Alpinism is foundational to the idea of mountain culture, but all too often the concept gets diluted with fluff such as eco tourism and souvenir prayer flag displays. Yet the authentic does happen.
A crew of local young men here in the Aspen, Colorado area put together a successful Denali ski expedition. One of the crew, a second generation Aspenite named Danny Brown, created an incredible presentation about their trip and premiered it last evening. Brown recently graduated from a digital arts school, and it shows. I was stunned by the production values of his video/film, and I’m glad I was sitting down, as the content would have knocked me off my feet.
Both Brown and his companion Nick DeVore presented the film. While Brown did most of the photography and editing, I’m sure Nick had much to do wtih it as well.
|Danny Brown on Denali. Brown and Nick DeVore summited on May 21, and made a summit ski descent. Their companions Jesse Durrance and Adam Moszynski skied it two days later. Aspen Times article about trip. Photo – Nick DeVore|
The 15 minute short compresses an immense amount of information by using time-lapse photography and reversed video to tell a multi-faceted story, with few words. Much of the film is devoted to setting a tone by showing a monk-like figure making elegant marshal arts type moves throughout various mountain environments, with a focus on rock cairn building. What gives this zing is that through a basic FX (I’ll let you guess), the cairns are shown building themselves with strokes of the monk’s staff.
How does this relate to skiing Denali? Well, let me admit that in my own younger days as an alpinist I saw the practice as a sort of martial art that blended a spiritual aspect with assured body movement. Brown’s film spoke to me about that, as well as the way immersion in the grandeur of creation engenders a strong mysticism in many mountaineers.
As for the actual skiing, Denali is as much about climbing and camping as it is about making turns. Brown stays true to reality, and the film’s segments of camping and climbing show the true essence of the Denali experience. Along with that, terrific shots of phenomenal skiing keep the film on track.
Brown’s film is entered in the Banff festival. I’m predicting a prize and that you’ll be able to see it when Banff comes to your town. Don’t miss it. Danny’s website.
|DeVore and Brown (L to R) introducing the film.|
The name Nick DeVore might be familiar to many of you. The young Nick is a well known telemark free skier who’s won some comps and been in several ski films. His father of same name is a well known photographer who’s shots have appeared in hundreds of places including National Geographic. The elder Nick passed away last year, it’s nice to see he has a son he could be proud of.