Ptor Spricenieks — “Dreamline” Retrospective Film is Worthy

Post by blogger | September 27, 2014      

Ski mountaineering’s best loved mystic drops a compelling biopic. Kudos to sponsor Salomon and film maker Bjarne Salen for getting out on the edge with “Dreamline,” a ski film — sort of. Ever since Ptor began publishing his writing, decades ago now, we’ve all known he has some fairly unique philosophical views that could best be classified as “new age.” (Though I’m sure Ptor would not like me to classify.) In any case, he’s got a life philosophy he’s been able to script for a retrospective flick. You’ll want to see this, and take my word, it is not ski porn.

In a somewhat rambling voice-over, Ptor describes his feelings about dreams being a doorway to parallel universes (and of course that dreams should be the guides to life). The film attempts to thread these metaphysical concepts along with foundational stuff like how ski touring gets us back to the primal purity we lose if we lead coddled citified lifestyles.

Along the way, Ptor encounters all too human challenges such as an emotional breakdown (after his and Troy Jungen’s famed 1995 first descent of Mount Robson’s north face) that results in him moving to the tropics to live in a hammock on the beach, fighting off scorpions. I got a smile out of this. While he’d gone native, did he still have the gear to film the burning of his return ticket and manage to save the footie? Or was it simulated? I’m afraid to ask.

Ptor’s jungle phase lasts three months. As happens with many of us, the death of a friend in the mountains jogs his psyche. He has an a-ha moment and realized his destiny is as a ski mountaineer. Since then, he’s traveled the world looking for the most inspirational and perfect ski descents, sometimes with material success and sometimes not. But always with more fodder for his apparently insatiable philosophical appetite.

Yet along with his calling as a mountain mystic, Ptor also has a beautiful family in France. Plenty of content with his wife and children are a wonderful addition to a film that could have been way too self-involved (it teeters on the edge of that abyss, for sure). Speaking of the balance between dangerous mountaineering and being a father, Ptor’s wife speaks what’s somewhat of a cliche, but is so true when she describes Ptor as a bird that “sometimes needs to fly.”

The upshot is a return to Pakistan for another attempt at the unclimbed and unskied Gashot Peak. Ptor’s partner Greg Hill gets caught in a large, scary avalanche and comes through with a leg injury along with subsequent heli evac. Ptor remains to ponder an attempt. He eventually climbs to near the summit and skis a beautiful world-class face. The flick closes with more mystical ideas about dreams — some of which got me thinking about quantum physics and spirituality.

But the real closing line of the flick, (spoken by Ptor some minutes before the end) is him wondering outloud “why I’m such a crazy bastard to run around and piss in strange places.” Ptor’s sense of humor and humble outlook come through when he says that, and it made the whole film for me. After all, when you are a conquistador of the useless you’d better be able to laugh at yourself.

In all, nicely done and a good balance for all the fun but pretty much mindless ski filmography you are about to be bombarded with this fall.


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5 Responses to “Ptor Spricenieks — “Dreamline” Retrospective Film is Worthy”

  1. Aaron September 22nd, 2014 7:44 pm

    Is that the Greg Hill avalanche footage? Nuts.

  2. Wookie September 23rd, 2014 5:54 am

    Glad to see that Ptor has been featured. When I met him, I had no idea he was “kinduva big deal” – and at no time during those days did he do anything to let on that he was. Any discussion about Ptor includes what I’ll call his “personal honesty” in an attempt to name it kindly – I just wish that everyone could feel, like I did then, that whenever you are with Ptor – you are seeing the real person. He is honest and good, and in the space of a week he left a lasting impression on me. Very little of that had to do with his skills – which are considerable – it was his courage to go his own way that impressed me.

    I do hope that one day – we will meet again.

  3. Mark Worley September 23rd, 2014 9:07 pm

    I realize this is about much more than skiing and Ptor’s skills therein, but if you haven’t looked at the North Face of Mt. Robson, take a look. Words of any sort evade description of one of the greatest descents ever undertaken.

  4. Lou Dawson 2 September 27th, 2014 7:43 pm

    I brought this up to the top for the weekend due to recent events and our community philosophizing. It got buried too quick.

  5. Inquisitor October 14th, 2014 11:47 am

    … To understand Ptor’s sometimes desperate and disparate acts of defiance of the dangerous and the orthodox , perhaps as a ‘Conquistador of the useless’,

    ( but please do not forget the usefulness of his chosen method to some either as: a protest; reach personal redemption; as a time honored heroic or a drastic way to emote on a high level to define ones consciousness; gain ones personal Catharsis ; quench personal pain; remove an inherited curse: provide relief from a number of unjustly imposed psychic burdens – this time on a member of a helpless and innocent population perpetrated by the Warlords of our Planet; and,or, to reject and expel the psychic burdens that had become expressed as hidden and distorted periogenetic additions to the inherited genes – the unfortunate Latvian’s DNA – .and a ‘gift’ from the dastardly deeds perpetrated on his ancestors by uncivilized aggressors over close to three thousand years of continued displacement, depopulation, occupation and continuous genocide …)

    one must dwell deeper into his past, particularly the histories of his displaced parents, and their deeply affected and altered lives and states of well being, especially through the two World Wars and thereafter … for even the plagiarizing Bible contains an ancient truth, borrowed from the wisdom of the Old Europe’s civilization – of which Latvians are but a remaining bit: ” … the sins (Latvians would say, the good deeds… ) of your fathers will be with you for five generations …’ !

    …And upon an even deeper examination of Ptor’s actions, a hidden cause, a reason may be perceived and defined: a subconsciously expressed protest against the present state of leadership of Humankind, and by logical and personal extension, a cry for their denied and now severely needed justice for his people who are today close to the threshold of extinction, succumbing to the transformed old, but a continuing ‘modern genocide’ that threatens all Latvians … for he has also learned well and enough and subconsciously abhors the denial of the truth about his peoples history and present ‘state of union’ ….

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