Review of Almost Ablaze Premier in SF and Tahoe

“The Edge…There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”

-Hunter S. Thompson

Product toss at Almost Ablaze premier at Palace of Fine Arts

Product toss at Almost Ablaze premier at Palace of Fine Arts

On a cool, foggy evening the moisture seemed to dance in the air around the slow procession of people walking into the Palace of Fine Arts for Teton Gravity Research’s premier of  Almost Ablaze.  As the final remnants of the first premier exited, the second showing’s crowd began to congregate in the lobby of the theater.

The crowd checking out the sponsors and getting ready for the premier

The crowd checking out the sponsors and getting ready for the premier

Fortunately, the sponsors of the movie were in the lobby to inform people of the great products they sold as well as talk about the upcoming season.  Here are just some of the sponsors that were at the premier:

  • Sony Action Cam: All P.O.V. shots in the movie were taken with the Sony Action Cam.  Dillon was a great sales representative and highlighted some of the cool features. It has resistance to water, snow, and the ability to filter sound such as the howling wind as you ski/ride down the mountain.
  • Line Skis: Matt, the regional sales person for Line Skis, highlighted some of their skis and explained the new technology put in this season.
  • Selkirk-Tangiers Heli-skiing: Emma and Jeff from Selkirk introduced everyone to their outfit.  Quite a bit of the movie filmed at Revelstoke was facilitated by Selkirk-Tangiers.
  • Marker/Volkl: Manning the Marker/Volkl booth was Ian McIntosh. A legend in the ski/snowboard industry, Ian sat talking and signing posters for everyone that was waiting for the film.  Beneath all the ski clothes and gear stood a true mountain man, beard and all.  He looked like he was prepared for anything nature could throw at him.  Fans came up to the table, and he took time out to show his appreciation for each one.  A casual observer would notice from his interaction with them he geniunely cared.
  • I was lucky enough to ask him, “For a visitor coming to Whistler for the first time, where should they go?”  His response:

Local Freshies tip from Ian on what to check out in Whistler:  “FireRock Lounge.  It’s an intimate atmosphere and great place to grab a drink.”

Ian McIntosh signing autographs at the world premier in San Francisco

Ian McIntosh signing autographs at the world premier in San Francisco

Review of Almost Ablaze

As the lights began to flash in the lobby the crowd proceeded into the theater and sat down preparing themselves for the show with hoots and hollers.  The MC of the evening began to pump up the crowd, first by introducing some of the stars of the movie and having them draw the raffle, followed by an old school product toss.  A few of the pros in the building, in no particular order, were Angel Collinson, Johnny Collinson, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Todd Ligare, and of course Ian McIntosh.

The lights dimmed and the excitement began to build for the main show with two previews.  The first one was the Sammy C Project. It was a great teaser. In one clip the preview showed an insane ski jump that was converted into a booter and a pro hucked himself off of it.  As the second teaser came up, it was about the new TGR film called “Unreal” and truly looked UNREAL.  Seeing mountain bikers riding down a hillside surrounded by wild mustangs brought the crowd to a frenzy of excitement.

Introduction of Almost Ablaze

The moment everyone was waiting for finally happened.  The premier of Almost Ablaze began!  The introduction of Almost Ablaze looked and felt like an intro for an 80’s “Brat Pack” movie such as Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with each person being introduced with them laughing and doing their best intro.  In true Teton Gravity Research fashion, Almost Ablaze is a hard-charging, scenic and artistic movie that won’t disappoint.  From the opening scene, the intensity builds. The athletes take it higher and higher and push harder and harder.

After the introduction of the cast, the crowd erupted as the camera panned over Jackson Hole.  The shot was of its insanely craggy peaks of the Teton Range in the background.

Almost Ablaze highlights the normal carefree globetrotting lifestyle of these athletes and takes you around the world from the Teton Range, Sarejevo and to Sella Neva, Italy in the middle of a record setting winter before finishing up with an unreal edit from Revelstoke, British Columbia.  While the locations were great and the artistic touch was well received, especially the 3-D projection shred set, make no mistake about it…Almost Ablaze was made to feature these amazing skiers.  Some were familiar faces still rippin’ it and some were exciting new talent destined to become the next big thing.  Check out some of our favorites below.

Highlights of the Film:

  • Angel Collinson – Best female part I’ve ever seen which could rival most male film parts

First and foremost, Angel Collinson…normally when you hear the name it’s Johnny and Angel Collinson. Both brother and sister are really talented up and coming professional skiers,  but after this performance, she deserves her own spotlight.  In fact, Angel Collinson was given the opportunity to have the opening segment!  The snow around Juneau this season seemed a little more sketchy than usual to the point that they had to travel to Haines to get some good filming.  The lines she chose to do in her part would make most men tremble and you could see she really pushed the envelope this season.  I am sure there were a few, but I don’t recall many turns in her runs.  No line was too big nor too extreme.  She handled them all with style and ease.  In addition, her commentary was infectious making you want to join her on a trip just because of the fact that she made everything look fun even if the snow was bad.  I will definitely be looking to see what she has on the horizon because she is fun to watch.

  • Sage Cattabriga-Alosa’s part at Grand Targhee was the most unique and creative film sequence in a long time

Sage’s part was filmed at night at Grand Targhee with them projecting images against the snow while it snowed lightly.  As he would initiate turns into the snow, the projected light against the snowflakes would curl and fold making a person wonder what was being visually projected them.  It made the audience feel like they were on an acid trip without the side effects.  This scene alone made it worth watching. It gave a creative and unique perspective to this skiing movie.

  • Jackson Hole segment – Makes you want to move there!

Last season was bad in many parts of the country. Some areas were worse than others. After watching this segment, every snow lover will want to drop everything and move to Jackson.  The quality, depth, and amount of snow are beyond words and needs to be seen to really understand.  Jackson Hole is still heaven for all powder hounds.

  • Tim Durtschi – A joy to watch

Tim Durtschi took the comical element to the next level. He seems like the life of the party you want on all your trips.  Not only is personality whimsical, but so is his riding.  He has a quirky style that’s noticeably different from the rest of the crew.  Tim’s part really exudes how much he truly enjoys skiing by how he attacks the mountain.  Tim looks at a slope with trees as a playground rather than a run.  Like a Tasmanian devil, he bounces to and fro in-between thick glades pulling quick tricks on everything that is in front of him.  You can truly feel the joy of his skiing.  For example, upon an approach to a jump or obstacle it still seems as if he’s joking around.  After launch it’s clear…he’s no joke when it comes to skiing.  Durtschi’s uniqueness is entertaining.

 

Almst_Ablze_Premier_Sarajevo_1

Joss Christenson skiing in Sarajevo on his trip after winning the gold medal in Sochi.

  • Watching Sochi gold medalist ski war-torn Sarajevo is a humbling experience

Joss Christenson skied Olympic Park in Sarajevo surrounded by the original hotel buildings that housed the masses for the 1984 Olympics, which were later transformed into barracks.  Thousands of people died in the civil war that happened right after the Olympics.  It makes one realize how fragile the balance is and how it is up to each of us to enjoy life since it could disappear into rubble at any minute.  Seeing Joss ski in Sarajevo shows you the quality of character this guy has.

  • Nick McNutt – The King of Toast aka Butter

Nick McNutt seems to be the “Young Gun” of the crew.  I’m not even sure how he thinks of these combos, let alone how to begin to move his body and stomp them every time.  It was amazing to see his ability to ride switch as well as regular.  Normally, I can pick a favorite run by each skier to point out.  Not this time.  His segment was fun to see all the way through.

  • Ian “MAC” McIntosh – Insane backcountry lines in Le Grave

Next, a solid performance was delivered by veteran Ian McIntosh.  He is still doing it and so impressive.  Blasting down the mountain at insane speeds and busting turns as if they were in slow motion, Ian is so technical and under control when it doesn’t seem possible.  As always his nerves of steel were on display.  Alaska may have some of the craziest mountains in the world, but the French Alps seem to be home to some of the most technical ski mountaineering lines in the world.  Seeing Ian talk about Le Grave which only has one lift and that the entire ski resort is considered off – piste terrain made it seem insane.  Then seeing Todd Ligare’s incredible save from death and trip ending fall on one of the sketchiest runs I have EVER seen, led to everyone realizing the level of seriousness and difficulty each of the routes they chose.

To finish his segment, Ian jumps into a technical line comparable to looking over the edge of a skyscraper.  Still not enough for Ian.  There’s even a skydiving clip…always entertaining.

So, it comes down to the ultimate question: Should you buy this movie?  If you like nature, snow, and a story line filled with insane tricks and unique adventures then HELL YES!

To see the teaser as well as check out our original post, look here

 

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