Havell Appears in Solitaire, Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. at Outsideonline.com
The ski film industry has experienced a major shift in recent years. It used to be mostly “ski porn,” repetitive footage of skiers and boarders catching air or charging down difficult terrain, set to throbbing, loud music. Lately, though, ski films have been elevated to a cinematic art form. Solitaire, Sweetgrass Production/Nick Waggoner’s latest film, is a great example of this new school of ski films—artistic, soulful and with breathtaking cinematography. Solitaire has been earning critical praise and lots of awards and recognition for its beautiful portrayal of backcountry skiing, and if you haven’t seen the film yet, you can watch it for free online tonight.
If you do watch it, you will catch Telluride’s Kim Havell. (Havell, a longtime Telluride local skier, realtor and search and rescue volunteer, recently moved to Utah to facilitate her new career as a professional skier.) Havell and 30 other prominent skiers and snowboarders are featured in the film, which took filmmakers nearly two years to shoot, traveling on foot, horseback and skis between some of the most desolate mountains in South America. It is truly a unique, arthouse-type film; Waggoner and fellow filmmaker Zac Ramas used no mechanized transport to make the movie, even using paragliders to shoot aerial footage, and the only narration is Joseph Conrad reciting passages from his Heart of Darkness novel in Spanish. After the screening, you can chat live here with Waggoner and skiers Kim Havell and Stephan Drake.
No doubt the ski film industry owes much to festivals like Telluride Mountainfilm and Banff Mountain Film Festival and the IF3 (International Freeski Film Festival). These now-ubiquitous celebrations of outdoor films have inspired new generations of adventurers, filmmakers and cinematographers to hone their craft, and films like Solitaire are the end-product.