Ski Movie Review – Simon Dumont’s Transitions is a masterpiece

Posted By: Steve Bellamy on October 13, 2009 9:59 am

We just got our grubby little hands on an early screener of “Transitions,” a ski film that chronicles Simon Dumont, Tanner Hall and some of the other skiers who shaped the ski industry’s action sport discipline.  Transitions was produced, directed and edited by Riley Poor who this past year became a quadriplegic after shooting, but before editing this masterpiece of filmmaking.  Poor who injured his neck after doing a backflip into a pool and hitting his head on the bottom at Mount Snow ski resort in Vermont, obviously is making a statement for the human spirit here.  We have not spoken with him to understand the hurdles with his disability, but his story of finishing this film so quickly after his accident is more inspiring than the film, if that is possible. 

At The Ski Channel, we see a lot of ski films, ski movies, ski videos, ski trailers, snowboard films, blah, blah, blah…and candidly, we have seen the same movie 7000 times.  But here, finally a freakin story!!!  And a great one.  Guys like Glen Plake, Mike Hattrup and Scott Schmidt pulled this rock out of the ground.  Guys like Simon Dumont, Tanner Hall took that rock and polished it to the highest grade of diamond.

This film is mostly the story of Simon Dumont, but every other big star of the space seems to be involved.  Mike Douglas, Tanner Hall, Johnny Decesare – they are all there telling the story first hand.  It is clear that although they are rivals, they are as much fans of one another as they are competitors.  Johnny Decesare and Mike Douglas cover the story from an interesting perspective.  Decesare, a former mogul skier and the owner of Poor Boyz Productions was the filmer/storyteller, while Douglas was the coach/elder statesman.  What Poor does masterfully in Transitions is get wide-eyed, bushy-tailed dialogue from them both that makes it clear that the sport was evolving on their watch.  There was no one driving the train except the passengers, and in this case passenger Dumont and passenger Hall were pushing the boundaries of competition, safety, common sense and most of all personal achievement.  But, they were doing this with their eyes wide open as pros doing what they love, but pushing every boundary possible in a calculated manner.

Selfishly and we could give a big “I told you so” from The Ski Channel, but Poor has succeeded in making a totally story driven opus that is completely entertaining, capitaving and engaging, yet it is a ski film.  The risk / reward factor of Dumont is brought to life in vivid detail when he crashes at the large gap jump at Park City.  Dumont overshoots the landing from a tow-in jump and lands on icy flat ground.  He flew about 200 feet in the air going about 60 mph.  It is painful to watch.  But seeing the jump, cut in with Simon and others talking about it, is simply great and somewhat oddly fortuitous movie making.

Poor clearly portrays the fact that these guys are pros.  They respect the danger of their endeavors and that is why they are still doing it.  They are bros.  But they are pro bros.  And, even though the movie is a Dumont driven piece, tradoes a great job of showing how all of these athletes are pushing their sport further than most athletes are pushing their own.  There is art and there is science in what they do. There is a mathmatical equation of speed, distance, postitioning, etc. that goes into every jump, and if they don’t get the science part right, they could go to the hospital or they could go to the morgue. 

So now that we have blown it up, how do you see it?  There is a free webcast on October 15th at 6:00PM PST at

Again, this is a must see ski film.  Make that a MUST SEE ski film.