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Last week I was lucky enough to go to the London premiere of this year's Warren Miller film, ...Like There's No Tomorrow. With last year's offering, Wintervention, being a killer film, ...Like There's No Tomorrow had a lot to live up to.
As you would expect Warren Miller didn't let us down with this year's film. Due to the epic amounts of snowfall last season, some incredible skill, some heart-warming stories centring on legends such as Tom Day, and of course some good humour, the film was a real ball.
To add to the great film that was on offer, the Warren Miller Tour had the usual fun you would expect from the film makers. During the banter-filled interval prizes from the main sponsors, including a pair of Rossignol skis, a Columbia jacket and some Warren Miller film crew kit, were given away. The guys from Nissan, the film's main sponsor definitely looked to have enjoyed the pre-film hospitality and cheered endlessly throughout the break.
... Like's There's No Tomorrow gets into the action pretty quickly with a trip to the Indian Himalayas. Big mountain skier, Lynsey Dyer and the renowned Alaskan heli-guide, Lel Tone, take us on a trip to these magical mountains. With true first descents on huge faces, followed by some sublime tree skiing, that wouldn't look out of place in a Japanese resort, whet the appetite. After taking on the huge lines and never-before-skied sections of the mountains, the girls head to the local resort of Gulmarg to showcase the country's basic, but dedicated skiing scene, while handing out a few tips to the locals.
Another standout section of the film was the trip to Andreas Hatweit's backyard in Sudndalen, Norway. The freestyle skier has built a world class park literally in his garden and the section includes a selection of top skiers, including Jossi Wells and Britain's James Woods, sessioning the park in day time and under flood lights. This is pretty nuts and needs to be seen to be believed. It definitely beats anything I've seen outside any seasonaire accommodation in the Alps!
The Monashee's section featuring the Yeti has to be my favourite. It starts with skier Andy Mahre declaring: "The key to life is to live each day like it’s your last day. If you’re sitting on the couch, you’re obviously not riding powder, so maybe you should get off the couch." The section that has Mahre and Tyler Ceccanti showing the insane powder, endless pillow lines and mouth-watering skiing to be had from BC's infamous Monashee Lodge. If the awesome riding isn't enough, there is also a subplot involving a yeti stalking Mahre and snaking his lines.
The Rahlves Banzai Tour is pure madness and nothing less. Imagine skier-cross with no rules and you have Banzai Downhill, essentially it's four skiers or snowboarders and the first to the bottom, crashes, shoves and cutting one another up is all part of the carnage. As described by one of the participants: "[you] go as fast as you can, down the gnarliest terrain that you can find and hopefully make it to the bottom." Brilliant.
The film ends on a mixed note with a trip to Alaska. The Alaska section starts with the Point North Heli-skiing family, describing their founders Kevin & Jessica Quinn, along with their new baby. The team then head into the Chegach Mountains with Seth Wescott, Tim Durtschi and Kip Garre, showcasing the incredible, steep, deep terrain on offer.
The section then turns into homage to Kip Garre, after informing the audience of his lost life in an avalanche last winter, the moving section showcases Garre's fantastic skiing and love of the mountains, along with Seth Wescott paying tribute to him. The section, and with it the film, is brought to an end with Wescott's quote, which is also the influence behind the title, " “It doesn't matter what’s going to happen tomorrow because you are living for the moment…and you are totally engrossed in it…and you are loving being there and being present like that. People who commit themselves to this lifestyle take advantage of it…like there might not be a tomorrow."
...Like There's No Tomorrow is about skiing with that in mind, instead of approaching each run thinking about what's next, it's about enjoying every minute on your skis and snowboard as if they are your last. Out of all the films I have seen this year, Warren Miller's latest offering is the one that has me pining for the mountains the most. I know I'll only have one trip this winter, but I'll be treating each day as if it's my last.
A new, regular feature from our in-house games master, Gale Van Rye, who talks about memorable skiing and winter sports games. This week: 1080 Snowboarding (N64, 1998).
In 1998, the PlayStation and N64 were just hitting their stride. Games weren't just developed by a nerd alone in a bedroom anymore, instead they were made by big groups of nerds — in actual offices. And it wasn't just nerds playing the games either, but also normal human beings.
The PlayStation already boasted Cool Boarders by this point, the first half-playable, full-3D snowboarding game. However, a rushed development cycle to release before the winter meant although an impressive start, it suffered from a lot of gameplay frustrations. Enter Nintendo, struggling to bring in third party developers and needing to fill the winter sports gap for the N64, they decided to make 1080 themselves.
Nintendo were known for cutesy classics, not beautifully-rendered, realistic, extreme sports games with heavy soundtracks. Yet, 1080 stood over its peers for the entire remainder of its generation.
You remember the details — your baggy hoodie rippling in the wind, stretching out your hand to balance on the ice patch whilst the orange sun sets behind the looming peak in the distance. Nintendo paid attention to the feel and it paid off.
1080 was tough — there's no question about that — landing a trick took practice, whilst falls and crashes were punishing. Yet, the game was rewarding after you mounted the steep learning curve. As you got better, the carving felt better. Finding the best shortcut downhill, then pulling off a stalefish 1080 on the final jump and landing with perfection was well worth the blistered thumbs.
Backed by Tommy Hilfiger and Lamar in-game gear, Nintendo released 1080 Snowboarding in 1998 to consistently high critical acclaim. It became the benchmark for snowboarding games thereafter and whilst snowboarding games went on to become much prettier and much more successful, the right balance of controls and skill hasn't quite ever been matched.
It's that time of year again when you go through all your old kit, deciding what to keep, what to repair and what to bin. Before torturing yourself by looking at all of this year's new stash. Whether you need some new skis, a new jacket or some new boots, you won't be able to keep your eyes away from the rest of the kit on offer.
With so much kit being launched at the moment, from HD helmet cameras to iPhone friendly ski gloves, I thought I'd start us off with what new kit is around this year that will make a family ski holiday a little bit easier, without being too hard on your wallet. Firstly, because anything that makes skiing with 2.4 children easier is a winner, and secondly, we don't all have £300 to spend on a GoPro camera.
The NipperGrip, does exactly as it sounds, it grips your nipper. The child ski-harness is a fantastic idea as it means you can let your little 'un loose on the slopes, while making sure they don't fall over, or ski off!
The NipperGrip was designed by parents, therefore they seem to have everything covered. The simple harness means you can pick up our children, should they fall, with ease and it also makes getting off chairlifts a much easier experience.
There are also detachable reins, which turn the NipperGrip into a kind of kids skiing-lead, meaning you can ensure they are skiing within a close distance and not racing off down the mountain out of control — or wandering off in busy resorts chasing after some random French dog.
All-in-all, this is a really simple idea, that's well executed and I won't be surprised if resorts are full of kids wearing them this winter.
The Ski-Walker is another great and simple idea, which makes carrying skis much easier. It is basically a handle that loops around your skis making them easy to carry. Now, this might seem like an obvious, yet somehow inconvenient idea. Well, it really isn't. The Ski-Walker is about the size of a Mars Bar — meaning you can stick it in those random pockets, half way down your salopettes, that you never use and are seemingly there for looks over function.
There really isn't anything to explain about how it works, but there is to why it's a great idea. First of all, carrying skis is a pain in the backside and this makes it much, much easier, second of all it gives you a lower centre of gravity, meaning walking around in treacherous ski boots will be much easier.
There is also the advantage for when you are skiing as a family, as you often have to carry more than one pair of skis. This makes it much more simple, as all you need to do is hold onto the handle, as opposed to balancing them over your shoulders in one hand, while keeping hold of your children in the other. Also, once the little mites are strong enough to hold onto their own skis, with their limited, child orientated common sense, they will find them much easier to carry the usual tangle of crossed skis, poles, hats, and goggles that you would usually encounter.
Now these two products may seem incredibly simple, but that's because they are. It's the simplicity that makes them such good ideas. Just think, the next time you are skiing with your three year old, you can walk to the slopes, carrying two sets of skis in one hand, a bit like carrying your shopping, with your little 'un essentially on a lead in the other hand. You get to the slopes, pocket the Ski-Walker, put your skis on, grab the reins and off you go again. As the old phrase goes, Keep It Simple Stupid, and a kiss is better than a smack in the mouth from a flailing ski!
NippedGrip are currently offering Iglu customers 20% discount as they liked the blog so much, all you need to do is quote IGLU1112.
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