Summer skiing … is it even possible? Yes!
Leave it to Sweetgrass Productions to dream up this mind-bending, feel-good summer skiing segment in their award-winning feature film Valhalla (available on iTunes). We have been eager to share this scene since we first saw it months ago. Today you can marvel at the beauty, style, creativity, and commitment that went into each shot. Below Nick Waggoner, one of our previous Adventurers of the Year, answers some questions about how they pulled it off.
Adventure: Where was this shot?
Nick Waggoner: This was all shot in the woods around Mount Baker, Washington. It’s one of the wettest areas on Earth, which makes the forest super lush and vibrant. Everything is covered in a thick carpet of moss and full of life.
A: How did you pull off summer skiing? What are we not seeing behind the scenes?
NW: The behind the scenes segment will come out next Wednesday, but to give everyone a sense, each feature took several days to build, involving shoveling snow into trucks, building jumps, and hitting them before they melt. All in all Mike and Ben spent two months filming this segment for a few minutes of end product. The Behind the Scenes cut is pretty damn hilarious.
A: Was this a labor of love?
NW: I think Ben and Mike would both say that it was a labor of love. You have to love it in order to put that many hours in. It’s incredibly tedious, but the drive comes out of pushing your own limits to see what you’re capable of, and I know they were both keen to see if the forest segment was even possible. I think the footage kind of speaks for itself.
A: How did the skiers respond to the challenge?
NW: I think we chose the right skiers for the job—Zack Giffin, Eliel Hindert, Karl Fostvedt, and Sander Hadley. They were all keen to try something new, believing in the vision, and willing to get over their fears of jumping in a pretty scary place, full of rocks, branches, and various objects that might impale or kill.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
A: Do you think summer skiing will ever take off?
NW: I think the kids will probably stick to tether ball.
A: What cities are left on your Valhalla tour?
NW: Our last official tour stop is tomorrow night in Boston, and the Powder Magazine Video Awards this Friday in Salt Lake City.
A: Where are you excited to ski this season?
NW: I’m excited for British Columbia deep winter, maybe some Japan, with a dash of springtime in Norway, maybe some alpine lines in Alaska early summer. We can dream can’t we?!