Ski porn: Best 2016 ski films from Level 1, MSP, Sweetgrass and Warren Miller | VailDaily.com

Ski porn: Best 2016 ski films from Level 1, MSP, Sweetgrass and Warren Miller

Phil Lindeman
plindeman@summitdaily.com

Editor's note: This is the first part of a two-part series on 2016-17 ski and snowboard films from across the world. Pick up a copy of the Vail Daily on Sunday to read about this year's snowboard films.

There's no tactful way to say this: I've never watched a ski film from start to finish. I prefer to spend winter on a snowboard, so I prefer to spend the aching weeks between first snow and Opening Day catching up on snowboard videos.

It's not like I'm totally in the dark. I've seen snippets of plenty ski-only ski films — Warren Miller is a different breed — and I enjoy them well enough. They just don't do it for me, kind of how powder skiing on two sticks just doesn't compare to powder slashing on one. Trust me, skiers. It's as fun as it looks.

That said, don't let my preferences turn you away from this roundup of 2016-17's new ski films. I got just about all of the big hitters in there, plus the latest free offering from Sweetgrass, the production house behind the neon night riding in "Afterglow." This is the season of statement movies, from climate change to ski-industry greed, and skiers are doing it better than just about anyone.

"Here, There and Everywhere" | Warren Miller

Athletes: Vail Valley skier Chris Anthony, JT Holmes, Jeremy Jones, Seth Wescott, Jess McMillan, Ingrid Backstrom, Marcus Caston and more, with narration by Olympian Jonny Moseley.

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Nutshell: The man himself gets behind and in front of the camera for the 67th film documenting all the weird, wild stuff people do on snow.

Breakdown: When's the last time Warren Miller got in front of the camera in a film bearing his name? I had no idea, but I can't remember seeing him recently. After a quick round of internet research, I learned it's been 12 years, and that's why this one is so special. The 92-year-old legend gives a lively interview in "Here, There and Everywhere," the 67th film from his production company, and it comes close to outshining everything else. That's saying a lot for a full-length film with fat biking, backcountry snowmobiling, dog-sledding and hill-climb racing, plus the mandatory skiing and pond-skimming.

"For the first time in a dozen years, we are thrilled to return to the screen with the support and inclusion of the patriarch of winter stoke, Warren Miller," managing director Andy Hawk said in a release. "This year's project has been an incredibly rewarding opportunity for the athletes, film crew and staff who were able to work directly with him again."

Watch it: There will be three showings of the film at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25; 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26; and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26. Tickets are $19, and Anthony will be in attendance to introduce the film, give away fun stuff and represent his Colorado-based Youth Outreach Program. Can't make the local shows? Additional screenings are being held all over the state in November and early December; visit http://www.skinet.com/warrenmiller/events.

"Pleasure" | Level 1

Athletes: Will Wesson, Sami Ortlieb, Tanner Rainville, Wiley Miller, Laurent DeMartin, local boy Ethan Swadburg and more.

Nutshell: Level 1 meets up with a massive group of globetrotting pros for backcountry, urban and park riding, from India and Japan to Alaska and Washington, D.C.

Breakdown: In the follow-up to 2015's "Small World," Denver's Level 1 and director Josh Berman put out yet another stunning collection of ski footage from just about every freestyle and big-mountain name in the book. The 53-minute film visits a whopping nine locations, including oddities such as Washington, D.C., for a concrete-heavy urban segment and Gulmarg, India, for a taste of backcountry in the heart of Asia.

Keep your eyes open for Dillon resident Ethan Swadburg, a Team Hawks freeski alum and winner of the 2016 Aspen Snowmass Freeskiing Open. He also won Level 1's latest "Superunknown" competition, and with good reason: He slays the backcountry booters with pleasure in "Pleasure."

Watch it: Available on iTunes ($12.99), Vimeo SD ($12.99) and Vimeo 4K ($19.99), or on a two-disc DVD ($27.95) online through the Level 1 website at http://www.level1productions.com. Also on the website, click on "Events" for upcoming screenings in Fairplay, Keystone and Steamboat.

"Jumbo Wild" | SWEETgrass

Nutshell: Sweetgrass sets aside the neon lights for a sobering eco-documentary about the contested Jumbo Glacier Resort in British Columbia.

Breakdown: In "Jumbo Wild," the guys behind "Valhalla," the philosophical snow film with the naked skiing segment, and "Afterglow," the one with all the trippy backcountry night skiing, get serious for a 59-minute film about Jumbo Glacier Resort. It's the ski industry paradox in a nutshell: Is year-round skiing on a glacier with the longest continuous drop in North America — 5,627 vertical feet, plus 13,900 acres of accessible terrain — worth building a brand-new resort, chairlifts and parking lots smack in the middle of protected land? The question brings to mind the wilderness debates in the United States, only in the heart of B.C.

Sweetgrass definitely has an angle, but the producers and director build a convincing case.

Watch it: View the 7-minute trailer online, a short film in and of itself, at http://www.sweetgrass-productions.com, or buy or rent the hourlong feature film on Vimeo ($3.99 rent, $7.99 buy) or iTunes ($4.99 rent, $7.99 buy).

"Ruin and Rose" | Matchstick Productions

Athletes: Mark Abma, Sammy Carlson, Markus Eder, Zack Giffin, Sander Hadley, Russ Henshaw, Eric Hjorleifson, Lukas Joas, Sean Jordan and more.

Nutshell: One of the oldest filmmakers in the business keeps it going strong with a film that's half ski movie, half climate-change documentary.

Breakdown: After 22 years, Matchstick Productions of Crested Butte is making its voice heard in the climate change debate. It's not the first time winter filmmakers have commented on global warming — Warren Miller partnered with the The Climate Reality Project in 2012 — but few films have toed the line between ski porn and statement like "Ruin and Rose." It pairs backcountry footage from snowy locales such as Switzerland, France, Alaska and British Columbia with the apocalyptic images from Africa's Skeleton Coast in Nimibia. Like the title promises, the message hits home in an artsy way.

Watch it: "Ruin and Rose" comes to the Riverwalk Theatre in Edwards on Thursday, Nov. 10; check skimovie.com/tour for showtimes and ticket prices, as they're available. The film also will screen at Warren Station in Keystone on Saturday, Nov. 5, as a fundraiser for Team Breckenridge and Team Summit Colorado. Tickets are $10 to $15 online under the "Events" tab at http://www.warrenstation.com.