The Freeheel Life Premiere

Posted October 12, 2009 in

Every October the Wasatch receives its first decent coat of snow and the city’s skiing public starts licking its chops.  Along with the snowfall, ski films start popping up at theaters around town and crowds flock to see the highlights of last season in larger-than-life clarity.  Add in a badass soundtrack to liven up the shots, and you have a hell of a way to spend a Wednesday night.  This year’s hot film, The Freeheel Life, was showcased at Brewvies in downtown SLC and featured the talents of many local riders.  As the pack of thirsty skiers settled in with cold brews and enough nachos to choke Mama Cass, the lights dimmed and the fun began. Editor and promoter, Josh Madsen, introduced the film and threw out some killer swag to the eager audience.  Madsen is also the editor of Telemark Ski Magazine and his enthusiasm for the sport is evident as soon as you meet him.

The opening segments excited the viewers as a solo skier came ripping through an aspen grove with loads of powder flowing overhead.  Hoots and hippie-hollers came from all over the crowd and it sounded like a typical fresh day in the mountains.  Along with the uber-deep scenes, the freeheelers took a stab at some of the more progressive tricks of the day.  There were so many steezy 5’s, 7’s, 9’s, and 10’s that I had to call my accountant to add up the insanity.  A few fresh nose butters completed the picture and kept the crowd cheering.  Not only were these guys hitting the park like Tanner, but they were also doing things that just aren’t possible with a locked-heel, truly innovative.

Accompanied by the sounds of local rockers Band of Annuals, Broncos, and Thunder Fist, skiers in Madsen’s film sent it off every cliff, pillow, and booter in sight.  Hometown hero, Dylan Crossman, also has one of the most sphincter clenching first descents in the Austrian Alps.  From the comfort of their cushy chairs, the audience watches as Crossman etch-a-sketches his way down an unbelievably narrow couloir in the middle of nowhere.  In addition to showstoppers like Crossman, the film also brings out the talents of tele skiers JT Robinson and Cody Smith.  Their contributions to the sport are undeniable as they effortlessly make their way down the hairiest lines and tightest trees.

Now what ski film is complete with out a collection of heart-stopping crashes?  Throughout the movie, Madsen has sprinkled in a fantastic selection of rag dolls, nut jobs, and face plants.  You really feel for these guys when you realize that their skis don’t release on impact.  Usually resulting in a few good whacks to the dome as the tail of the ski acts like a catapult.  Good thing most of ‘em wear protection. Madsen’s vision is beautifully captured in the cinematography and his artistic blend of daily life and the fantasy that is skiing make the film a pleasure to watch.