dec. 21; Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, Stowe: Dec. 22. Expect some awesome urban ski segments, big lines on the mountain and plenty of attitude. warrenmiller.com
This year Teton Gravity Research is turning the camera toward young pioneers in snowboarding and skiing—athletes that are pushing boundaries and challenging their sports to evolve. TGR filmmakers partnered with more than 23 athletes to create this film. Look out for sweet lines from Angel Collinson, Griffin Post, Elyse Saugstad, Kai Jones and more, in Austria, British Columbia, Jackson Hole, Lofoten Islands in Norway, the Northern Chugach, Norway and more. Mixed in, expect some vintage shots of legends past paired expertly with modern footage. There will be ski mountaineering, epic drops, big backcountry air and yes, even some urban rails and apres parking lot whiskey.
The film celebrates the athletes’ connection to the roots of skiing and snowboarding by exploring the history, places, and people in the world of skiing and snowboarding.
Sunset Drive-In, Colchester: Oct. 6; Smugglers Notch Distillery, Jeffersonville: Nov. 1. tetongravity.com
Featured Photo Caption: Zac Freeman and Angus McCusker on a glading mission in the Green Mountain National Forest. Photo courtesy Leave Nice Tracks.