First Look: Powderwhore’s “Elevation”

“There’s the act of skiing, but then there’s the whole act of discovery,” Andrew McLean says in the opening segment of Powderwhore’s new film, “Elevation.” He’s sitting beside an expedition tent below massive Alaskan peaks in the Ruth Amphitheater, deep in Denali National Park, and snow conditions aren’t quite cooperating. “There’s just this sense of exploration that you can’t get anywhere else,” McLean adds. And that statement holds true for much of “Elevation.”

Noah Howell gets elevated. [Photo] Jonah Howell

Noah Howell gets elevated. [Photo] Jonah Howell

Powderwhore Productions breaks ground with their ninth film, going beyond their Wasatch home to places like the Lutheran religious retreat at Holden Village, Washington and the pink-lit faces of Alaska’s Tordrillo Mountains. Their story telling goes deeper than typical ski-flick banter, and stays comical with interspersed, bizarre “Backcountry Rules” from Bob Athey, the Wizard of the Wasatch. Equally odd but completely compelling is the segment on brothers Andy and Jason Dorais, and their speed ascents of the Grand Teton and Rainier. Yes, they’re skiing skinny skis and wearing tight pants, but their feats are damn impressive. In other segments, powder is plentiful, lines are steep, and the action is first rate.

Ian Provo, Tordrillo Mountains, Alaska. [Photo] Noah Howell

Ian Provo, Tordrillo Mountains, Alaska. [Photo] Noah Howell

“Elevation” lacks a mega budget and heli flyovers, but makes up for it with soul and interesting stories. It’s a broad, all-inclusive look at the backcountry community, and anyone who owns skins will feel welcome in the Powderwhore fold. As Bob Athey says, “Don’t follow any written rules you’ve got. Remember, in the backcountry, there are no rules.”

For tour dates and more on “Elevation” visit powderwhore.com/tour.

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