Powderwhore Productions present ‘Elevation,’ a film dedicated to the adventure of backcountry skiing and the hunt for untouched powder. The new film features talented athletes like Noah Howell, Bob Athey, Charlie Cannon, Paul Kimbrough, Ian Provo, William Cardamone, Jason Dorias, Neil Provo, Andy Dorias, Andrew McLean, Jake Sakson and Michele Manning, as they explore states like Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Utah. Elevation showcases the breath-taking backdrops of the Wallowa Mountains, Mount Rainier, Holden Village, Ruth Amphitheater, Wasatch Mountains, the Tetons and Tordrillo Mountains, all while these passionate powder hunters attempt records, make personal discoveries and embrace the essence of raw backcountry skiing.
The Ski Channel is excited to share a few behind-the-scenes details on the film from professional skier Noah Howell. As a director, producer, athlete, traveler and editor, Howell has a well rounded understanding of everything that goes into completing a film, down to the marketing aspect when it comes time to sharing it with the world. Check out the interview below to get an inside perspective on the making of ‘Elevation.’
The Ski Channel: What is the overall message of Elevation?
Noah Howell: The message is to get out into the mountains for play, fitness, inspiration, joy and powder. Pretty simple really.
What sets Elevation a part from other Powderwhore Productions films?
NH: I think we finally achieved the goal of mixing stories with action. It’s a tricky thing to do, but we’re proud of how Elevation turned out. We wanted to take the viewer on a roller coaster ride and so far nobody has asked for their money back
Describe your favorite location in the film.
NH: Holden Village really steals the show as far as intriguing locals. There really isn’t anything else like it in North America and we got really lucky with the great snow conditions. But, you’ll really have to go there to understand just how incredible the people and terrain are. Video doesn’t do it justice.
Describe the harshest weather conditions during the film. Did you often spend nights outside?
NH: Our preferred method is to fly into glaciated areas and camp. This way you have access to the mountains 24/7. We camped out for 22 days in Alaska this season and had extremely cold temps in both the Tordrillo Mountains and the Ruth Gorge. Climbers were flying out because it was too cold to climb. Luckily with skiing you can keep moving enough to stay warm, but it was borderline. Close calls on frostbite a few mornings, luckily we had enough down and liquor to keep warm.
What was the most challenging skiing attempt during the film?
NH: The Dorais Brothers attempted to break the speed record on Mt Rainier. This endeavor is very tricky because you need perfect conditions to make it possible. The mountain received a foot or two of snow as we arrived and we had to wait for it to settle out before giving it a go. And you don’t want to wait too long in the Spring because it becomes too soft. Luckily we slipped right in there and……..well, you’ll have to watch the film.
How did your team prepare safety wise for such dangerous skiing?
NH: We try and film with experienced people who have been exploring the backcountry for years. Filming in the backcountry is not the time or place to learn. We’ve all had avalanche education and then put it to use in the mountains. A big key is knowing when to push it and when to back off. You really have to listen to the mountains and act accordingly. After time you develop good hearing.
What was it like working Bob Athy (Wizard of Wasatch)?
NH: Bob is always a joy to work with! You never know what he is going to do, or say. It’s best to just let him be Bob and try and capture the uniqueness of the Wizard. He gets out and covers more terrain than anybody I know and his knowledge of the Wasatch is very impressive.
How did having women in the film change the dynamics?
NH: Michele and Cindi are both the perfect partners for touring. They have great heads and strong legs and it’s really not that different from being out with the guys. In fact, they ride harder than many of the guys. Both of them have great competition pedigrees so you never have to worry about them getting in over their heads. Finding gals who want to get out with us has always been a challenge, but we’re excited to be working with these two now and in the future.
Can you remember any specific funny behind-the-scenes moments?
NH: We got turned around at the Canadian border and denied a hut trip. Not funny at the time, still not very funny really. It snowed 5ft at the hut that week. Ouch. Turns out trading hut time for video work is still considered “work” and that must be offered up to Canadian citizens first so yankees don’t steal their jobs.
What kind of personal discoveries did you make while filming?
NH: Filming and backcountry skiing are both exercises in awareness and observance of what is around you and inside you. Looking closely and clearing your head will allow you to see the inside world and the outer world more clearly and in a new way. Getting tunnel vision and being close-minded is dangerous as well as a deterrent for creativity.
‘Elevation’ Film Tour Dates:
Friday November 1st- The Oriental Theater
Saturday November 2nd- Bent Gate
Sunday November 3rd- Cycles of Life
Monday November 4th- Backcountry Brewery
Tuesday November 5th- Wilderness Exchange Unlimited
Wednesday November 6th- New Belgium Brewery
Thursday November 7th & 8th- Neptune Mountaineering
Saturday November 9th- Crazy Mountain Brewery
Tuesday November 12th- Glenwood Springs Rec Center
Wednesday November 13th- Belly Up
November 21st- Whiskey Jacques
Saturday November 23rd- Wildwood Room
Thursday December 5th- Jim Santy Auditorium
Friday November 22nd- Inversion Yoga Studio