A Decade Of Powderwhores: BC Filmers Prepare to Turn 10

In 2005, brothers Noah and Jonah Howell released their first ski film, PW05, under the name of Powderwhore Productions. What PW05 lacked in high-budget heli flyovers, it made up for with soul, soul and shredding. Nine years later, they’re still skiing hard and making annual films that bleed the same spirit of their original flicks. And next year, the Howell brothers will release their tenth movie. I connected with Jonah and Noah at last week’s Outdoor Retailer trade show to talk storytelling, a packed travel season and what it’s like to be on the verge of celebrating 10 years.

The original Powderwhores: Noah and Jonah Howell. [Photo] Tyler Cohen

The original Powderwhores: Noah and Jonah Howell. [Photo] Tyler Cohen

Backcountry: So you’re celebrating a decade of making movies next year. How does that feel?

Noah Howell: We’re excited. It’s a big milestone and we never really thought we’d get here. We just take it one year at a time—we’ve thought about playing on the theme of 10, but we’re really not going to do a retrospective. We’re going to make something new.

BCM: Does being 10 years old scare you?

Jonah Howell: Yes. It’s crazy. I would never thing we’d be here. I don’t even know what to say about 10 years. It’s nuts.

BCM: Tell me about how your films have changed over the last decade.

JH: It’s a lot easier now. I think it’s a lot more fun and more relaxed. We have better story lines and are focusing on telling stories as opposed to just going skiing with athletes. I enjoy it now a lot more.

NH: It’s been a cool evolution. We haven’t found a formula. Through the years it was tele-based and Wasatch-centric, then we started traveling and incorporating other disciplines, and now we’re doing a lot more storytelling. It’s been cool to find new things to excite us and not just deliver the same thing every year. It just really flows and we’re along for the ride.

BCM: How have you seen the backcountry scene evolve as you guys have?

NH: It’s kind of like watching tele, how it wasn’t really embraced and then it got embraced. Now we’re seeing backcountry become embraced in a more mainstream way. It’s weird because it’s like your kid growing up. You feel like it’s yours—I mean, we’ve been doing this forever—and now we’re watching it become cool and trendy. It’s amazing how much it’s blown up.

BCM: What are you doing to stay cool and trendy?

JH: We’re not (laughs). We focus on not being that because there are plenty of trendy guys. We just really focus on doing what we want to do and what we’re excited about. We try to stay true to that and there’s an audience for it. It’s been really surprising and awesome that people want to watch what we like to do.

BCM: Any interesting stuff in the back pocket for year 10?

JH: We decided yesterday we’re going to go to Japan next week. Noah is going to British Columbia, and then we’re spending the month of April in Alaska with three or four different trips. We’ve got a lot on the plate right now.

NH: We’ve got a great hit list right now. We’re waiting for the snow to line up with certain locations, and we’ve got a bunch of fun, unique stories about stuff that hasn’t been revealed so much.

BCM: Anything else you want to add?

NH: If your readers have a title for next year’s flick, let us know.

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  3. Here’s a toast to the Howell brothers and the Powderwhore gang! I’m so proud of these guys and gals and their contribution to our community here in the Wasatch. When I take younger folks touring around the mountains, I can only dream of their love and dedication in the future. I taught them to share, and they sure have! When you love your mountains like we love the Wasatch, it only comes natural. Now that the ‘word’ is out, we need to make sure that nobody tries to get more than their fair share.
    I’ve lived near the heart of the Wasatch in a little hut for almost 25 years now, off and on. In all that time, only a few items have turned up missing. I’ve never been attacked by wild animals either. I’ve lived in their domain, uninvited, but I’ve never taken more than my fair share.
    Karma works. We can share if we try. I try to speak for the animal community since they have no other voice. This is their home. We should preserve all of it that we can. The pressure to develop it will only increase. The more wilderness we can save for future generations, the better off they’ll be. For humans and non-humans. It’s that simple.
    It’s kind of funny, but I feel like an endangered species, myself. From flying squirrels to the occasional bear to peace lovin’ ski hippies and every species in between, please preserve our homes. It’s the last of the wilderness that we can bequeath to the future.
    Peace, Love, Hope, Joy, Todd

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