GET OUT: Stirring the Stoke

By on November 17, 2015

‘Cliff Hanger’ captures the spirit of snow and adrenaline-fueled adventure.

Jeff Leger smooth talks his way around Orbital Blowout, named after an unlucky skier who broke his orbital socket attempting the notorious 90-degree airplane turn off the rock. (Photo: darrell miller/storm show)

Jeff Leger smooth talks his way around Orbital Blowout, named after an unlucky skier who broke his orbital socket attempting the notorious 90-degree airplane turn off the rock. (Photo: darrell miller/storm show)

Jackson, WY – It is a sacred time for local skiers and snowboarders, the snow is falling and Storm Show Studios and Full Room Productions are gearing up to release the world premiere of their latest shred film. This year “Cliff Hanger” showcases the brawn of local riders in the Jackson Hole backcountry, Japan and Alaska as two seasoned cinematographers document big lines and the joys of winter. Longtime local Darrell Miller combines forces with Wisconsin born, Colorado bred, and Jackson settler Ryan Halverson to create a ski film worth your buck.

Film highlights include back-to-back shredding of the east face of No Name, serious exposure icefall riding, and getting deeper in the Jackson Hole backcountry. This is the 15th film produced by Storm Show Studios and it’s apparent that these riders never stop exploring. Miller continues to find newness in the land he’s never left: “We’re just kind of going further into the mountains to zones that we’ve looked at over 10 years,” he said.

The riders have taken this to heart during their trek to Gannet Peak. Halverson, Dave Van Ham and Randy Shacket braved sloggy spring conditions to navigate their first ever trip to the Wind River Mountains. With 80-pound packs and a 25-mile ski in, the crew went expedition style for their five-day trip. Going into new territory seemed well worth the journey, as Shacket recounts, “The sense of adventure was full value.” The dream team summited Wyoming’s highest peak and got five inches of fresh powder out of the deal.

Other snow stories include footage from two separate crews in Japan. Kelly Halpin and Halina Boyd take a ladies trip to Hakuba, exploring Japanese culture and deep powder. Halpin recounts this positive snowboard energy as “good vibes and high fives.” The alternate trip to Japan involves Derek Depiero taking advantage of winter break with Van Ham to eat, ski and be merry. Upon editing these sections, Miller claims it is the deepest powder he has ever seen. Another high excitement portion of the film involves Jeff Leger shredding the Orbital Blowout, named after an unlucky skier who broke his orbital socket while attempting the notorious 90-degree airplane turn off the rock.

While a “Cliff Hanger” could not be created without the riders, the small filming and editing crew made this movie possible. Humans without fancy helicopters and grandiose filming equipment capture Storm Show Studio’s homegrown video footage from the trenches. This enables real and honest footage that sets this film apart from other ski movies. While this film may be low budget, the stakes are high in this highaction, adrenaline-infused flick.

With all the hype and glamour of these new age ski films, viewers’ appreciation for this film will come from its raw nature that soars beyond the lines and beyond the editing. Beneath every action-packed second is the knowledge that these powder feats were all earned. While countless ski films hire guides that are conveniently edited out of the real motion picture, the riders in this film are not managed by the little white whisper on the radio. The risks are real; the riders are skilled. They sweat to set their own boot packs and travel to places by their own manpower (unless, of course, they choose to take the big red box). Storm Show Studio’s films continue to hold a certain amount of integrity that cannot be bought no matter how much money one has to produce a ski film. This movie goes one step further to give back to the local community where the athletes live, love and thrive.

The film premiere serves as a fundraiser for local nonprofits, and about a thousand locals are expected to turn out and support the cause. In the past, more than $45,000 has been raised for the Bridger Teton National Forest Avalanche Forecast Center and the Brent-Newton Memorial Ski Foundation. Silent auction and raffle items include a full season ski-pass to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort along with gear from Stio, Smith Optics, Mountain Khaki, and Never Summer.

While you’re waiting for the snow to stack up, catch some face shots and support your local nonprofits 6 and 9 p.m., Friday at Snow King Resort. Tickets available at The Liquor Store, Board Room, and Wilson Backcountry Sports. After party at The Rose featuring D.J. Era, the Insomniaks and Sid Fly. PJH

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