Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Video Review - Steep

This skiing documentary is currently being sold on Amazon UK with my all time favourite ski movie - "The Blizzard of Ahhhs" thrown in as a bonus. If you don't already own either you have a good opportunity to get hold of both for £12.99. Since I recently watched "Steep" for the first time, it seems an ideal moment to post this blog's first ever video review.

I should begin by pointing out that "Steep" is not your typical ski movie. If you are expecting the usual adrenaline fueled mix of high speed, big air, steep powderfields and avalanche dodging - all set to a banging soundtrack - then you might be disappointed. There is still plenty of adrenaline, powder skiing and inspiring descents, but on the whole, this is a much more considered affair tracing the history of extreme skiing from its beginnings around forty years ago to the present day. As inspiring as the action sequences are, I found  the interviews with the protagonists more captivating and interesting. The risks of the sport are not ignored but tackled head on. In fact a large part of the film attempts to unravel what drives these people to risk their lives in pursuit of another epic ski descent.

Beginning with Bill Briggs climbing and skiing the Grand Teton in 1971, the story moves between North America and Europe as it follows various pioneers of the sport and the developments brought by each decade, ending with the heroes of the last decade. It is sobering to note that many of the skiers featured are no longer alive. Particularly moving are the interviews with the late Doug Combs and his wife, where they talk candidly about the possiblity of him dying in the mountains, doing what he loves.

As well as covering the risks though, the film also brings across the passion for the mountains and the zest for life that the heroes of the sport invariably have.

On Amazon UK, "Steep" is being sold as a two disc set with the classic late 80s ski movie "The Blizzard of Ahhs". This is the film that launched the career of Glen Plake - owner of the most famous mohican in skiing. Filmed and narrated by Greg Stump, it follows Scott Schmitt, Mike Hatrup and Glen Plake as they travel from the US to Chamonix, France, to ski the extreme. It is a great companion to "Steep", as the latter film looks in detail at "Blizzard", and its place in the development of extreme skiing.

1 comment:

  1. I have never seen it but it sounds real refreshing! It would be nice to see a ski film that is not trying to mimick skateboard films. Something a little more mature maybe?