“Valhalla” a Sweetgrass Productions Film – Paramount Theater Denver

Went down to the Paramount last Friday for some stoke. Hit up the pre party at Patagonia first and I have to say it was good to see my snow friends. Ever notice that you have snow friends and not snow friends. It will be good to hang with them once the snow starts flying again. Check out my review below.

Also check out their website at www.sweetgrass-productions.com

Sweetgrass Productions’ VALHALLA – Trailer 1 from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.

Every year it begins anew. The longing for snow begins smoldering in the hot sweaty days of summer. It usually starts once the boards get put away in August after skittering across the last remnants of last winter’s bounty. This longing grows more intense as the evenings get cool and the days are no longer unbearably hot. We were just starting to get to this place last week. The ski magazines had begun to arrive in the mailbox and the plans for this fall were already beginning to take shape. Plans for which season pass were being discussed, and then the rains came. They came and they didn’t stop. They came and washed away dreams and lives here in Colorado. Boulder especially has been hard hit. This community of mountain loving people is home to many of the companies that make our days in the mountains possible, or at least more enjoyable. Havoc has been wrecked on their home. If you can do something to help please make it happen.

With friends along the Front Range weighing heavily on my mind I made plans to go see my first ski movie of the year. Date night would hopefully be a respite from the madness that was befalling our beloved Colorado.

From the moment I walked in the door I felt at ease seeing my snow people. Old friends from harm’s way that I haven’t seen since the snow last flew greeted me as if it had just been yesterday; as if the powder was still caked to our beards and the capillene was still stinky from the vert that we had climbed. It was a feeling of pure comfort to be among my snow people again. With my mind at ease, I found myself looking not at the pain of today but looking towards the pleasure of the winter and the days of powder to come.

We left the pre-party at Patagonia and walked up a surprisingly busy 16th Street Mall. Once inside the theater more of my snow people greeted me. Our little tribe had reassembled for the good tidings of winter’s past. All the great days necessary to make a ski film combine into few hours of escape, a glimpse of a  place we all want to be. This thing called ski porn is really a distillation of a season’s most precious moments. Present these in a theater or a living room among friends and live the dream for a few moments. It really helps one get through until the snow flies again. However this year and this week and this moment in Colorado considering the gravity of what was happening it really became the embodiment of hope for this skier.

The experience opened with Sally Franklyn speaking of her struggles to regain her life. The hope and strength to overcome her accident was beyond admirable. I wish her all the best and hope the path that she’s on becomes easier for her one day. It puts into perspective the fragility of our lives. Sally you inspire me to never give up.

The movie was unlike your usual entry in the ski porn genre. This film has a story, and characters and a plot and even love. Not just love of powder but it has an actual love story. To me the freedom of the winter begins on the road and true to form this story is about a journey. I journey of one soul into a place where perfection exists in the falling flakes. This is a journey to a people of like minds. They just happen to rip snow, amazing snow with grace and wild abandon. Pillows are the rule in the land of Valhalla. Fluffy and forgiving I was struck by the clarity of the camera work and the cleanness of the edits. But alas all things are cyclical and this place of snowy utopian synergy can only last so long.

The journey continues as the snow melts in Valhalla, to a land of spines and bigger lines. I saw so many places I’d love to ski. So many lines that completely inspired me. I need to go to this place. I want to go where the snow is. Then once again the cycles are coming into play and the following scene took my breath away. The imagery in this film is awesome. The playfulness of the camerawork is really cool. The “effects” will make you scratch your head for hours after you leave the room. And then a love is born.

Having spent many years in the Dead scene I felt right at home with the imagery in Valhalla. It oozed a utopian charm that can really be called hippe-style, but just summing it up as this is too simplistic of what they were trying to portray. I believe the message Sweetgrass was try to get across was that we need to slow down and appreciate our tribe. The people that we love are the people that make us who we are. For us skiers I’m referring to our snow people. You know the one’s I’m talking about, the one’s that know the friendship is real. It doesn’t matter when the last time you saw them was as the conversation just picks right back up where you left it.

I walked out of the theater feeling refreshed. Images of powder danced in my head. I wasn’t thinking about the pain going on in my part of the world. There was only hope in what the new season would bring. Tomorrow, today is yesterday. I feel inspired.

Looking forward to seeing this one again. You should go see it for yourself, it’s really good. Check their website to order a copy or find a show near your.

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