What We’re Watching — December, 2019

Update 12.16.19: I’ve just added 11 new videos that have either been released since I first posted this, or that I just finally got around to watching. Check them out below.

As we roll closer to the new year (and whole new decade), the ski content does not seem to be slowing down. In just a few days, December has brought us high-budget, full-length films, a unique piece from an industry legend, episodes from classic series, and more. And yes, I realize some of these didn’t technically come out in December, but I don’t really care since they’re really good.

Check out some of my favorites below, stay tuned for updates later this month, and in case you missed them and are still struggling to find ways to kill time at work, you can check out our October and November video roundups. As always, let me know what I missed!

Chris Benchetler — ”Fire on The Mountain”

I’ve been waiting on this one ever since I saw Chris Benchetler teasing some night-skiing shots that featured light-suits similar to Sweetgrass Productions’ “Afterglow” film. Well, it’s now here, and in my opinion, it does not disappoint. “Fire on The Mountain” is a film dedicated and set to music from the Grateful Dead, narrated by none other than Bill Walton, and featuring skiing, riding, and surfing from Chris, his wife Kimmy Fasani, Jeremy Jones, Michelle Parker, Danny Davis, and Rob Machado. It starts off by following the crew around the world with new and old footage, and closes with crazy nighttime shots while the crew dons LED skeleton suits. In terms of visual creativity, “Fire on The Mountain” is in a league of its own.

BLASTR — ”FREEZR”

I’m extremely excited to see how FPV drones are implemented in action-sports filming in the future, and BLASTR is one of the up-and-coming FPV pilots that’s already put out some crazy videos (including one of my all-time favorite MTB edits). “FREEZR” just dropped today and it includes shots from Level 1’s Romance. It starts with some crazy urban spots, which are made even crazier when you think about the precision required to pilot the drone to get those clips. Then it moves to the backcountry and some massive park setups with super fast filming, and the editing and soundtrack seem perfectly matched to the filming. I was pretty blown away by this one.

Dylan Siggers — “Homebody”

This one is simple: Dylan Siggers ripping around his home resort, Fernie, set to a peaceful piano soundtrack, filmed by his friends, and edited cleanly by Dylan himself.

Marcus Caston — ”Return of the Turn, Ep. 8 – Swiss Vacation”

The most recent episode of Marcus Caston’s Return of the Turn series takes him and Connery Lundin to Switzerland where, after eating fondue, they rip around with Johan Jonsson in what aren’t totally ideal conditions, on which they still manage to have a pretty ideal time. This episode focuses on each skier’s different style, and it’s awesome to see how all three take alternative approaches to the same terrain.

Black Crows — “Visions”

This short film from Black Crows stars Nikolai Schirmer, Flo Bastien, Julien Lange, and Anttu Oikonen and, like Dylan Sigger’s “Homebody,” this film just feels so clean. The filming, editing, skiing, and soundtrack all blend together perfectly, despite the wide range of terrain and skiing styles featured in “Visions.” You’ve got a booter segment with tons of tricks all thrown off natural features, and then some seriously consequential big-mountain lines. All in all, this film is just beautiful.

Lucas Wachs — “Wachs This”

For some reason, Lucas Wachs still seems to be relatively unknown. But his season edit from the 18/19 season shows why he deserves much more attention. With tons of backcountry booters, steep pillow lines, and a few straightlines thrown in between, “Wachs This” is an extremely impressive, especially given that it was all filmed in one season. Don’t believe me and are impatient? Just skip to 2:45 (and then re-watch the whole edit).

Richard Permin — “FASTWOOD”

Richard Permin skis fast. And he goes big. And that’s exactly what he does in his recent edit, “FASTWOOD.” I honestly feel bad for the follow-cam guys and FPV drone pilots who were tasked with keeping up with Permin as he goes mach-stupid through a very dense forest, because even just watching that footage made me nervous. Richard Permin refuses to disappoint.

Isaac Freeland — “2019 Ski Season”

Isaac Freeland is one of the newest additions to the Freeride World Tour this year, and as discussed on our recent Blister Podcast, is one of the people that Tyler Curle is most excited to watch on the FWT this year. If Tyler’s excited to watch him, so am I. Isaac’s 2019 season edit is full of what we should expect to see from him on the tour this year — big airs, lots of tricks, and fast riding through choppy conditions. The FWT is shaping up to be extremely interesting this year, and I’m eager to see what runs Isaac is able to put down.

Drew Tabke — “From the Word Go”

Between competing on the FWT for what feels like forever to traveling all around the world, Drew Tabke rarely has time to put out video parts. And that’s a bummer, because he’s always been one of my favorite skiers to watch on the tour. But this year he did put out a short film detailing his background, his perspective on skiing, competing, and life in general, and of course, it features plenty of shots of his signature style from his home mountain, Crystal, all the way to the Italian Dolomites. To watch the full video, head to The Ski Journal.

KC Deane — ”Focused”

First, if you haven’t already seen it, go watch Level 1’s Romance. It’s amazing. If you haven’t seen it, in KC Deane’s edit, “Focused,” you at least get to see all of his highlights from the film, and there are a lot of them. KC is one of those guys that may go unnoticed by some, but each year in his film parts he proves why Level 1 has continued to bring him back — he skis fast and he goes very big. The ender in particular is nuts.

Clayton Villa & TGR — ”DUE”

“DUE” is a compilation of some of the craziest urban spots that Clayton, Cam Riley, and Sean Jordan have hit over the past two years while filming with Teton Gravity Research. I get excited any time those three get together (For Lack of Better is one of the best urban films of all time, IMO), and it’s great to be able to watch all of the highlights from their past two seasons.

Eric Pollard — ”Drawn From Here”

Eric Pollard has inspired countless people through his skiing, ski design, and art, and “Drawn From Here” is a beautifully shot and edited documentation of his journey with skiing and art. Just watch it. I also highly recommend listening to our recent conversation with Eric about the film and accompanying book.

Faction — ”THE COLLECTIVE”

While Pollard’s “Drawn From Here” is very much an escape from traditional ski porn, Faction’s full film, “THE COLLECTIVE,” is not. It’s absolutely filled with mind-blowing shots from start to finish. The Faction team is absurd in terms of its diversity of skiing styles; you have Sam Anthamatten and Andrew Pollard competing for who can make the fewest turns down the biggest faces in Switzerland, Alex Hall, Anti Ollila, Will Berman, & more doing things that should 100% not be possible in their urban parts, Duncan Adams & Tim McChesney throwing their signature tricks down huge pillow lines, Kelly Sildaru, Mathilde Gremaud, & the rest of Faction’s women pushing the boundaries in the park, and I’m still leaving out a ton of big names featured in this film. And thankfully, it’s all directed by Etienne Mérel in his signature, ultra-clean style. One of my favorite full-length films of the year.

DPS Cinematic — “The Lonely Star”

When it comes to pure pow-skiing cinematography, I think DPS’s “Shadow Campaign” is the most consistently excellent series out there. Their most recent episode, “The Lonely Star,” combines some unique (and surprisingly funny at the end) shots of an “astronaut” exploring sand dunes with what you’ve come to expect from the series: deep snow, beautiful turns, and plenty of big airs from Santiago Guzman, Piers Solomon, and Zack Giffin.

Baker Boyd — “Servus”

I don’t think that Baker Boyd is physically capable of skiing slow. The Telluride native and Aspen resident is one of my favorite people to watch when it comes to skiing pow. His most recent edit, filmed by Morgan Pihl, showcases his signature style in Austria and Switzerland, with plenty of big airs, down-the-fall-line skiing, and finding transitions I wouldn’t have known existed. The film is also dedicated to Sam Coffey, a well-loved outdoor industry professional and good friend of Baker’s who passed away last year. All of us at Blister and so many people in the industry miss Sam very much, and I have no doubt that he’d be very proud of “Servus.” Finally, if you’re not convinced of what I’m talking about when it comes to Baker’s style, you should definitely watch his edit from Japan last year. It’s one of my all-time-favorite Japan segments.

Greg Hill & Salomon TV — ”Electric Greg”

Greg Hill has accomplished a lot over the course of his career. From climbing and skiing 2 million vertical feet in a year, to skiing 100 vertical kilometers in a month, to skiing volcanos with Chris Rubens out of a tiny electric car, Greg’s done a lot. But he’s also focused on much more than just setting skiing records. Recently, he accomplished his goal of climbing 100 different peaks, all through electric- and human-powered travel. “Electric Greg” documents the experience, and it does an excellent job of tracking Greg’s career and how and why his priorities have shifted throughout it.

Line Traveling Circus — “12.3 Post-Season Pipe Dreams”

More Traveling Circus! The most recent episode takes the crew to a post-season setup that’s totally tubular (I couldn’t help myself). While most series would start to feel played-out after 12 (!!) seasons, the Traveling Circus crew always manages to make every episode interesting and unique, and I seriously can’t comprehend how they manage to come up with newer and weirder things to slide down and jump off every time.

Nikolai Schirmer — “Endless Winter 3”

Like Greg Hill, Nikolai Schirmer is a pro skier who’s trying to push his career forward while also decreasing his environmental footprint. His goal has been to keep skiing at a high level, but at the same time cut down his greenhouse-gas emissions significantly (recently, from 40 tons to 12 tons). “Endless Winter 3” showcases how he was able to do that by sticking near his home and spending a lot of time in the Lyngen Alps of Norway. First point: I still really, really want to ski those mountains. Second point: I think Nikolai totally achieved his goal of producing excellent skiing content (the lines in the film are crazy) while reducing his emissions. Great skiing, great story, great film.

Scott Heinz — “T11”

Let’s finish things off with a funny one. Blister reviewer David Golay just sent me this video, and it’s simply amazing. “T11” follows two skiers as they embark on the extremely serious and gnarly goal of summiting and skiing Mt. St. Helens on a tandem ski setup. Yep, two people, one pair of skis. I was laughing through the entire thing, and now maybe Blister needs to review some tandem ski setups?

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4 comments on “What We’re Watching — December, 2019”

    • We all thought it but you dared to say it. My prediction is 5 i.e. the number of metres they would go before the toys came fully out of the pram

        • Now you’re talking. I see a new regular video segment that has Jonathan and Sam engaging in efforts like tandem skiing, the vid stops at some key moment and readers have to submit suggestions for ‘what happened next’?

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