Trio of new, action-packed freeskiing films highlight Steamboat Mountain Film Fest

Sandra Lahnsteiner skiing in Stellar Heliskiing, Kaslo BC. Photo by: Colleen Genteman for
Colleen Genteman
If you go… What: 15th annual Steamboat Mountain Film Fest When: 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10 Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave. Tickets: $15 online at What goes on behind the scenes: “What people don’t know is that there is a lot of waiting. Waiting for the weather to be right. Waiting for the snow to be stable. Waiting for the filmmaker to get ready. So behind the scenes, there is a lot of waiting going on.” Memorable moment filming “Crossroads:” “A moment I will never forget: our sled crash,” said Lahnsteiner. “I literally sent the sled with both Janina and I on it into the creek. For some reason we basically stayed unharmed. The sled had some minor damages, but it looked like the trees were moving away as we fell off the track. There was literally no way to actually crash there without touching the trees. So we were really, really lucky.”

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — “Skiing keeps you young, younger than you are,” said Sandra Lahnsteiner, Austrian free skier and filmmaker. “It clearly got the crazy child out of me again.”

To ignite the inner child in us all, Lahnsteiner’s fourth Shades of Winter project, “Crossroads,” will be showing in town for the first time at the 15th annual Steamboat Mountain Film Fest. The film fest takes place Friday, Nov. 10, beginning at 7 p.m., at the Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.

Following with the theme of not taking life too seriously, the other two films featured at the event are Matchstick Productions’ “Drop Everything,” created by director Scott Gaffney; and “Numinous,” by Kye Petersen’s Dendrite Studios.

“Crossroads” trailer

Bound by a strong friendship, Lahnsteiner and fellow Olympic Gold medal-winning alpine ski racer Julia Mancuso set out on a last-minute road trip to British Columbia, Canada. No plan. No production budget. They were driven by the simple love for skiing.

“Mancuso and I became connected by a very strong friendship that started through skiing but goes way beyond it,” said Lahnsteiner of “Crossroads,” produced by Shades of Winter, a multimedia platform celebrating female action sport athletes and co-produced by Red Bull Media House.

Last summer their friend and fellow athlete Matilda Rapaport died in an avalanche in Chile while out filming a commercial unrelated to Shades of Winter.

“I was in the middle of the editing process when we found out, it left us shocked, empty,” said Lahnsteiner, who had been close friends with Rapaport since the company’s first season in 2012-13. “This year we had this feeling that Matilda wanted us to go skiing together. So, we did.”

“Crossroads” is the sixth female-focused action ski film produced by Lahnsteiner, and the fourth from the Salzburg, Austria-based Shades of Winter production company. The takeaway she hopes audiences will discover is to “get out there and have fun skiing” and “don’t take yourself too seriously.”

“Drop Everything” trailer

Looking at the industry as a whole, Lahnsteiner said there are still fewer women in action sports than men but big film productions and brands are starting to incorporate more female athletes based on female needs and not just adding “pink flowers” on the male products.

Lahnsteiner said her passion and mission is for Shades of Winter to be the quintessential platform for female athletes.

“As women we need to be ready to push our own boundaries, to perform at our best but at the same time know and be confident about that — we don’t need to compare ourselves directly to men. We are different, yes, because we are women, so let’s be proud of it,” she said.

“I think this is the most important thing – that female athletes are clearly seen as female role models, as an inspiration for other women to take things on, to make things happen rather than just being the beautiful girl in a snow or surf advertisement.”

“Numinous” trailer

“The filmmakers have a keen eye for great locations and showcasing female athletes at the highest level,” said Michael Martin, film festival organizer. “I wholeheartedly support this female filmmaking movement in a genre that’s been overly dominated by men since inception.”

Martin said this year’s festival will be forgoing the submission-based “Reel Awards,” which will return in a new form next year, due to the increased number of international film submissions – over 100 – compared to local submissions.

With shots of epic lines and jagged peaks, each of the featured films represent the world’s preeminent freeskiers and boarders along with stunning views and cinematography.

“As a film company, it seems we’ve been working to impress viewers in so many different ways – moving stories, elaborate cinematography, and cutting-edge editing techniques. We’ve been after the ‘wow’ factor,” said Gaffney, the director, in a press release. “But as we focused on all of that, I feel that one of the most critical elements got lost in the mix: Fun. And that’s what skiing is all about, right?”

Returning to “old school style,” Gaffney said the new MSP film includes more personal skier segments, letting each character and personality shine. Powderhounds, cue the amplified stoke level.

Tickets to the 15th annual Steamboat Mountain Film Fest are $15 and can be purchased online at


To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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