In the late ’80s and early ’90s, ski films meant big hair, Iron Crosses and rock music. And Greg Stump was the master of them all. The New York Times called Stump “a maverick film maker in the ski business,” and The Atlantic wrote, “Stump… does not make G-rated, safe-and-sane ski travelogues with elevator music. What he does make are wildly original, nonstop ski action films with comic and dramatic subplots and original scores.” In 1988, Stump recruited Mike Hattrup, Glen Plake and Scot Schmidt for his latest film, and the rest is history.When Stump’s Blizzard of Aahhh’s came out, stoke levels sky rocketed. Known by many as one the greatest ski films of all time, the flick featured Hattrup, Plake and Schmidt shredding the silver screen like never before. Plake hit 98 miles per hour on the Les Arcs speed-skiing course, and the three skied near-vertical chutes and hucked dubious cliffs.
A year after the release of Blizzard, Stump pumped out License to Thrill, a cult classic. The film’s soundtrack, featuring the fusion rock and club beats of Nasty Rox, Inc., was almost good enough to stand alone. Augmenting the tunes were Kevin Andrews and Kim Reichhelm who joined Hattrup, Plake and Schmidt as the fivesome ripped from Blackcomb to Jackson Hole.
For the next 10 years, Stump churned out ski films that, with their steep skiing, raucous soundtracks and wildly appealing portrayals of the skier lifestyle, captivated generations of skiers. And as for Hattrup, Plake and Schmidt, the dream hasn’t died. Plake spends his winters in Chamonix, and Schmidt, now 53, remains on The North Face’s sponsorship roster. As Hattrup, who has guided all of the world and works for K2, put it in Issue 62, “As a skier, you peak in your late 20s or early 30s. But as a guide, if you can live through all the stupid things you did in your 20s, then you can continue to improve your navigation, weather, forecasting, first-aid and snow safety skills for years to come.”
We’re working toward publishing our 100th issue and celebrating 20 years of Backcountry Magazine. Can you believe it? Well, since we all can’t put our beers together with celebratory cheer, we’ve unearthed early editions of the mag, dug through them and pulled stories, photos, quotes, gear relics and more for your enjoyment. —The Editors