THE X-TREME SPIRIT "REEL RADICAL TOO (II)": Skiing The North Face.
THE ACTION DOCUMENTARY
TREATMENT OUTLINE 16mm / Beta SP, 47,5 and 59,5 min.
In dedication to Trevor Petersen
Reel Radical and The North Face were two highly successful films released by Extreme Explorations and Adventurescope from 1987- 90. The films featured exploits by skiers such as Trevor Petersen and Eric Pehota, thus helping to launch their respective ski film careers. Other appearances included those of Sylvain Saudan and Scott Schmidt.The films are currently being distributed for television by Filmoption International which carries Extreme Explorations productions to international broadcasters in many countries. The Reel Radical 16mm motion picture print was also released theatrically at venues such as the Banff Mountain Film Festival . Home video distribution has been extensive through distributors in Canada, the US, Europe and Japan.
Extreme Explorations in association with Petersen Productions brings you the continuation and a natural sequel being THE X-TREME SPIRIT: Reel Radical Too (II), The North Face Skied (working title only). This film will chronicle the eternal quest for Ski induced Shamanism by three Whistler skiers, a new generation of fun seekers, Ptor Spricenieks, Troy Jungen, and Graydon Card. All three are devout skiers and Troy is an expert in all three multiglisse disciplines being; Snowboarding, Telemarking as well as Alpine Skiing. The picture is dedicated to Trevor Petersen and the spirit of extreme skiing, a sport he has set such high standards in for others worldwide. It is Trevorís spirit which remains as the main thread throughout the film as his lifestyle and spirit is now carried on by a new breed of backcountry skiing enthusiasts,.
The film opens with an unprecedented accomplishment but also with an equally great tragedy. Trevor Petersen perished on February 26th in Chamonix France in a freak avalanche incident. During the filmís opening, we see images from Trevor Petersenís memorial service. Simultaneously throughout the opening of the film, we learn that the North Face of Mt Robson has been skied by two Whistler skiers. Over the past fifteen years various mountaineers have attempted to ski the treacherous 57 degree, 3000 ft (800metre) face. (We examine the history through archival clips.)
The history of North American Extreme Skiing has indeed been long and colorful . We examine Trevorís own early history, his passion to excel in mountaineering through a chronology of films: Waddington Now - 1985, Mt Robson - 1987, The North Face and Reel Radical - 1991 (an archive of clips is viewed). We examine what it takes to ski a big face. Each time either weather, icy conditions or extraneous forces of bad luck have defeated their efforts. In short, Troy and Ptor have accomplished what many mountaineers have deemed as impossible. Relying on advice from past attempts and following the full moon good weather theory, they carry out the arduous three day approach to the base of the face, climb it and descend it on skis, documenting their adventure with still photos, no reporters or fanfare involved. The exact implications of their feat are stunning to the usual mountaineering world. Trevor Petersen had always been an inspiration to these guys and in a way they are the new generation of extreme skiers. They recall talking to him for advice as they left for Robson. Now fate has his friends skiing the mountain of his dreams.
Thus immediately, the picture sets a mood of reward versus the perils.
But who are all these men and what propels them to such mind boggling endeavors? One answer is - it simply is their passion. But if one just follows these characters almost naive and happy go lucky escapades around the globe, there seems to be almost a magical like quality to the good fortunes these lads have had along the way. The Dirtbag characters are not super athletes as far as mountaineering experience. What they have learned they attribute to experience and learning from the masters: such as Trevor Petersen.
They have developed mountaineering skills, often based on their respect for their predecessors. In certain ways Trevor played a role model in this belief. Other established climbers actually shun their Robson accomplishments and pass it off as just plain good luck. In contrast, to a great deal of other people, the team dirtbag ideology and their humble approach to doing things for the sake of doing it, rather than glory or fanfare that the end result may achieve, is the most important factor and something Trevor himself cherished. And that is their foremost quality. In a world where so much of todayís youth is searching for themselves, yet lacking the infrastructure of an organized movement to stand behind them , being a ski bum may appear as another form of escapism. There is none of that unifying vision or even a cause that unified the peace movement back in the 70’s. The Dirtbags claim, The mountains have given them something one can only experience for oneself. Tanya Reck, Trevors partner as well follows that belief. She will continue to backcountry ski.
Trevor Petersen, 32 was an accomplished mountaineer, ambassador to the sport of extreme skiing, a loving father, kayaker, safety expert. (entire bio is reviewed as well as clips from other work with kids, family, and footage from more recent work on the ALASKA feature)
Troy Jungen is a 27 year old Beaver Indian.He was actually the last person to see Trevor, almost going on the run with him. He claims that his preoccupation with skiing. probably comes from a Swiss father and the native status from his mum. He projects a certain aura of spirituality and calmness which goes in hand with his New Age beliefs. His good looks, long black hair and youthful appearance immediately install a rare feeling of confidence and a natural trust , a perfect beginning for a character study of the lad. His mischievous grin hides a wisdom gained from seeing and traveling through many mountain cultures. He prides himself in taking the time to merge within the society he may be in at the time.
Aged 28 ,Ptor Spricenieks, aptly nicknamed The Barbarian has been dubbed a crusading knight with a messianic gleam by one writer. And rightfully so, as Ptor travels the world now for the last eight years on a crusade to ski in the worldís offbeat places. His heritage is of Latvian parents. He is tall, handsome with long locks of light brown hair. Just recently, prior to Robson, Ptor has returned from a ski attempt of Nanga Parbat, an impressive 26,000 ft. (7,000metre) peak in the Himalayas of Pakistan. He recalls his experience on Mt Robson with an obvious awe for the mountain . Ptorís spiritual direction is dictated by deeper needs within. Instead he chooses not to follow the path with his skis this winter. Instead he headed south to surf, live more off the land. This seems as a strange concept to many who feel that he is missing in a career towards professional skiing. Ptor too has his own beliefs. Few would believe that he studied engineering at one time at a university in Ontario. More recently he has become a published writer always using a wealth of vocabulary which gives away an encounter with academics in his past. While in the Himalayas, Ptor strongly believed that drinking hydrogen peroxide released more oxygen into their system ??!! After all Mt Robson had set the stage for interest from the media, film makers and the ski industry in general.
But just as sponsors begin to take serious interest, Ptor unveils the news that he is heading south. Itís just that, I really donít want to be famous or make money from it, I just feel like shedding all my heavy winter gear for six months or so. He truly believes that existing in the material world is only a small transition to a much deeper and more important existence. He has followed the writing of Terrance McKenna with an eager zeal in a quest for spiritual knowledge. He plans to live and work for his keep in southern Costa Rica, getting closer to the ocean this time via surfing. Thereís an incredibly powerful rain forest and Itís supposed to be the best surfing in the country he throws the comment out with that impish grin again.
But behind Ptor, the barbarian, the viewers must also get a glimpse of his mom, a powerful link to reality, a frail Latvian immigrant with a strong accent and a presence behind her sonís escapades. While our characters relish on the ski bum image they have been pegged with, the BUM word is a degrading concept to Mrs. Spricenieks older world beliefs.
Graydon Card, aged 27 the third character, has accompanied Ptor and Troy on many of their exploits. Ones first impression of Graydon are his dread locks and the ZZ-top beard - a sure giveaway that this boy is not in the mainstream. Grady is an awesome skier with roots in Ontario. To sustain his skiing habits, Grady has worked in mining exploration in Canadaís far north. Occasionally he also known to mastermind huge keg parties in Whistler. The only way to silence the last one was for the BC Hydro people to actually cut of the power to their home, as complaints grew to an intolerable level.
It is with this spirit that skiers like Troy, Graydon and Ptor, armed with little money but more than adequate motivation, have traveled the globe naively at times, but somehow always making the best of their circumstances. They live in squatters shacks, snow caves and surf the couches, as Troy puts it, his terminology for being taken in by the many ranks of friends and acquaintances they have met on their travels. Their passion has taken them From India to Chile and from France through Alaska, just to name a few places en route. Some might say the guys live in a fantasy bubble of their own. One thing is for sure. These fellows most certainly live out of the system we are all accustomed to. They are perhaps the antichrists of the consumer driven system which most mere mortals are driven to depend on. Some shrug off the Dirtbags and their good luck on pure chance. Many others, who believe in spirituality and Karmic reward, insist that it is people like Troy, Grady and Ptor that reap the true rewards of life with one simple statement - what comes around, goes around. The film will examine both attitudes on the recently popularized New Age belief system. Although their antics may be seen as controversial by many, they continue living the dreams that others dare only fantasize about. In dire necessity they all do regular work which varies from pruning trees, mining exploration in the far Canadian north, to shoveling snow off rooftops.
Time is taken to examine Trevor Petersens own ways in making ends meet, having to take on logging jobs when the ski endorsements just were not enough.
While Ptor heads south, Troy and Grady have lined up an impressive array of locations on their skiing agenda. They want to pursue higher learning or a PHD in ski bumming, grins Troy who himself has been quite prolific having laboriously typed an entire twenty some page thesis on their exploits. We want to continue the learning process. This year, Troy scribbles, these projects would include premiere ski mountaineering descents, in the geographic locations, relevant to each master being studied with. December/January 95/96 it will be sessions with the likes of Peterson and Pehota, stars of original Reel Radical film in B.C. Here, they will undergo traditional expeditionary formats in the Coast Mountains of B.C. Most recently Troy has decided to take on a hands on approach to a few possibilities stemming from the Mt Robson. A major New York based ski publication is asking him for regular contributions to their own, recently created Dirtbag Website and the magazine. Trevorís sudden death leaves unanswered questions, feelings of loss despair in the ski mountaineering community
From January through March these guys will breeze through the European ski resort towns of La GraveÕ, Verbier and Chamonix. As the film crew meets Troy and Grady in Chamonix and La Grave, France, they also come in contact with Pierre Tardivel, Yannick Vallencant (son of late Patrick Vallencant) and Anselme Baud. It was in the spirit of these men that Trevor chose the life that he did lead. (background archival footage is examined).Thus THE SPIRIT LIVES ON is a film which travels to the places where Trevor Petersen visited just weeks before meeting his fate in the avalanche on Chamonix Couloir Cosmic. Interviewed in Chamonix are Anders and Pele, two Swedish skiers who come across Trevorís body two days later while skiing the Exit Couloir which spills out of The Glacier Ronde route to the same location as Couloir Cosmic.
The richness of characters concerned, complimented by breathtaking action and locations makes for a fantastic film for audiences of all ages and interests - It is a story of life and death and of dreams and passionsí coming true in the splendor of both tropical and mountain worlds.
I wish to end the film by creating more interest on mountain spirituality . In 1993 I had the honor of interviewing Dali Lama in Vancouver. The Pan Pacific Hotel in trendy Vancouver became a gathering resembling a Grateful Dead concert. I asked his highness why prophets from most of the worldís religions either had their visions, wrote their scriptures or destroyed them at higher elevations. Were they feeling closer to a god in the mountains? His highness seemed highly perplexed by the question but had no answer for this phenomenon. He finally said, in a child-like almost animated way: Perhaps itís because we can see both the sun going up and going down.
Whether it means going to the mountains with Troy or tropics as Ptor, Itís a journey so many of us deem as impossible to take, yet it takes only buying a plane ticket claims Grady . Are these guys living reality? What is reality asks Ptor. Help us make the film, maybe it will help you decide. The plans call for the different characters to meet for a paragliding session near Pemberton BC at the end of their respective Odysseys in August, 96. Here spectacular mountain flying footage will further exemplify their yearning for spiritual freedom.
The boys have already appeared in a number of films including Greg Stumps P-Tex, Lies and Duct Tape Extreme Explorations WHITEOUT SERIES, MULTIGLISSE TRAVERSE as well as some work in commercials. THE X-TREME SPIRIT, hence becomes a natural progression or continuation of the original North Face and Radical pictures filmed respectively five and nine years ago.