That’s it, it’s started. It happens every year around about this time (although admittedly, usually a little later than this). As soon as the temperature drops, the sun disappears and it starts getting dark noticeably earlier, I start to crave snow.
And I’m quite sure it’s not just me. The demise of summer heralds the countdown to the start of the ski season, and the signs are omnipresent.
At work everything has shifted up a gear. The phones are busy with people booking holidays and making enquiries about the season ahead, pre-season events are in their final planning stages, representatives from different resorts are here delivering pre-season training, and everyone is suddenly conscious that now summer’s over, the ski season is imminent.
And it’s not just at work. Tantalising movie clips and pictures of early snow are doing the rounds on Facebook, ski and snowboarding magazines’ first issues of the season have landed on newsagent shelves, and new season clothing and equipment has started arriving in the shops.
If this wasn’t enough, Travis Rice and Curt Morgan’s eagerly awaited follow up to ‘That’s It, That’s All’, ‘The Art of Flight’, has just had its world premiere and been released for download. And this is what’s done it. This is what’s tipped me over the edge (sadly, not literally) and made me desperate to get back on my board.
I’ve just watched ‘The Art of Flight’, sorry, ‘The Art of FLIGHT’ (the emphasis is justified) and it really does live up to the hype. This ground (and budget)breaking snowboard movie follows a group of the worlds best snowboarders as they travel to some of the most extreme and inhospitable mountains in the world, in search of the ultimate line. Their journey takes them from Alaska to Patagonia, taking in more familiar (but equally hard-core) territory in Jackson Hole, Aspen and Revelstoke in-between. The snowboarding is breathtaking and sees them jumping out of helicopters onto precarious ridges and gliding down seemingly impossible descents as if it was the easiest thing in the world.
But although they make it look easy, much emphasis is placed on their awareness of their vulnerability in this volatile environment, and the need to study, understand and respect it. One of the film’s most impressive (and terrifying) scenes is not of the riders themselves, but of a massive avalanche, and it offers a humbling nod of respect to their formidable playground, as well as moment of cinematic brilliance.
Not all of the action unfolds on barely accessible precipices in far-flung locations, and it’s in the more controlled setting of man made snowparks that the riders are able to show off their finest aerial tricks, including an incredible triple cork 1440 from 17 year old Mark McMorris. Having said that, they do also pull off some mind blowing tricks in pretty crazy locations, such as Rice’s epic front seven tail grab over a massive crevasse (pictured below).
The combination of awe-inspiring snowboarding in stunning locations, beautiful cinematography and a superb soundtrack make this a snowboard movie that will surely transcend the confines of the snowboarding fraternity and captivate mass market audiences.
It certainly captivated me, and judging by the reaction from fellow snowboarding aficionados on Facebook and Twitter, it has succeeded in living up to, and indeed exceeding all expectations. I’ve already watched it twice, transfixed for every one of the 120 minutes, and I’m quite sure it’ll be gracing my screen several more times over the coming weeks as I get excited about the season ahead.
In many ways it’s a bit masochistic though. While thoughts of the impending season certainly help to compensate for the fact that summer appears to be over, there’s no escaping the fact that the snow won’t actually start falling properly for at least another two months.
It’ll come around quickly though. It always does. And in the meantime I’ll be staving off the cravings by coveting new kit that I can’t afford to buy (yet more masochism) and planning my first trip of the season. If only those flights to Aspen were a bit cheaper…!
‘The Art of FLIGHT’ is available to download on itunes now. If you haven’t already, you need to see it! If you have, let me know what you think…