Ski Bums Never Die (And Some Don’t Even Fade) – Movie Review

Post by blogger | April 27, 2011      

When you preview the truly beautiful selection of films that’ll be shown at 5 Point Film Festival in a few days, a ski mountaineer will be struck by two things. First, you’ll sense the spirit of adventurous fun that runs through much of the content. Then, you’ll wonder why so few ski flicks were included.

As we all know, most ski films tend to be a series of park tricks strung together with pop music. Such can indeed be delightful — at least till the beer goggles wear off and tedium sets in. Thus, sad truth is the ski move genre is lagging behind the ever higher bar set by selections of festivals such as 5 Point, Telluride and Banff. Exceptions this year (among a few others) include Davenport and crew’s Australis, and the Ruedi Beglinger docu-bio “A Life Ascending.”.

I’m not sure why Australis didn’t get selected for 5 Point. It did drag on a bit in places and sometimes seemed to lack authenticity and grit. Yet on the positive side I liked the fantasy nature of the flick — sort of a “ski vacation of your dreams” vibe. More, however weak the narrative, Australis does comprise a good dose of purpose and commitment as this is still ski mountaineering in Antarctica, out of a small boat with no nearby backup or help if things go wrong.

Oh well, every festival can’t include every flick.

Moving along on the ski movie theme… Word about “Life Ascending” is that it could have made the 5-Point screen (and in my opinion would have easily, as it even ends at the perfect moment) except a tighter festival cut was not available. Whatever the case, “Ascending” is a bit over hyped (“transformative cinematic experience!”) and has done the rounds, so no great loss if it made way for other equally good stuff.

Speaking of flicks that will not have you looking at your watch or reaching for your smartphone: Brevity can be genius, and the four minute 5 Point selection “Old Ski Bums Never Die” proves my point.

The concept is simple. Skiing is the best sport on the planet, and is not just for 20-somethings. In fact, skiing is enjoyed worldwide by folks in their 70s and beyond, and some of those guys move pretty danged well. More, skiing is social. It brings out the communal funster in all of us. Or it should.

Thus, when I watched 5-Point selection “Old Ski Bums Never Die,” the first thing that came to my mind was, “are we having fun, STILL?”

I’ll testify. After almost a half century of doing this stuff, and a 100+ day season nearly under my belt, I get jaded. So when I watched this the thought occurred to me: Would these old hipsters give me a ride in their truck? Would I qualify? Would you? Check it out below, and watch on the big screen at 5 Point on Sunday May 1.

(To be fair, nothing is perfect. I’ll bet “Ski Bums” would be even more fun and inspiring if we’d heard a little more about the individuals in the flick. What types of careers they’d had, physical challenges, family, that sort of stuff. Tiny interview vignettes done in a humorous fashion would have worked. But then, the film would have had to be longer — and I don’t have a smartphone to kill time with.)


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3 Responses to “Ski Bums Never Die (And Some Don’t Even Fade) – Movie Review”

  1. Ron Rash April 27th, 2011 10:13 am

    Watching the trailer for “A Life Ascending” I’m impressed with the life style that Ruedi has made for himself and his family. I find that part truly inspirational. I find it fascinating the difference in guides from around the world with different perceptions of risk management and the dangers in the mountains and how to handle those dangers. Hopefully, guiding worldwide will start to change in regard to those risks. Ed Viesturs has set the bar for guides worldwide for safety in the mountains and the reality that it is okay to go home, the mountains will always be there and it is okay to wait for the right conditions to scale that peak or ski a certain slope.

    Ron Rash owner Aspen Alpine Guides

  2. Scruppo April 27th, 2011 4:47 pm

    Watching the “old ski bums” trailer reminds me of last year at Reudi’s place (I know – different movie). On the first day I noticed this “old guy” named Roy. I thought to myself that he was going to have a rough time. On the first day out, he totally hung with everyone, much to my amazement. I even emailed my wife saying that this 65ish year old guy was keeping up with everyone on the “up”. The next day I found out that Roy was a regular to SME and that he was very close to his 75th birthday. He also lives in Rossland, BC and has a season pass to Red Mountain. After that trip, Roy became my new inspiration.

    As far as guide safety, I really think that if Viesturs took a group of BC skiers every winter day for 20+ years into the BC backcountry, his number would come up as well. Reudi might be a little harsh, but I can’t think of another BC ski guide that I’d trust more.

    One more thing – I also like ski movies with a little more substance. I own and like Australis, A Life Ascending, and Steep. Another good ski flick with substance is “Asadi : Freedom” about skiing at Gulmarg in India. Too bad it’s not in wide distribution.

  3. Lou April 27th, 2011 4:54 pm

    Rossland needs to market their fountain of youth. Actually, perhaps not. It might get too crowded. (grin)

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