Ski film ‘Surface Tension’ soars high in local debut |

Ski film ‘Surface Tension’ soars high in local debut

Hunter Schleper, left, grew up in Vail, skiing and working in his dad's ski shop, Buzz's Boots and Boards. That's Buzz on the right.
Special to the Daily |

If You Go

What: Surface Tension, the first feature length skiing/adventure film from filmmaker and Vail native Hunter Schleper.

When: Monday, Dec. 30. Music 3:30 p.m., film 6 p.m.

Where: Vail Underground, 304 Bridge St., Vail Village

Cost: Free

Information: Surface Tension features several Vail locals and local pro skiers in a film produced by Hunter Schleper’s and Nick Szydlowki’s production company, Big Watab Productions.

VAIL — If you live like Hunter Schleper and his buddies, art really does imitate life.

Schleper and Nick Szydlowki, on of his friends from Minnesota, have spent years filming themselves and their buddies doing all sorts of adrenaline-inducing stuff.

The result is “Surface Tension: The Movie,” a 55-minute romp through the rarified air through which they fly.

“We wanted to depict the things we do every day. It’s not a bad way to live life,” Schleper said.


That means that in “Surface Tension,” you’ll see wakeboarding, skiing, snowboarding, sky diving, dirt biking, partying, skateboarding and anything else that gets their adrenaline pumping. One of clips is a world record wing suit skydiving event.

Schleper and Szydlowki filmed the whole thing. Besides those two, you’ll see Tanner Hall, a multiple X Games gold medalist; John Spriggs, a pro skier and Vail native; Taylor Seaton, a pro skier and Vail native; and lots of other friends and fellow thrill seekers.

“All the locals in the film are big name pro skiers. Some people would be star struck, but these were just my friends growing up,” Schleper said.

Schleper and Szydlowki grew up next door to each other on Big Watab Lake in Minnesota. When they were about 12 years old, they started filming some of their adrenaline antics, editing the video and posting them online.

Friends and family saw the video and encouraged them. Then other people saw them and took them semi-seriously.

Big Watab Productions: A LABOR OF LOVE

Schleper and Szydlowki started a production company and named their endeavor Big Watab Productions, after the lake they grew up on.

It’s an independent film company that puts the fun in fundamentals and almost everything else.

And it really is a labor of love.

“Instead of being in it to make money, we’re in it to show the fun side of it. If we happen to make money, that’d be good too,” Schleper said.


Schleper comes from a family of thrill seekers. His dad, Buzz Schleper, is a Vail fixture and launched Buzz’s Boots and Boards decades ago. His sister, Sarah Schleper, is an Olympian and competed with the U.S. Ski Team. His brother, Johnny Schleper, is a budding rock star and some of the music from his band, the MTHDS, is on the film’s soundtrack.

“Surface Tension” debuted last Monday at Vail Underground. Another screening is scheduled for Monday, also at Whiskey Jack’s.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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