Detective Douglas on the hunt in MSP’s latest 

Roundhouse Lodge hosting The Hit List premiere

What: The Hit List (film premiere)

Where: Roundhouse Lodge, Whistler Mountain

When: Thursday, Sept. 15, gondola loads at 7 p.m.

Tickets: $10

Autumn is upon us. The leaves are turning yellow. The kiddies are heading back to school. The bikini babes are migrating from the shores of Rainbow Park. And a new crop of ski, snowboard and sled flicks are coming to town.

Premiere events will be a dime a dozen over the next few months. Most will use the word "premiere" to signal the first public screening in Whistler. Such events usually take place at a bar, offering a little pre-season stoke factor to an otherwise regular night out on the town.

Matchstick Productions (MSP), however, is going above and beyond the bar with a world premiere screening of its latest film The Hit List at the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain on Thursday, Sept. 15.

The Colorado-based production house, which also unleashes Freeride Entertainment’s New World Disorder mountain bike films on the world, has been grinding out high-octane ski films such as Ski Movie, High Society , and last year’s Yearbook since 1998.

Traditionally, the MSP films have premiered in Aspen, Colorado. However, the acquisition of Whistler-Blackcomb as a title sponsor for the 2005 Matchstick Movie Tour shifted the focus north this year.

In addition to the sponsorship deal, moving the premiere to Whistler made sense in other areas, tour manager Steve Reska said. A healthy contingency of MSP’s cinematographers and star athletes, such as Mike Douglas, Mark Abma, Hugo Harrisson and Sarah Burke, call Whistler home, and Whistler/Northwest Coastal B.C. locations have figured prominently in most of the MSP catalogue.

Those familiar with that catalogue have come to know MSP for more than depictions of powder carves and super-park trickery. The films usually launch with humourous themed opening sequences that have grown more elaborate as each year’s film tries to top the previous year’s effort.

Yearbook set the bar high with the ensemble riders each given a stereotypical high-school persona. According to Reska, this year’s intro is more of a cloak and dagger affair with Whistler’s Mike Douglas in a starring role as a detective character on the hunt to take down Shane McConkey and apprehend the skiers on his "hit list."

Intro plotline aside, the meat of the film will be more of what people have come to expect from MSP, with a greater emphasis this year on describing locations, offering answers up front to the common query "where is that!?"

"It’s a very location-driven movie with a lot of great dialogue and interaction with the athletes, with them explaining what it’s like to be where they are and what they’re doing," Reska said. "A lot of times it’s just music and action. This year there’s more of a storyline behind it."

The Hit List’s standout segment revolves around Lake Tahoe, Reska said, where a banner year allowed many American riders to reap lines in their own backyard that they normally have to travel to find.

"They had a huge winter," he remarked.

And while last winter in Whistler would be described as anything but "huge," 2005-06 is a new year, full of possibility. Watching a brand new ski film at the top of the world will definitely begin to stoke the fires of passion for powder. Save a front row seat for Ullr.

Tickets for The Hit List premiere are $10, including gondola access, available in advance from Helly Hansen and the Whistler Activity Centre. The gondola will begin loading at 7 p.m. for the event.

To watch a teaser of The Hit List go to

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