Weston Snowboards to be featured in new film “Yugen;” local premiere is Friday in Minturn | VailDaily.com

Weston Snowboards to be featured in new film “Yugen;” local premiere is Friday in Minturn

Artists, chefs, musicians and hunters enjoy lunch in a yurt in central Kyrgyzstan, one of the settings for the new movie "Yugen," which makes its local premiere in Minturn on Friday, Oct. 5.
Jesse Levine | Special to the Daily

If you go …

What: “Yugen” movie local premiere

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5

Where: Blue Starlight Drive-In, Minturn, near Little Beach Park

More information: http://connectionsmovement.com

MINTURN — For snowboarders, the advent of the splitboard opened up a new world of possibilities.

Chilean mountaineer Rafael Pease made that discovery six years ago and set out to explore some of the hard-to-reach places of the globe that were once unattainable for snowboarders.

He documented his travels along the way, creating a project that took years to complete and blossomed into his life’s work.

That film, “Yugen,” is now complete and will make its local premiere in Minturn on Friday, Oct. 5, at the Blue Starlight Drive-in theater near Little Beach Park starting at 7:30 p.m. Pease will be in town for the event and will make a short presentation to kick it off.

“It’s not your typical big-production company snow porn,” Pease said. “It’s more of an experimental documentary that has a lot to do with mountain cultures in different parts of the world and environmental issues.”


Minturn is a fitting place for the film to make its local debut, as Pease is a team rider for Weston Snowboards, which is based out of Minturn.

Pease met Weston founder Barry Clark in Chile in 2013 and started riding for the company back then, before being courted by other brands. After riding other snowboards for a few years, Weston’s award-winning Backwoods splitboard lured him back.

“For the really deep stuff, I use Weston’s Japow,” Pease said. “But the Backwoods works for 85 percent of the terrain I encounter. It’s exciting to see Weston produce such a great board.”

Weston design engineer Ben Hilley said he had a feeling the Backwoods would quickly become Pease’s board of choice.

“The Backwoods is our best selling and most award-winning board,” Hilley said. “So it doesn’t surprise me that it’s the one favored by Rafa as he’s such an adept backcountry rider.”

Weston’s Backwoods splitboard received Backcountry Magazine’s editor’s choice award in 2017 and 2018, where it was praised for its playfulness.

“If you splitboard for fun as opposed to survival, go with the Backwoods,” reviewers wrote in Backcountry’s 2018 gear guide.

Hilley said Pease’s film will be a perfect showcase of the Backwoods, as the film takes viewers to such a wide variety of geography and terrain.

“It’s a season-long board, from the first big storms of winter to the last corn snow of spring and summer,” Hilley said.


Pease is currently studying environmental science and geography at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

He said his course of study has aligned well with the passion project that is “Yugen.”

“The film has a lot to do with ecosystems in the mountains,” Rafa said. “It’s more inspired by Discovery Channel documentaries than ski movies.”

While his education at CU influenced the film’s themes, creating “Yugen” has given Pease a robust education in filmmaking and distribution, as well. You’ll see him climb difficult faces and snowboard down extreme terrain in the movie, areas many people wouldn’t dare to explore, but Pease says that was actually the easiest part of creating “Yugen.”

“Making sure everything is legal, everyone has their camera equipment, media management, that stuff is pretty tough,” Pease said. “It gave me a big respect for the many grassroots, high production teams out there.”

No helicopters were used in the making of this movie.

“The snowboarding in the movie is 100 percent human powered, from mountaineering expeditions,” Pease said. “It’s the type of terrain where you go out for 10 days just to ride for 30 seconds.”

For more information, about “Yugen,” visit http://connectionsmovement.com.

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