It’s no surprise that Colorado led the way this year with ski resort openings. On Saturday, October 13, Wolf Creek became the first mountain in the United States to spin its lifts for skiers and boarders, and on Friday, October 19, A-Basin will officially open, followed by Loveland Pass on Saturday. Even though it’s mid October, we can now officially say those three magic words: It’s ski season. Which means we’re also squarely in ski film season, which welcomes the latest works from Colorado’s esteemed adventure cinema industry.
One of the most anticipated ski films of the year is Abandoned, which chronicles the growing number of ski resorts that have become defunct in Colorado. But in addition to this gripping story, we’ve rounded up three other must-see films that are coming to theaters across the Centennial State. These films are sure to get you stoked before you hit the slopes.
Premiering at the Boulder Theater on Oct. 17th, Hoji comes from Crested Butte’s Matchstick Productions and profiles Eric ‘Hoji’ Hjorleifson. The thirty-five-year-old skier hails from Alberta and has been skiing in Matchstick’s films since 2004’s Yearbook, in which he was nominated for Powder magazine’s Best Line of the Year. His humility and unprecedented style set him apart from the rest when Matchstick was looking for a lead subject for a feature film, according to Scott Gafney, the film’s director. “[Hoji] has such an exceptional drive, work ethic, and gear fascination,” Gaffney says. “There’s a lot there that has made him such a standout [and] influencer in our sport that the audience has never had a chance to see. This movie gave us a chance to bring that to life.”
Ode To Muir
From Jackson Hole-based Teton Gravity Research, Ode to Muir features snowboarder Jeremy Jones and Olympic Snowboarder Elena Hight as they trek through California’s pristine John Muir Wilderness. While it offers plenty of great pow shots, the film focuses on Jones’ affinity for public land and conservation. As an environmental activist and founder of Protect Our Winters, he explores the wilderness that the legendary John Muir worked to conserve. And though this film was filmed in California (transplants will love this), it was produced by Colorado Springs native Jon Klaczkiewicz, who grew up running rivers and hiking fourteeners in the Centennial State. “I had so many meaningful experiences on public land that shaped who I am and what I care about, that developing this film was a no brainer,” Klaczkiewicz says. Working with Jones and telling this particular story was pivotal moment for Klaczkiewicz, who says this project is “One of the most important films I’ve ever worked on.” More good news for Coloradans: The film will be screening at Denver’s Oriental Theater on October 25th.
Warren Miller’s Face of Winter
There’s always been one skier and filmmaker who’s loved snow more than anyone else. And last year, we lost him. Warren Miller, the true pioneer of ski films, died last January at age 93, but his legacy lives on. Face of Winter is the first production Boulder-based Warren Miller Entertainment has released since the passing of its founder and, without skipping a beat, the film opens with one of the man’s most legendary quotes: “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll only be one year older when you do.” The film will be on tour throughout Colorado making stops in Boulder, Salida, Steamboat, and beyond. Bring some tissues, this tribute is sure to a tear-jerker.