Spirit of Snow
October, 2003---We met filmmaker Dave O'Leske in
a rather serendipitous way last spring: our path's crossed at
Saddlebag Lake in Tioga Pass. He told us about this ski film
he'd made called Spirit of Snow where they'd hiked for
all the turns, and in which the goods were not just ski porn
but instead contributed to his goal of capturing what exactly
it is about this sport that makes it so special.
We were intrigued and excited
to see Dave's video.
Immediately after popping
the cassette into the machine and hitting play, we knew this
was going to be a very different kind of ski video indeed. Beautiful
classical music played against a backdrop of awesome winter mountain
scenery. Two skiers are skinning up a perfect slope and a woman's
voice, obviously burnished by many years, intones: "So precious
few times you get it...I mean that is powder, on the mountain
at nine in the morning, it's gone by ten, unless you hike! And
how many people do that?"
What follows is part historical
documentary and part inspirational backcountry ski footage. Mixing
interviews with some of the most amazing pioneers in the history
of skiing with footage of their logical heirs--those skiers who
are out there today blazing adventurous paths in the backcountry---is
nothing short of inspired. O'Leske pulls it off in high style
in Spirit of Snow.
Dick Durrance, Dolores
LaChappele, and 10th Mountain Division veteran Earl Clark are
among the ski legends who recount the early days. Bridging the
gap between generations are avalanche forecaster Jerry Roberts
and paraplegic sit-skier Erik Schultz, who's still skiing the
backcountry almost every day, despite losing the use of his legs
after a notorious fall in one of the chutes off of Tioga's North
Peak a few years ago (I'll never call it "kook chute"
again, watch the video here of his disastrous fall, and hear
Erik's inspirational words just once, and you won't either, I
Finishing the film, the
backcountry skiing segments are simply awesome. There's a terrific
cast of ski talent here, reflecting modern backcountry and tele
techniques and styles. Amazing powder combine with great skiers,
well filmed, to stoke even the most seasoned wild-snow lovers.
With Spirit of Snow
Dave O'Leske has created something that's not just uniquely
entertaining, this movie is an important historical document,
capturing the spirit of skiing through the eyes and observations
of some of its most important early pioneers. Beyond all of that,
the video simply rocks. It is a must-have for any lover of backcountry
skiing. Two tips way, way up!
"what was it you loved about it...about snow skiing?"
(big sigh, pauses, looks up and asks) "why do you like to
Inga Prime, the one voicing the words at
the beginning of the film (and the trailer) "So precious few times you get it...I
mean that is powder"...according to the film she's looking
forward to skiing on her 100th birthday in a few years. Ya gotta
To order this video,
or for more info, head on over to: www.throughachildseyesproductions.com
In order of appearance
in thhis trailer: Inga Prime (voice only), Dick Durrance (at
1:55), Earl Clark (2:44), Durance again (3:38), and Delores LaChappele