While we mere mortals may only realize our winter desires on the weekends, saving our on-hill heroics for deep REM sleep, elite skiers from around the world further the limits of possibility to feed our fantasies in the form of the ski film. And the debut of these mountain flicks has become as synonymous with winter's return as the first snowfall.
For years, Bend's Rage Films has charged ahead into exotic locales and enough shots of our own backyard to hype up the eager crowd. This year's release, Such is Life, is no exception, delivering an ample dose of kickers, bottomless Japanese powder, one of the most brutally awesome haircuts ever, and the creativity and quality we've come to expect from this crew.
"People don't realize that we sometimes sit there for three or four days trying to get a shot," says Dan Norkunas who films, edits, markets and generally spearheads the ski film section of Rage Productions.
Rage Films has released 11 productions dating back to 1998's Lost Focus and more recently Booter Crunk, Corduroy and last season's Enjoy. This year, Rage is releasing two films, Such is Life, your traditional-money-shot-hit-after-hit ski film, and Down Days, a documentary-style tale of a month spent in Haines, Alaska pushing the boundaries of what is possible on skis, facing the pressure of sponsors to perform and dealing with Alaska's unpredictable weather.
"There's always a story behind the film," Norkunas said, adding that Alaska's dangers and hard to access terrain provide the perfect canvas for the film behind the film.
"It's a different world out there," said Norkunas.
Over the past decade, Rage has seen a marked increase in quality. Each year brings bigger hits, gnarlier lines and ridiculous roller coaster rails, but also a new standard in production.
"We're getting more corporate support," said Norkunas. And with a bigger budget to work with, "We've been able to do more things."
With these added resources, it's realistic for Rage to commit itself to leading the pack in the ski film industry.
"We don't have Hollywood budgets, but we put Hollywood quality filming together." Norkunas said.
A word to the first time Rage Premier goer: These have been sold out in the past so to be safe get your ticket early at Skjersaa's or at the box office the day of the show.
As the days grow darker, our attention fixes on the mountains, and as the cycle of winter renews itself our anticipation grows. Such is life in a mountain town.