Tight Loose Movie Review — TGR

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | October 24, 2016      

Alex Dierker
Photos by Danielle Perrot

Oh October, what a wonderful month you are. As usual Mother Nature is having a hard time making up her mind. One day it’s 45F, raining, and dusting the high country with the white stuff we so eagerly await…and then it’s back to 80F and sunny. Don’t get me wrong, I love the shuttle between ski training workouts, climbing, and running outside. But really, I’m a cold weather person and if I see one more day of 90’s before strapping skis on I may have a conniption.

Every fall teases us and adding to the torment is the unveiling of the season’s crop of new ski films.

This last week I caught the new TGR flick, Tight Loose, at the Boulder Theater. There wasn’t much of a story line, but hey, that’s not why you go see a TGR film in October. You go see TGR to see big lines, deep pow, dudes who say “BRO!” and add ammunition to your day-job-daydreaming as we creep ever closer to winter 16/17.

TGR has been in the game for awhile and this film is their 21 year celebration which entertains by drawing contrast from the early days of suitcase sized cameras, no budget, and a large appetite for destruction, to the drone, helicopter and POV footage which dominates the web today.

Fall tradition to fire up your winter stoke, TGR.

Fall tradition to fire up your winter stoke, TGR.

I will say that after spending several days at the ISSW avalanche study conference in Breckenridge last week, going to see a TGR film may have not been the best follow up act. There were a few presentations at ISSW that focused on the issue that today’s youth have a much greater hill to climb regarding outdoor recreation and status. Growing up before the dawn of the POV and Instagram, I just competed with friends on the hill or on the field and couldn’t have cared less that kids my age were going way faster and way bigger in New Zealand, Japan, wherever. This is no longer the case. Kids today compare and compete with whatever they see on the web, edited, scripted, filtered or not.

At the early showing for Tight Loose it was interesting to see kids 8-14 going bananas in the front row, watching professional athletes out-run or survive large avalanches in highly technical terrain, cheering and gawking. Obviously those athletes know what they are getting themselves into, but it does come off a bit as “no big deal” until someone gets really hurt or killed. Which does happen, perhaps even more than we know.

Kids go bananas at TGR.

Kids go bananas at TGR.

Regardless, TGR has left a 21-year legacy of getting us psyched for winter. I’m glad they are still showing us glimpses of deep pow in far off mountain ranges and therefor the traditional pre-winter potty dance will continue.

(Guest blogger Alex Dierker grew up skiing the corn fields of Illinois, and moved to Jackson, WY full-time in the winter of 2013. There, he met his girlfriend and recreation partner Dani and since then, they have become a two-for-the-price-of-one partnership. After chasing early mornings to remote and obscure moderates in the Tetons, they moved to Boulder, Colorado and have been making powder 8’s year-round in Colorado ever since. Check out their website here.)


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21 Responses to “Tight Loose Movie Review — TGR”

  1. Andrew October 24th, 2016 4:05 pm

    My 10 year old daughter asked me why I would watch a film where skiers are doing things which she knows are wrong. I didn’t have a good answer at the time. Then later this summer I heard that Matilda Rapaport passed away following an avalanche accident while filming, which deeply saddened me.

    There is an incentives issue here. Red Bull and other sponsors sell product by associating themselves with danger. Athletes therefore are incentivized to go bigger and take more risks to keep their sponsorship money. At what point will someone say no?

  2. Alex D October 24th, 2016 4:47 pm

    I agree Andrew, however I think there is more than just money at play here. It definitely has an involvement but I think the competition plays in as well. It’s tough to compare your latest day of touring to a 15 second clip of a beautiful deep face in AK, especially when your new to the sport. I think its human to want to “up the ante” and be the most RAD. I worry less about the Pro Athletes as I’m sure this is no new topic for them but more the hyper competitive kids from Vermont or Michigan who come into backcountry skiing maybe a little later in life after moving to a mountain town and may not have the most sound skills or logic but think they have something to prove.

  3. Lou Dawson 2 October 24th, 2016 6:13 pm

    Andrew, the answer is, it’s entertainment presented by professionals. No different than a hollyweird flick with stunt men. That’s how I explained it to my son when he was young, and then we talked about choices, and going the pro skier route and being a gladiator, or, seeking adventure that perhaps has an element of danger but is done for more personal reasons, with a crew of friends, without so much hype, and so on. Of course, no perfect mix and I hesitate to throw a stone in my glass house, but I tried to do right by myself and my family… Lou

  4. See October 24th, 2016 7:50 pm

    I believe Andrew’s question was, “At what point will someone say no?” I don’t think most adrenaline crazed adolescents getting plied with helicopters, money, etc. will say “no.” So maybe it’s up to the rest of us to say “I know, it’s only entertainment, but I don’t like it.”

  5. Rich October 25th, 2016 1:11 am

    Here’s what I don’t get and would like to hear what others think.
    Aviation has almost the largest co2 footprint . We profess to be concerned about GW, pollution and future of our winters/winter industry and often make a conscious effort to make others aware or even reduce our own footprint. Yet we (skiers) fly to Chile, Japan, use helicopters , skiidos and make/watch movies which have taken hours of heli time to make, not to mention flying gear and crew half way round the world. i live in Zurich yet in the last 2 seasons I’ve flown to Japan and Norway, even though I have alps at my door step. Crazy. So now I cut it and committed to taking planes for skiing only 1x every 3 years. If we are going to be embassadors of our sport and winters is it not time to take a real stand ?

  6. Rich October 25th, 2016 1:25 am
  7. Wookie October 25th, 2016 2:44 am

    Lou – your answer is great. These movies are fantasy. The analoges to porn are valuable. Porn is NOT real. Its a highly manufactured fantasy. Unrealistic, probably unsatisfying if engaged in as shown, and most definitely dangerous, if only psychologically. These ski movies are all that too.
    The only thing I’d add is that there is one difference: Spy movies or Porn don’t claim, loudly and often, that they are “authentic”. They are strangely – intellectually coherent in their presentation.
    Ski movies, on the other hand, generally include a segment, or at least a few lines about “safety” coupled with phrases like “keeping it real” or philosophical ruminations on the meaning of life/death. Followed by ripping big alaskan lines that nobody ski cuts or hikes, or or or….
    They stoke the danger to increase the suspense. Its not about safety – its about the thrill and paying your tithe to the obilgation de-jour.

    Its this dishonesty that I find problematic. I’m not going to worry about faceless “kids” – I’ll take care of mine, and you’ll take care of yours. It’ll be OK. I find the dichotomy of the arguments just juvinile – and annoying.

    Just either rip it up in a no-holds barred dream world, or make a safety awareness film. Don’t try to combine the two and pander to some sense of public panic.

  8. Rich October 25th, 2016 3:23 am

    Great points Woookie

  9. Trent October 25th, 2016 6:52 am

    Alex D, lots of VT kids will have ample backcountry experience. I can’t speak for the MI kids.
    Perhaps you meant, all newcomers to the sport need a grounding in the real dangers inherent in backcountry travel? And the movies are currently glossing over those dangers?

  10. Alex D October 25th, 2016 7:57 am

    Trent, I was being very general, but I think no matter where you are from, if your 25 and can ski hard and fast, meadow skipping may be an acquired taste after a big storm.
    A good way to put it with “grounding.” No good answer, just something I’ve become more aware of as I learn more and spend more time out observing and chatting with people. I know films have only so much time and budget and TGR is not known for their emphasis of snow safety but it made an interesting contrast to the ISSW.

  11. Aaron Mattix October 25th, 2016 8:21 am

    Mountain bike films tend to follow the same format as ski movies; vaguely linked edits of big-mountain, petrol-supported, Rampage style riding, some dirt jump/ park scenes of fashion-forward dudes who seem to spend as much time thinking about their wardrobe as their aerial tricks, and an occasional segment of ungodly fast trail riding. The trail riding segments are the ones that get me the most stoked, as I find them most relatable. I know I won’t be charging big-mountain lines, or getting upside down in the air, but to watch an expert-level rider navigate a trail such as I might ride gets me pumped to go ride. So how about a few more “soul” segments of skiing safer, lower-angle terrain to show you don’t necessarily need to risk life & limb to have fun?

    Or document the decision-making process of whether or not is safe to drop in on that steep face, and show how many times the decision is to turn around?

  12. Lou Dawson 2 October 25th, 2016 8:47 am

    Thanks for the thoughts guys, excellent. Lou

  13. Wookie October 25th, 2016 10:02 am

    All things considered- the answer is still easy. This sport replicates itself every generation based on the people engaging in it. I started when I was 16 – with no idea and no skills, and i was lucky enough to find an old-timer that showed me the ropes. (I was highly motivated after an incident early into my hobby)
    These days, I figure, I’m that old-timer. I try to assist while remembering what it was like to be 16. That is easy to say – but the reality is that in order to be a mentor, I have to let those kids have the lead sometimes, and that is harder than it sounds. I’m confronted with, and must be honest about, my declining physical abilities (uncomfortable) while at the same time having to push harder to keep it
    Interesting for those super-fit kids.
    I do view this as a duty. It’s my hope that many of you do too. Movies never made our sport, and no matter how “big”
    it gets, it will never be more than a fringe thing. it’s just too hard for the masses. As such – there remains a grass-roots, personal connection between everyone engaging in this sport, and anything that defines it – like an attention to safety – will derive from this.
    I’m confident that despite the hype. Our sport will be ok. We’re getting better, not worse.

  14. Herf October 25th, 2016 11:33 am

    Dr Robb Gaffney has done a great job of addressing these same questions. He’s a supreme — better word than “extreme” — skier and been in a lot of ski movies. He’s lost a lot of close friends either to death or injury due to these activities. He’s a psychiatrist. Robb’s looking at things like risk/benefit and being able to experience and enJOY life now and comfortably as we age. His mission statement: “Dedicated to making our sports lifelong passions.” Check out the website at sportgevity dot com.

  15. Trent October 25th, 2016 2:21 pm

    AlexD, ” no matter where you are from, if your 25 and can ski hard and fast, meadow skipping may be an acquired taste after a big storm” probably sums it up. During my Avy1 course, the instructor mentioned a few times that during a big storm, “20 degrees with no terrain traps is pretty fun.” Half of us nodded as the light was turned on: “you know, he’s absolutely right.” The other half of the class was more interested in beacon search, shovel techniques and rescue.

  16. Travis October 25th, 2016 4:27 pm

    Reading some of this thread brings to mind the Skiers Journey series of ski films by Arcteryx and GoreTex. I enjoy those films for their emphasis on the holistic experience of skiing with your best friends in great locations–some episodes even touch on death in the mountains. Are there any other web series that are similar?

  17. Noah Howell October 25th, 2016 8:57 pm

    I’ve been impressed with most the production houses toning it down and doing more adventure travel pieces with less gnar and more story. Good thing is there is something out there for everybody. Here are some offerings on the adventure skiing end for those interested.

    Skiing into the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

    Ski Hardrock 100

  18. Andrew October 26th, 2016 1:29 pm

    Great answers which will help with answers to our 10 year old’s questions.

    @Rich, maybe bump into you at Engelberg then?

  19. Alex D October 26th, 2016 4:06 pm

    Very cool. Thanks Noah!

  20. Cheese head November 7th, 2016 12:08 pm

    Hi guys, I am 23 and from Wisconsin working fulltime after graduating from UW until my cashflow return hopefully in the next 2-5 years, which I then will move West to the mountains I have grown so accustomed to traveling to. Throughout college I took 3 different week long ski trips during the year (wow was that nice) and have been skiing these hills Wisconsin calls mountains since I was 5. When looking at these movies I do not see them as “Oh I need to try that” now I know not all kids are like me especially the younger ones but after riding inbounds through Jholes 50” powder storm last year I couldn’t even fathom taking that beyond the ropes. I wish but come on. Just a kid from the Midwest thought. I do follow a lot of these blogs and posts about dangerous of the backcountry and find the arguments on both sides equally intriguing. Cheers

  21. Lou Dawson 2 November 7th, 2016 4:57 pm

    Hey Cheeshead, thanks for dropping by! Lou

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