Ski Film Review: The Blizzard of Aahhh's PDF Print E-mail

“Blizzard of Aahhh’s” – A rockumentary style look at the known and unknown heroes of skiing. This is definitely not akin to the ski films of today. There is no high-definition filmed content, there are no filler cinematographic shots and there is very little in the way of tricks to be seen. What does it have then? It has something which the ski films of today strive too hard for, rawness. Not necessarily soul but rawness. One gets to see the falls, the sloppy landings and at times poor technique throughout the film, something which surprised me. That said it’s important to also note that technology has come a long way and I can only imagine how difficult some pro riders would find skiing 50° chutes with skis that resemble pencils a little too much.

 

 

Nonetheless, back to the film. Self-proclaimed as being a film with the intention of capturing “a little bit of ski history on film,” Stump does his best to show the viewers an insight into the growing sport of extreme-skiing and those who partake in it. Most of the footage is shot at Chamonix with other main segments occurring at Telluride and Squaw Valley respectively. Each major segment bringing its own uniqueness to it.

 

 

At telluride you have the powder shots and the beloved face shots. One thing stood out in this segment was the ability the skiers showed when skiing bottomless powder bowls with such narrow skis. Understandably though, they lack the manoeuvrability that today’s skiers have in powder. Besides the powder, and the technique, one thing that truly struck out were the costumes, an amusing reminder of the era in which the film was made.

 

 

At Squaw Valley you have the freeskier shootout where we get a peak at the charismatic Glen Plake. The majority of the skiing here is based around dropping cliffs rather than anything else. It also highlights something which this film seems to lack, powder. Besides the Telluride segment you tend to see little powder in this film. However it is a nice change to see tracked out off-piste in a ski film for once. Although it may not get you as pumped as watching people ski chest-high powder, it does keep you entertained.

 

 

The Chamonix segment is one of the major ones of the film and has a heightened sense of adventure to it when compared to the other segments. Along with guide Murray Ball the Greg Stump crew explore the depths of the Alps. With Scot Schmidt and Glen Plake showing that they were the cream of the crop at the time, or in Greg Stump’s words, the “ski heroes.” With intense couloirs and the imminent reminder of crevasse dangers this segment is definitely the most notable ones in the film.

 

 

Whilst this film might not be full of trickery as the modern ski flicks, one needs to understand the difficulty that the likes of Plake and Schmidt had back then with comparison to today's skiers. Narration by Greg Stump, coupled with on-going interviews and a fitting soundtrack make sure that this film will definitely get you excited. The cinematography might not be mind-blowing but the passion is there. The ability that they had on inferior skis is admirable, and their ability to push the sport when few others were makes this film worth watching.