For those of you that couldn’t find the time to swing over to Rivalries Sports Pub to watch Level 1 Productions’ huge ski-movie hit Sunny here’s a basic rundown of what you missed: awesome skiers doing awesome stuff surrounded by awesome landscapes.
The film is directed by Josh Berman, who started Level 1 thirteen years ago after he blew out his knee in January 2000. “My friends encouraged me to pick up a video camera and spend the rest of the winter shooting. As it turned out, a lot of our friends happened to be doing some of the freshest stuff, and even though they were under the radar in the overall scheme of things, we ended up with some cool content that made for a watchable (if not way too drawn out) movie.”
Their most recent production, Sunny, has garnered a lot of accolades, winning multiple awards at the International Freeski Film Festival, including Best North American Film. “We’re really going back to Level 1’s roots with this year’s film” says Berman.
But Sunny isn’t just directed at hardcore skiiers. Sunny’s great soundtrack, awesome scenery and and general aesthetic make the film a can’t-miss for everyone, even those who have never skiied before.
Here’s what Level 1 has to say about their film: “They say the lack of sunlight affects our mood—that the natural balance of the human mind state quickly shifts with presence of the giant solar fireball in the sky. But this isn’t about winter blues or summer depression. Sunny is a mental disposition, and not just one reserved for beaches and fun parks. Level 1 injected a positive mood into the ski season—giving a dose of light therapy to dark northern landscapes of Scandinavia, Alaska, Japan and British Columbia. So sit back and relax, put your shades on and soak up the rays—the future looks bright.”
I was lucky enough to attend the premiere, which was hosted by The Snowriders, a group that specializes in hosting movie premiers and ski trips for ski enthusiasts of all levels. I sat down with two of their team, Mike and Matt, and asked them a few questions.
Okay, first of all, what is The Snowriders and how did you get started?
Matt: We’re brothers. I work with my younger brother and my older brother and our friend Zach. We like to host and produce ski and snowboard events, ski trips, then we throw them a party to promote film premiers. We got a great opportunity with Level 1 and standard. Level 1 has a lot of accolades. It’s the IF3 premiere ski film. We got started back when I was in college and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after. Meanwhile I was doing stuff like hosting ski events and movie premiers with my older brother, and I just thought that we needed to turn it into a business. Once it became official we got better and better at it.
We just finished up the Boston Winter Film Festival. Level 1 was the most sold out. We’re fortunate that we have a big audience in Boston, but we want to get more people stoked for winter.
What’s your mission for The Snowriders? What drives you?
Mike: I meet a lot of skiers in Boston that are always bitching about winter. And the reason why is because they don’t get to the mountains enough. It’s a hassle and it’s expensive. We want to get them to the mountains and having a good time. It’s just fun bringing everyone together. Friendships evolve and people have a great time. We like to bring all these groups of people together on the mountain.
What’s your best skiing/snowboarding memory?
Matt: Any powder day. But I had one really great powder day in Montana. I had vertigo because I was going down so fast and the powder was so deep. And there was this other day when we had 4 ft of snow in two days on Jay Peak. That was pretty incredible.
Mike: We do this big winter break fest in January. We had over 70 people and we got about 25 of them together for a run. There were people skiing half naked, beginners, people skiing backwards, all on the same trail. It’s about the people, not the snow. It’s mostly about bringing people together. Snow helps, though.
What’s the worst part about your job?
Mike: Working tirelessly non-stop. Thinking about it non-stop. My friends who don’t ski in the winter are all like “dude, shut up.”
Matt: We call the winter “real life.” When it’s over we go back to fake life. The end of the world comes several times a week during ski season.
You guys have skied all over the east and the west. Which is better?
Matt: What you’re dealing with out west is better conditions. But in the east, you can go to the smallest pimple of a mountain and you’re going to see so much more enthusiasm. They say if you can ski the east you can ski anywhere.
Mike: It drives your ambition more. It creates drive. We grew up skiing on a tiny mountain called Blue Hills. It’s still open and it’s packed every day.
Where do you guys like to ski in the east?
Matt: We have a lot of love for all of the east coast mountains. They each have a lot of character, but we have a lot of Jay Peak. The lake effect there causes a lot cold and a lot of snow.
On your website you guys say seem to focus a lot of attention on being honest and ethical. How do you go about doing that?
Matt: If we’re not getting someone a deal, or if we haven’t given them more than they would have had without us, then we’re not doing our job. We’re not making a sale that wouldn’t benefit the customer.
Mike: We’re trying to make friends here. We’re trying to make winter better for people. We just want people to have a good experience.
Hope to see all you skiiers and non-skiiers at the next “Sunny” premiere. And for those of you interested in going on a Snowrider trip this winter (and, let’s face it, why wouldn’t you be?) you can find everything you need to know right here: http://thesnowriders.com/