September 15, 2011 Features & Images » Feature Story

Lights, camera, passport 

Whistler's growing winter-sport film industry shows off the best in talent and terrain... but the question for the ultimate shot requires tenacity, creativity and thousands of air miles


After a week without showering your baselayer starts sticking to your skin. Not just in the crotch and armpits either, that happens earlier on.  By day six or seven you can actually feel the clothes fusing onto your body, the polypropylene so gummy with dead skin and sweat it becomes hard to tell where the flesh ends and the fabric begins. Merino wool is a bit better, at least the smell washes out, but a week into any big backcountry journey or run-and-gun road voyage and there is no avoiding the obvious - you stink.

Of course, the stench often means you're somewhere deep in the wild where the snow is dry and the adventure is ripe.  Somewhere up north, or far east, or on the other side of the world riding untracked powder into the gaping maw of a volcano crater. And doing it all on someone else's dime.

For Whistler's pro skiers, snowboarders and filmmakers the putrid odours, itchy scalps and crotch rot are just part of living out of a board bag and travelling the world chasing big storms, fresh terrain, and that ever-elusive money shot.


" The more you travel the more you see we are all connected to the same issues."

That's a quote from the new Sherpas Cinema film All.I.Can. And while I doubt they're talking about soiled underlayers we'll find out for sure on September 23 at the premier of All.I.Can. , a ski flick two years and thousands of airmiles in the making.

The Sherpas are one of over a dozen ski or snowboard film companies based out of the Sea to Sky. Originally from Calgary, the Sherpas keep a high-functioning editing studio/company headquarters/place to store their surfboards and make their movie magic in Function Junction. With the last decade's rise of digital cameras, computerized editing, and the Internet, Whistler has seen a huge increase in the number of ski and snowboard companies setting up homebase here.

"There is just such a huge resource of talent here," says Sherpas producer Malcolm Sangster.

When organizing film shoots and trips it's nice to have everyone start from the same place.

"We mostly work with athletes who ski for the companies we partner with and 80 per cent of those skiers live here. Being close to Vancouver also helps," Sangster adds. "They have good film resources there but mostly, it's just that Whistler is just such a beautiful place to be. When you can bike to work, that's always good."

Malcolm and co-Sherpas Dave Mossop and Eric Crosland had multiple computers and flatscreens humming full-tilt last week as they tinkered and finalized the edit for All.I.Can. with hopes it will end up as something more than routine, action-based 'ski porn.'

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