‘Apocalypse Snow’ with Mike Rogge, Justin Bobb, & Jonathan Ellsworth (Ep.3)

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Today we are talking about the craziest — and arguably the greatest — snowboard / ski / monoski / snowblade film of all time, Apocalypse Snow. This 26-minute film was seen by millions of people when it came out, and nearly 40 years later, it still feels wildly innovative, fresh, and amazing.

Joining me to dive deep into this glorious, apocalyptic feature are Mountain Gazette owner & editor, Mike Rogge, and, the strikingly handsome Justin Bobb.

Watch: Apocalypse Snow
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Significance of Apocalypse Snow (0:00)
What Was Happening in 1983 (11:57)
Description of the Film (14:31)
Cinematic Inspirations? (17:50)
Most Rewatchable Scenes (20:28)
BLISTER+ Award (28:26)
What’s Aged the Best? (31:06)
What’s Aged the Best & Worst (36:02)
‘Gimme More’ Award (43:18)
Monoski Cult? (46:57)
‘Gimme Less’ Award (47:45)
Attention Span Award (49:15)
Recasting Couch (50:28)
Who Would Star in it Today? (52:44)
‘Hottest Take’ Award (54:59)
Burning Questions (56:23)
How Well Would It Hold Up Today? (1:02:48)
Souvenir You’d Want from the Film (1:08:50)
Who Won the Movie? (1:10:05)
Our Final Grades (1:14:03)

CHECK OUT OUR OTHER PODCASTS (click each to learn more):

‘Apocalypse Snow’ with Mike Rogge, Justin Bobb, & Jonathan Ellsworth (Ep.3), BLISTER
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12 comments on “‘Apocalypse Snow’ with Mike Rogge, Justin Bobb, & Jonathan Ellsworth (Ep.3)”

  1. This is so good! <3
    Can't wait for the interview with Regis Rolland
    Also looking forward to the review of Part II and III
    Amazing films, amazing skills, amazing disregard of health & safety

    If I can wish for something, I'd love if you can pick up Fire & Ice (Feuer & Eis) from Willy Bogner from 1986 and it's sequel Fire, Ice & Dynamite
    While this is a whole feature film with an actual plot, it features crazy skiing from John Eaves, Suzy Chaffee and other, plus a Snowboard segment including Tom Sims. And the English version is narrated by John Denver.
    While it is a totally different, much more German serious, movie it has some things in common with Apocalypse Snow. They are both from the 80ies, are basically ads (not sure if Bogner is actually known in the US), are sponsored by Airlines (this one has Lufthansa plastered in places) and of course skiing, etc.
    There are so many crazy things happening in the movie, nice skiing on super thin skis and things like Ski Dancing / Ballet? What ever happened to that? Why is that not a thing anymore?

    Love the new podcast series!

    • Thanks, Tom – we’ll add Fire & Ice and its sequel to our long list! Keep the wish lists coming, everybody, if there are film’s you’d like us to cover.

      • Gotta throw out the amazing, bizarre American mono film The Bad, The Rad and The Mono, featuring former CB local “Turbo.”

        It blows my mind that this gem of VHS history only has 1000 views on YT

      • Just watched Fire, Ice & Dynamite.
        There are so many German tropes and inside knowledge in it, it’s ridiculous. Even some of the people – I wonder if a lot of US Americans even know who guys like Walter Röhrl are.
        While the movie itself isn’t that great, I think, it reminds me so much of my youth.
        Wonder who you can bring on for those movies.
        Looking forward to more and more of these podcast episodes!

  2. The craziest snow sports movies of all time are the Whisky series Vancouverites Sean Kearns and Sean Johnson made in the 1990’s. As you might imagine snowboarding is featured, along with much drunken smashing beer bottles on heads.

  3. To get the movie, you have to replace it in its context. For us Frenchies this movie is very much like a canned version of the best things we got exposed to at that time, it has a real nostalgic appeal to us.
    First, this is almost an institutional project, the whole Arc 2000 was behind (very much state-backed at that time), the actors are all ESF ski instructors (very much mountain civil servants in France, this is a state diploma, extremely demanding btw, you have to be an ranked athlete, a licensed mountain guide, a trained teacher etc.). They were one big country-wide team used to work full time together teaching us brats how not to kill ourselves. Plus, in Les Arcs, thanks to Club Med (opened in 79 there) they were likely all entertainers (that heli reverse pyramid scene definitely smells like Club Med stuff to me, I might be totally wrong). The heli was the mountain rescue I think (!), again civil service, which they probably abused for months to be dropped in all the good spots.
    In the 80s in France, a lot of instructors used to pull crazy shows on slopes weekly, they used to do these off piste sync slalom, dressed in bikinies or shiny suits etc., as 70s/80s kids we used to love that.
    Then at that time the French mountain scene was very experimental, trying to appeal to as many people as possible, there was a big appetite for new ways to enjoy the mountain, pretty much state-backed as well to develop rural areas and tourism. Anybody remembers chicken-foot shaped skis ?
    Last, the gear sponsors like Salomon (SX90 forever…) or Rossignol were headquartered a stone throw away, already supplied all the instructors, that was like a big family really.
    So I think that the whole movie was really just about capturing the spirit of that time, by guys with great creativity and boundless talent, but somehow they were solid professionals backed by the whole infrastructure around them. In this sense I don’t see the movie as a small crazy indie thing but more like the spirit of French skiing in the early 80s. A glorious time, some of my best childhood memories.

    • Thanks for the additional background info & context, Bruno. As I said on the podcast, seems like it really might have been the best time & place to be alive!

  4. I vividly remember the first time I saw this film, in 1984 or so in the now-Palisades Base Lodge on the TV just outside of the basement snack restaurant (the Rathskeller or something like that). I remember being awestruck, and I still am.

  5. I’m not convinced there was a live actor in the orb for most of it btw. There is a jump-cut at 5:38 into the film (in this version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbdUEOyryeg&t=335s) between when the actor drops into the orb and when we see him landing inside of it.

    There is another cut at 6:16 in between where we see the “interceptor” fully rag-dolling in the orb though the chute and when it slowly rolls to a stop in a close-up with an actor obviously active/moving within it as it comes to a stop.

  6. One last remark about mono-ski cults: Glen Plake at least used to bust his out at Mammoth every spring. I can’t remember seeing him do that in a few years, but he might still be doing it.

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