Magee Walker

7 Hilarious Classic Ski Movies

More storylines. Fancier cameras. Steeper lines. Cooler effects.

The world of ski movies is changing a little more every year, and while we applaud innovation and can appreciate a good cutting edge ski film, sometimes you just want the classics.

You know the ones: they’re part dumb, part cheesy, but entirely funny. There’s no better anecdote to a rainy day/coming-down-with-the-flu feeling/hangover recovery session than to watch a few of these oldies but goodies back-to-back. (more…)

6 Videos to Remind You to Play Smart on the Mountain

Mother Nature is a fickle beast.

Hopefully, you’ve got good gear, strong skills, and—perhaps most importantly—a solid head on your shoulders. But when you’re hitting the mountains, always remember that compared to the terrain you’re on, you are very small and powerless.

Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, hiking, climbing, sledding, or snowshoeing, it’s important to stay humble on the mountain. The following videos aren’t the easiest or prettiest to watch, but they do a good job of reminding you about the powers of the mountain. Have a look at these sobering videos, and play safe, play respectfully, and know when to back off.

Getting Caught in Avalanche

The room went dead silent when my instructor played this video during my avalanche safety course. Unlike many avalanches, this one has a happy ending—but it’s still not an easy video to watch.

Avalanches are no joke—the entire face of a slope can wipe out from under your feet. Check out this snowmobiler avalanche clip (warning: some swearing involved—you’d probably swear, too.)

Tree Well Rescue

There’s no feeling like skiing trees on a powder day, but tree wells are super real and super dangerous. This video takes place in-bounds, proving that you don’t have to be a backcountry skier to be in danger. Always, always abide by the buddy system when skiing trees and never let your friend get out of your sight.

Losing Footing in Cliffs

You might not be skiing stuff as epic as this guy, but it proves an important point: one misstep can have major consequences. Beware of no fall zones, especially when you’re stepping in and out of gear.

Snowboarders, here’s one for you, too:

Falling into Creeks, Rivers, or Crevasses

This guy’s buddy is laughing, but it’s not so funny if that river is flowing, you fall face first, and/or you’re alone out there. Even when the snow is deep, holes are everywhere. (Warning: swearing)

Crevasses are a whole other beast to contend with. This guy survived due to some innovative thinking—but many aren’t as lucky.

Snowboarding is Better than Skiing, and Here’s Why

The age-old competition between two boards and one has been raging for decades. But the real question is, which is better? We have the answer right here. But if you don’t like this answer, be sure to check out the dark side’s argument.

Is your grandmother still giving you a tough time about being a snowboarder? While most people recognize that sliding down snow in any form, whether it be on one plank or two, is pretty awesome, there are still a few sticklers out there that insist that snowboarding is an inferior sport.

Don’t get mad—instead, feel bad. After all, naysayers only feel this way because they’ve never felt that euphoric sensation of snowboarding down a mountain in waist-deep powder. Here’s how you can educate old-schoolers about what makes snowboarding so fantastic.

We Worked Hard to Get Here
No matter how good you are at snowboarding, you probably still spent the majority of your first day on a snowboard on your butt. But you didn’t give up and resort to skiing—which, most would agree, is an easier sport to pick up. You bucked up to the challenge, put in your time, and honed a skill that definitely isn’t easy. Snowboarders are a tough breed.

Our Gear is Wonderful
There is not a single person on this earth who will argue that ski boots are more comfortable than snowboard boots. While your skiing pal struggles to squeeze his tootsies into his foot prisons, you’ll swagger on by in your snowboard boots that are almost comfortable enough to drive in.

But that’s not all—snowboarding basically requires one item: a snowboard. That’s a heck of a lot easier to tote around than two awkward skis and two even more awkward poles. Our stuff is cheaper, too. Take that!

We’re Inclusive
As a breed, snowboarders are generally a pretty friendly bunch. Many of us started off as skiers, so we hold no animosity in our hearts—we even rely on them for a cat track tug every so often. There aren’t any “snowboarder only” resorts out there, unlike those antiquated few ski-only resorts still kicking around that scoff at…well, we’re not sure what they’re scoffing at, but we feel bad that they’ll never know how fun it is to snowboard.

We’re Influencers
Snowboarding’s influence goes beyond our own sport: we’ve also helped revolutionize the world of freeskiing. Skiing has borrowed from our style and our gear technology—but that’s cool, because we like to share.

Things are Happening
It’s pretty wild to think that most of the guys and gals who pioneered this sport are still alive and shredding it up on their local mountain. Snowboarding is a relatively young sport, and the politics of the industry—though they aren’t always pretty—are pretty exciting to follow. There are a lot of people who are deeply passionate about snowboarding, and it’s great to witness the many changes taking place in our sport, whether it’s revolutionizing equipment or finally finding a competition format that works for everyone. It’s an exciting time to be a snowboarder.

There’s Nothing Else Like It
Yes, we have to pause to strap into our bindings. No, cat tracks aren’t always awesome. But there’s a certain freedom that comes with snowboarding that you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll feel it while you dance through the trees or surf along a glacier—and if you get just the right number of beers into your skier friends, they’ll reluctantly admit that snowboarding in pristine conditions looks pretty damn dreamy.

How to Pick Up During Apres in 6 Easy Steps

It’s been an epic day on the mountain, and now you’re enjoying a well-earned frosty cold beverage (and perhaps a pulled pork burger)…and, bonus, there’s an attractive person sitting a table away. Skiing really is the best.

It’s one thing to gawk at someone across a pile of nachos jamming out to EDM on some wireless headphones, but it’s another thing entirely to act upon it. So what do you do to land yourself a brand new skiing partner? We’re glad you asked.

Share a Table
You head to your favorite apres spot and there’s nary a free table in sight. That sucks…or does it? This is actually not such a bad scenario: just survey the scene. If you spot someone who catches your eye with an extra couple of chairs at their table, ask if they’d mind if you sat there—and offer to buy them a beer for their efforts.

The same works in reverse: if you’ve got a prime table, be willing to share your spare chairs. You never know who might come by.

Sit at the Bar
Better yet, skip the table altogether—the bar is where the real socializing happens. Just be sure not to end up in a sandwich between your two buddies. Speaking of that…

Less is More
It’s fun hanging out with a huge crew during apres, but if your goal is to meet people, stick to the buddy system. Too many numbers isn’t conducive to making friends in this setting. Remember: your group will start small, but the goal is to grow it.

Borrow Props
Look around you. The best apres spots have some kind of interactive element that you can use as an excuse to start up a conversation. Do they keep Jenga behind the bar? Is there an epic moose head behind your person of interest that you need to get close to for a photo op? Is there a shot ski that’s begging to be used, but you’re a person short? Use your resources wisely.

Go Old School
Back in the day, when a person saw another person that intrigued them in a bar-like setting, they would buy them a drink (or so I’m told). This hardly happens anymore, but when it does, it usually comes off as incredibly charming. Have your server deliver it on your behalf, or heck, just walk up and hand it over yourself. Ladies, this is equally awesome for you to do.

Try a Line
There’s no doubt about it: pick up lines are just a little bit lame. But sometimes, they actually work—especially during apres, when everybody’s having a good time and the questionable beer is flowing. Give these ones a whirl:

“Where did you ski today?”

“Are those next year’s goggles?” (bonus points if they reply with another Shit Skiers Say line)

“Skier or snowboarder?”

“Just a head’s up—your beacon battery might be low. It took me all day to find you.”

“Did you check out (insert awesome zone here) today?” (Proceed to swap epic stories)

“Nice moguls.”

“Did you hear the forecast for tomorrow?”

“Are you sponsored?”

6 of the World’s Best Snow Festivals

Picture yourself somewhere snowy—very, very snowy. There’s tons of terrain to shred and plenty of fellow snow sport enthusiasts to swap stories with. But it’s not all about the on-mountain action: there are concerts, films, and, of course, plenty of parties, too. Pack your portable power bank and get out of here!

The World Ski and Snowboard Festival
Let’s start the festival of all festivals: Whistler, British Columbia’s World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF). Whistler is known for some big mountain skiing and snowboarding, so it only makes sense that the festival is known for being larger than life.

Taking place every April, WSSF strikes the perfect balance between those last few powder days and some epic spring skiing. The conditions are usually perfect for the athletes competing, and they’re just as good for spectators watching on a nearby patio.

Aside from the skiing, snowboarding, and partying, there’s a cultural side to WSSF that you don’t want to miss out on. Events throughout the festival include an action sports photography competition, a time-limited ski film contest, and plenty more.

The Kootenay Coldsmoke Powder Festival
Time for another BC-based festival: the Coldsmoke Powder Festival takes place in February at the Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, BC—the powder mecca of the Kootenays. The Coldsmoke Powder festival features the usual athletic competitions, but also plenty of clinics and demos – expect to get a lot out of the weekend. And don’t forget to catch the Coldsmoke Film Festival opener. Ski movies… mmm!

International Freeski Film Festival
The International Freeski Film Festival (iF3) in Montreal, Quebec involves more ski film watching than actual skiing, but satellite events as part of the iF3 film tour take place in ski towns like Le Massif, Innsbruck, and Whistler, so it makes sense to include it. The festival features ski and snowboard films long and short; some are made my pros, others are produced my amateurs. There are features, web specials, and even entire ski film series’. This ones a must for ski film lovers, and the after parties are legendary.

Snowboxx is not your average music festival. Hosted in France’s Alpe D’Heuz, this is a huge party: ski the resort by day, check out the live music by night. Featuring open-air main stages, international DJ sets, and late nights out at the club, you won’t have any trouble getting your music fix. Just don’t party so hard that you miss out on the mountain fun, including Retro Olympics, mountain yoga, and the chance to ski the longest run in the world.

Altitude Festival
If you’re looking for an excuse to ski in Austria, this is it. The 2015 Altitude Festival takes place in Mayrhoffenn, Austria from March 23 to 27, and there’s definitely skiing, but the festival is centered around something different: comedy. Throughout the event, head to improv, stand up, and musical comedy shows that will knock your ski boots off. Comedy is officially the perfect apres.

Holmenkollen Ski Festival
If you fancy a different kind of ski festival, look no further than Norway’s Holmenkollen Ski Festival. It’s not a downhill skiing kind of event: the stars of the show are ski jumping and cross country skiing. This festival dates back to 1892 and is an awesome way to watch some of the world’s best athletes in their element.

And that, in short, is what goes down during the world’s best ski and snowboard festivals. If you’re a fan of sliding down the mountain on a plank or two, do yourself a favor: make a pilgrimage to one (or all!) of these festivals and celebrate the sport you just can’t get enough of.

7 Must Have Apps for Skiers

Personal trainer. Educator. Weather forecaster.

These are just a few roles that your phone can take on with the help of some pretty nifty apps. For skiers and snowboarders, a regular smartphone can pack a whole lot of punch—not to mention, keep you entertained on the gondola ride up. Especially when you have some bluetooth helmet speakers.

Your cell phone will never replace things like personal experience or an avalanche course, but we’ve found that these apps can enhance your skiing and snowboarding experience in a major way. Here are a few apps that are well worth the download.

Mountain Athletics
If you’ve got a few square feet of space and a set of dumbbells, you’re ready to embark on the 40 day dryland training programs outlined in the Mountain Athletics app.

Developed by The North Face, this app lets you pick your mountain-related fitness goal (resort skiing or backcountry skiing, for instance) and provides you with a daily training plan. The workouts pack a lot of punch and are incredibly easy to follow, with the help of videos and self-timers. Give it a download, and you’ll be quadzilla in no time.

Red Cross First Aid
When you’re in the middle of a medical emergency, the last thing you want to do is panic. This app is an awesome tool to have on hand: it guides you, step-by-step, through some common first aid scenarios (like severe winter weather) to help get you back on track. In non-emergency scenarios, you can brush up on your safety and first aid skills through other features on the app.

Impress your buddies with your knowledge of the local mountains with the PeakFinder app. Use the panorama feature to pick up the names of all the mountains surrounding you—the apps knows more than 250,000 peaks, so it’s probably got you covered.

Mammut Safety App
When it comes to avalanche safety, the more information you can get your hands on, the better. The Mammut Safety App offers some extra tools to help you make informed decisions on the mountain, including a clinometer, a compass, and an altimeter. It also provides updated links to avalanche bulletins around the world.

Ski Dice
Shake things up in the park—literally—with this ski dice app. Jostle your phone and the app will present you with a random trick to try. This is a good one if you find yourself doing the same old tricks over and over again, and will challenge you to become a stronger skier or snowboarder.

Ski Tracks
Are you one of those people who just has to know how fast they’re going, how many miles they’ve logged, and how much vertical they’ve skied? Ski Tracks was made for people like you: it uses GPS to track every run of the day, providing you with the stats you want and a handy map showing how much terrain you’ve tackled, among other features.

If you’re hitting up a new resort, forget the paper maps they hand out at the info—that thing will be soaked and ripped in no time at all. Instead, download iTrailMap. As the name suggests, it’s got digital trail maps for more than 750 resorts worldwide, so you’ll know exactly where you are, what you’re skiing, and where to go next.Skier in mountains, prepared piste and sunny day

Tech Meets Goggles

Once upon a time, skiers wore plain old sunglasses to keep the sun, snow, and wind out of their eyes.

Thankfully, ski goggle technology has come a long way since then. Companies are coming up with innovative ways to make their goggles better than ever before, whether that means making it easier to see in extremely tough conditions or building a mini computer into the lens, Google Glasses style.

If you are looking for something to go good with your wireless ski helmet speakers, here are a few of the ways that companies are taking ski goggles to the next level.

Oakley Prizm Lenses
Have you ever amped up the contrast in an Instagram photo and found that it looked way better? That’s kind of the idea behind Oakley’s Prizm technology, only it doesn’t just make your surroundings look prettier – it actually helps you see better.

You don’t know how much you aren’t seeing until you try a pair of these on. Depending on the weather conditions, you can switch between three lenses that will allow you to see every dip, bump, and shadow in fine detail.

The magic lies in the way light transmission is controlled through the lens: using color science, the lens filters your view to provide maximized contrast and enhanced visibility. These features are awesome for competitive skiers and backcountry enthusiasts alike.

Recon Snow2
Check out a pair of goggles with Recon’s Snow2 and you’ll notice something different: there’s a little web-cam looking device in the corner of the lens. This mini computer can provide you with a ton of info, requiring only a quick glance on your end.

For starters, it’ll give you the lowdown on your performance: your speed, vertical descent, distance logged, airtime, etc. You can also connect it to a heart rate monitor to track that, too. Sync it to your smartphone and you can scroll through texts and e-mails while you’re waiting on the chairlift.

You can find Recon’s Snow2 technology in Oakley’s Airwave 1.5, its first model with new partner Garmin.

Smith Optics’ Turbo Fan
Goggles are supposed to help you see – so when they fog up, it can be extremely frustrating. When it comes to anti-fog technology, Smith Optics has always been ahead of the curve. Arguably, their most creative innovation is the Turbo Fan: there are actually tiny micro-electronic fans inside the goggle. The fans help keep air circulating through the goggles, keeping moisture at bay. You can choose to run the fans on a continuous low setting, or to use the high setting to clear things up quickly after a particularly sweaty run.

Interchangeable Lenses
Sometimes, the best innovations are the simplest. Interchangeable lenses are the perfect example: switching out lenses to match the conditions just makes sense.

Plenty of companies have jumped on board the interchangeable lens train, including Dragon, Electric, Oakley, and Smith. Each has their own little particularities, namely the ease of which you can switch between lenses. Smith’s I/O series are relatively easy to maneuver, but Oakley’s Airbrakes are foolproof: you can swap lenses even while wearing the puffiest of mittens.

Photochromic Lenses
Those hybrid reading glasses/sunglasses that changed tint, depending on the environment, were always a little dorky – but when it comes to technology, photochromic lenses suddenly make a lot of sense.

Instead of switching out lenses, photochromic lenses self-adjust in only a few seconds based on the present conditions. Both Smith and Julbo produce good photochromic lens options.

by Magee Walker

6 New Ski Movies You Need to Watch This Winter

Here’s an idea for inducing ski season stoke: throw on some sweatpants, round up a couple of ski-fanatic buddies, and spend a few hours taking in the freshest crop of ski movies. There’s no better way to get pumped on the season ahead.

In recent years, ski movies have evolved in a major way. Though Alaska still reigns supreme, ski films are starting to showcase off-the-beaten path and unconventional locales. The athletes themselves – their words, their personalities – are coming into the spotlight, while segments are weaved together using a plot or some kind of storyline instead of random pow shots. The days of pure snow porn seem to be numbered.

The ski films of 2014/2015 do a great job of blending old styles with new. Here are few standouts well worth checking out.

Pretty Faces
For far too long, women have taken the back burner in the ski film industry – really, in the ski industry as a whole. Pro skier Lynsey Dyer decided that the awesome female skiers deserved a little more screen time, and Unicorn Picnic’s Pretty Faces was born to address this problem. The film celebrates women in the sport in a fun, non-preachy way, yet the message comes across loud and clear.

The Little Things
As with Pretty Faces, The Little Things is a snowboard movie with a cause. Spearheaded by pro snowboarder Marie-France Roy, The Little Things takes a look at how some of the industry’s top athletes – think Jeremy Jones and Gretchen Bleiler – are addressing their environmental concerns through the sport. This film is heavy on the interviews, but also heavy on the powder.

The third film of Jeremy Jones’ trilogy takes a raw behind-the-scenes look of the life of a pro snowboarder. Higher showcases the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of being a professional athlete, including the risks that come along with the job – and the rewards, too.

Almost Ablaze
If you’re eager for a film that’s heavy on the skiing but light on the mood, check out TGR’s Almost Ablaze. This is the one to watch the night before an epic day on the mountains – it’ll get you pumped in a big way. The steeps are insane and the powder is perfection. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to have an entire resort to yourself after an unprecedented snowfall… well, you’ll have to watch to find out.

Sweetgrass Productions’ Valhalla was a surprise star of the 2013/2014 season, and their follow up number Afterglow is just as impressive – though only a fraction of the length. Afterglow clocks in at about ten minutes, making in the perfect between-feature-film interlude. Shot entirely at night, this film uses lighting in a way that makes skiing look like a totally different (but still amazing) sport.

Days of My Youth
We cap our list off with Days of My Youth, a classic MSP film that tackles some heavy themes in a fun way. Centered around the lifelong relationship that skiers have with their sport, Days of My Youth features a stacked roster of athletes working their magic in less-than-optimal conditions – the film was shot over the past two years, which haven’t been stellar for snow.

By: Kate Walker