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Skiing History Week: Take in a movie or five

My mom always asks to me, “How is everything in your hula hoop?” Silly, but a good way of getting me to share the stuff that is right up close and personal, the minutia knocking on my door.

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame will announce the Snow-100 Film Festival winners on April 8 as part of Skiing History Week in Steamboat, but a few of the winners from past years will play April 7 at the Chief Theater.

A German ski film, “Der Weisse Rausch,” translated, “The White Ecstasy,” is a film starring Hans Schneider, the father of Alpine skiing, together with the infamous Leni Riefenstahl. This movie is the granddaddy of all ski-chase films that would follow. This “White Rush” offers an amazing study of light in black-and-white film and is part of the Museum of Modern Art’s Film Collection. The slow motion camera that was used for filming weighed in at more than one ton and was hauled into place by work horses wearing special snowshoes. Check it out.



I am writing this having not been to the movies in almost a decade. Hypocrite. I get out of my hula-hoop these days on my inter-web machine … yikes! But with a chance to see a movie about skiing when snow is a 2015 lost commodity, I will welcome the opportunity.

Join me and go watch at least one movie offered from 4 to 10 p.m. April 8 through 11.



The movies will include: “The Incredible Skis,” “Ski Fascination,” “Shishapangma: A Celebration of Life,” “Ski Movie” and a Willie Bogner film called “Fire and Ice,” the last of which is now the name of his famous ski wear line of clothing. John Denver does the voice over, and the film stars Suzy Chaffee (who will be here next week), John Eaves and other skiing luminaries like Wayne Wong as the Cowboy.

Three movies of the six being inducted into the “Snow-100” were made within two years of my arrival in this world. I am thinking I should probably go to the Chief and take a look at what was going on back then.

Lets break it down.

“The Incredible Skis,” a film from 1968, follows a disgruntled factory worker who stumbles upon a formula for empowering skis with the ability to transform anyone who wears them into a magician on snow. What could be more outlandish? With groundbreaking acrobatic skiing performances by Art Furrer, Herman Goellner and Tom Leroy, the film laid the foundation for what would later become know as freestyle with aerials and is mixed with ballet routines. Groovy, na?

A second Bogner film, “Ski Fascination,” came out in 1966. A film with no narrative or plot, but rather an emphasis on Alpine skiing’s beauty, “Ski Fascination” choreographs the action to a musical background with the skiers dancing their way down the mountain. The original score was performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and filmed in St, Moritz, Switzerland, and Val-d’Isere, France. Shot in 35 mm, the film features the best skiers of the mid-60s, including Bari Henneberger, Jean Claude Killy, Toni Sailer, Karl Schranz and Steamboats’ own Buddy Werner.

Three other films — “Shishapangma: A Celebration of Life”, “In Search of Speed” and “Ski Movie” — round out the selections for this year’s “Jerry awards” (their induction into the “Snow-100”), a free awards ceremony/celebration set for 7:30 p.m. April 8 at the Chief. Come and meet the filmmakers and hear them talk about their art and productions.

In “A Celebration of Life,” an attempt to ski the 8,000-meter peak ends in tragedy. While becoming acclimated, Conrad Anker, David Bridges and Alex Lowe are engulfed by an avalanche below the peak of Shishapangma. Two are lost, but Conrad miraculously survives.

“Search of Speed” is an adrenaline-packed look at Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves hitting the high points of their racing on the world stage, including the 2002 Winter Olympics. Able to draw upon years of filming World Cup racers, the narrative offers an insightful glimpse at both the pressures and the skills that are part of an ascent to the top of the podium.

“Ski Movie,” a Matchstick production, ends up as four films starring Seth Morrison, Shane McConkey, Vincent Dorion, Jonny Moseley, Brad Holmes and others. This was Matchstick’s breakout film which distinguished it from the seamless feature film feel. It stages a road house fantasy that rolls into big mountain action that not only earned it Powder Magazine’s Ski Movie of The Year honors, but also raised the standard of filming ski action for the adrenaline film genre.

How is that for a teaser? Make it happen; let that spinning hula-hoop around your waist drop to the floor, step over the plastic barrier and make your way to the Chief Theater. Do it, see you there. Check out the full schedule for times at skihall.com, and while you are it, buy a Ski Hall of Fame Induction ticket, ceremony to be held April 11 at The Steamboat Grand.

Rally Steamboat, we hope you venture out to one of these movie nights, one of the legacy lectures or parties to celebrate this year’s induction class. Call 906-485-6324 to book tickets to any of our Skiing History Week events!

Stacey Wooley works with event marketing and sponsorships for the United States Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum. She is writing a series of columns leading up to Skiing History Week and the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony in Steamboat Springs April 6 to 12. She can be reached at Stacey@SkiHall.com


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