Today, I thought, was going to be a normal day, I’m not having the best time being away from the mountains; I need my fix some how. However on Netflix I saw under the Sports section- “Steep”.
This is without doubt one of the best ski movies I have ever seen. First off, for me its not about skiers or snowboarders and separating them, it is about mountain passion, a mountain spirit. This movie empowers and excites for both groups. Steep has reignited a feeling of longing for the mountains that I thought I could dull for the summer but I think my reaction when watching the movie was proof I will never live the life I thought “regular functioning adults” live. I will never get up at 7am for anything other than first lifts, I will never work in an office for anything other than video editing or weather checking, I will never drive a car for anything other than driving to another mountain or look at a map for anything else other than planning a route; but this is okay. The world needs hard workers to make the world go round and in one way, they allow me to be the way I am. For every ten “9am-5pmers” there will be one mountain goat who lives on a penny in penny out system and is always looking the next thrill.
Steep covered so many crucial and life or death points that make a big mountain skier and snowboarder; what inspires us, what moves us and what pushes us to the physicals limits of what is possible.
I don’t want to ruin the structure of the movie for you as I will say nothing other than you MUST SEE IT. You will learn about the pioneers of the Freeride world; the creation of Ski mountaineering and popularisation of back country riding by the people who made the records, broke them and created new heights for the likes of my friends and I to dream about.
Although every single character in this movie moved me in one way or another, the people who inspired me the most would be: Doug Coombs, Stefano De Benedetti, Bill Briggs and Ingrid Backstrom. They represent the spirit of Freeride, the constant quest for something new, something more stimulating. This is what it is all about. For anyone who has ever ventured to the off-piste with out ALL the equipment, with out the knowledge and most importantly without respect for the mountain, I say to you, watch this movie and learn from the masters about what beauty can come from the back country but also what horror, if you don’t treat these majestic, living and breathing mountains with the respect they have rightly earn’t! Sadly so many modern day hero’s, Coombs to name but one have lost their lives to the power of the mountains, there gallant efforts and sense of adventure testament to this ore inspiring world we live in.
They speak about the gradure of Mont Blanc which for me was so close to home, to hear them speak so passionately and joyfully about this, Europe’s highest peak and on the mountain I have called home for so many years made me think I could not imagine a better place to live. I have done Seasons in Pila, Courmayeur (the Italian side of the Mont Blanc) Cervinia and spent time in Champoluc and Gressoney; the Valle D’ Aosta has an abundance of incredible terrain to explore and now so many years on after the first exploration of say, The Matterhorn 150 years ago or indeed Benedetti’s daring ascent to Aguille Du Midi, the backcountry is accessible and achievable. Transceivers, Shovels, Probes and Maps at the ready everyone, winter is not far away.
If I get nothing other than spending my adult life along side incredible people like Backstrom, Coombs, Benedetti and Briggs, in the mountains then I would pass a happy being.