Another year, another installment of east coast shenanigans from Meathead Films. How does this year’s film stack up to the rest of the Meathead library? It stacks up as better than average, better than last year, but still not realizing the potential we saw in Born From Ice.
Wild Stallions is downright exotic in its location selection. The Meats have always impressed me with their “ski anywhere” mentality and attitude. As a turn earner, I dig how far these guys will go to do something interesting. But they will also step outside of their home, climb a playground ladder, click in, and let it slide.
We get treated to all sorts of interesting places but the Mount Bohemia scene from Michigan was perhaps one of the more interesting selections in Meathead history. East Coast internet forums have highlighted this small mountain on a northern Michigan peninsula that features “triple diamond” terrain. It turns out that Mount Bohemia is no joke! Despite its limitd 800 vertical feet, Mount Bohemia looks to have more knarly natural terrain than all but a handful of New England ski areas.
The Meatheads continue to provide exclusively East Coast skiing footage in the form of a yearly video release. Wanderland debuted in October 2007 and continues the proven one hour video format with lots of bonus features available and sidebars. Previous releases from the Meatheads include Snow Gods, Born From Ice, Epoch, and Schooled.
Several notable absences are immediately noted from Wanderland including powder fiend Joe Morabito and Simon Thompson who were amongst the Meatheads best skiing talent that always delivered memorable scenes. Not only did the overall skiing talent reduce in quality but new Meatheads lack the personal dynamics involved with shooting great lifestyle aspects. Wanderland is an improvement upon last year’s extremely sub-par Snow Gods but fails to live up to past Meatheads releases.
The independent film company’s releases are overly broad in their appeal and would probably be better served by two distinct releases instead of piecing together park, pipe, jib, and rail scenes along side big mountain, powder, and earned turns features. The urban rail and jib scenes are sensational featuring some of the best young talent to be found any where in the United States. This skier can appreciate the dedication to ski when ever and where ever snow can be found. But the park and pipe scenes drag on with uninspiring big air routines that seem out of place on an “East Coast Ski Thriller. The park and pipe skiers lack depth and ability when removed from their unnatural playground.
The Meatheads are loosing touch with the balance between appealing both to skiers that love natural snow and unnatural features. The Meatheads do glade, powder, and big mountain scenes so well, it is sad to see such scenes over shadowed by excessively repetitive park footage. The narrator truly shoots the feature in the foot when noting that an unexpected and rare April storm that was measured in feet rather than inches was making it hard for park skiing. While I was ripping boot to knee deep untracked at Mad River Glen last April, the Meatheads were filming a park scene at Sunday River. That about sums up the problematic ratio of park scenes compared to powder footage.
The Meatheads are a small and independent Ski Film production out fit from Burlington, Vermont. Snow Gods is the fifth DVD released by the Meatheads and continues the unique exclusive Northeast skiing focus. Despite a lack luster season, the Meatheads managed to put together a solid production including a variety of powder shots. But the film fails to offer substantial improvement from the previous year’s offering, Born From Ice. Regardless of comparison to past productions, Snow Gods is an excellent addition to any East Coaster’s ski video collection.
Snow Gods opens with scenes of rain and running water melting away sheets of ice. A fitting visual montage for the early months of the 2005-2006 ski season. Joe Morabito, who carries the movie with excellent powder and tree skiing, introduces the movie with a ski sacrifice to the Ski Gods during the latter days of a snowless January. While the Snow Gods did not respond immediately to the sacrifice, The Meatheads would find more than enough snow and powder eventually.
Since the rain and warm weather continued into February throughout New England, a small troupe of The Meatheads plotted a course to the Chic Chocs of Quebec on the Gaspe Peninsula. A variety of backcountry scenes ensue including some big mountain open bowl skiing, knee deep powder chutes, road side debauchery, and a side of hucks and jumps. Plenty of behind the scenes footage is included demonstrating that a trip to the Chic Chocs is just as much about the adventure and trip itself than the skiing. A few minutes of various natural and man made jib, rail, and park skiing end cap the Chic Choc segment before the movie switches gears to the highlight of the film at Jay Peak.
It is like they say…you can’t beat the meat. Meathead Films is an upstart East Coast film production crew bringing the best of East Coast skiing to a screen near you. Breaking away from the souless, bland, and homogenized movies produced by the big corporate ski movie outfits, Meathead Films offer up real skiing experiences featuring their closest buddies instead of pro skiers that huck cliffs for a living.
Dozens of home grown ski movie production outfits are popping up the world over. What separates Meatheld Films from the pack is their exclusive focus on the East Coast which has been ignored by most ski films. The Meatheads prove that despite being shunned by ski movie production outfits, the East Coast has some amazing lines and choice descents in addition to plenty of powder shots and freshies.
The soul of New England is what really shines through in the Meathead productions. Skiers in New England have less to work with, so we do more with less by cutting stashes in the woods and seeking out rare snow filled gullies. We work hard for just a small taste of perfection and smile all the more for our efforts when we are rewarded. The Meatheads bring the essence and soul of this dedication and mind set to the screen.
Meathead Films was the creation of Geoff McDonald out of Burlington, Vermont. Founded in 2001, the production outfit grew out of a UVM aired sketch comedy series. Elements of comedy remain in the ski movies; however, the production value and quality is substantially higher than a college version of “Jackass.” While the budget of Meathead Films does not provide for helicopters and ultra-zoom cameras to capture the best angles, the production outfit has the technology to make their well produced and well directed films worth every bit of the $20.00 selling price.