Oct 17 2010

Hippies, Punx & Misfits

Vid Review
by Craig Dostie

There is little doubt I’m one of the worst folks to ask about whether I like a ski video or not. That love affair ended after I was invited to a special screening of a Warren Miller movie. At the time, skiing was my purpose, and though I loved Warren’s stuff, the special screening was a let down. In terms of attending, that was a personal thrill. This particular time, however, it really struck me how formulaic Warren had become. I already knew when he was going to say “want your ski? Go get it.” It was funny even in the second Miller flick I saw it in but the third time he played that card it was a let down.

Ski vid’s can be annoyingly formulaic, and maybe they’re supposed to be, and maybe it only bothers me when they fail to inspire. Most miss the mark. Thumping music, athlete’s rippin’ over snow, through the air, powder flying everywhere—the tantalizing visual beauty that skiing can be is typically not enough to motivate me to piss away 20 minutes or an hour watching somebody else have more fun than I am at that time. And besides, it’s not really skiing and it’s not a movie with a plot and character development or a moral; just light and fluffy powder and cameras and action.

Josh Madsen saw that formula, and without abandoning the classic ingredients of ski porn, attempts to do more by reflecting a bit on the roots of telemark. When his promotional tour for Telemark Magazine ended last year he swung by the Sierra and managed to interview ski guide Tom Carter who, along with Alan Bard and Chris Cox, skied the Redline Traverse in the early 80s and helped fuel enthusiasm for all things 3-pin. At the same time Doug Robinson was busy waxing eloquent with the written word about the Nordic way to backcountry ski, and did a solo trans-Sierra in about 20 hours. Folks that know their stuff. I knew he was planning to include them in this vid, so I popped this disk in the drive anticipating some good quotes.

There were some, but not enough. I wanted more. I’m sure Josh wanted to include more too, but since he expects his audience probably wants action and music, most of the commentary was on the cutting room floor. Maybe, hopefully, he’ll release a second edition with more of Robinson’s insight or Carter’s humor overlaid with some bad-ass tele chick’s and dudes rippin’ it up.

It was a relief for this old leatherneck to be spared the thunderous undertones of rap or hip-hop or whatever that stuff is that resembles music and lyrics I don’t want to know. Actually the soundtrack to Hippies, Punx and Misfits was refreshingly melodic, unexpectedly mellow, which I liked, but perhaps it was too mellow for too long in places. It definitely wasn’t the typical dose of ski porn I’ve come to expect.

Josh explores the roots of tele through a few sparse voice overs, and snippets from Carter, Robinson, and yours truly. He certainly doesn’t let any of us dominate, but lets some fine rippers show their stuff. Actually, though I lament the monotony of ski porn I was hungering for a bit more in this vid. After all, that’s what ski vid is about, right? I like the long shots, but would’ve liked more close-in rockabilly action, especially without a rap background. Bring it on brother Josh!

Bottom line, if you like watching great skiers leaving enviable tracks, you’ll probably like this movie. Don’t let a curmudeon’s attitude like mine get in the way of kicking back for an hour and just enjoying some fine tele action with a decent soundtrack.

Get your tele posse together and see it live as Josh Madsen makes his second US movie tour to promote the telemark way and Telemark Skier magazine. (tour schedule here)