Angel Collinson Cody Townsend Elyse Saugstad Ingrid Backstrom John Collinson Mark Abma Michelle Parker MSP Stories Tatum Monod Travel Wiley Miller

Equal Airtime

Equal Airtime

WORDS • TESS STROKES | PHOTOS • JEFF CRICCO *until in any other case famous

All In is Matchstick Productions’ 27th annual ski film, and it occurs to be the corporate’s first flick to star an equal variety of men and women. Nevertheless, whereas the movie options 4 ladies—Angel Collinson, Tatum Monod, Michelle Parker and Elyse Saugstad—and showcases 4 males—Mark Abma, Wiley Miller, John Collinson and Cody Townsend—you’d be mistaken to name it a ladies’s movie.

“I’m not sure why we are calling this an equality movie for any reason other than it’s not a women’s-only film because in the past, those films starred only women,” says MSP Government Producer Murray Wais. “This film features an even number of women and men, something that, surprisingly, hasn’t been done before. Ski films have usually featured a ton of dudes and one woman or all women and no men, so I do feel like we’re breaking some new ground.”

The thought had been brewing within the mind of Ingrid Backstrom for years but in addition manifested itself in conversations amongst a few of snowboarding’s different prime feminine skiers. The proposal: Get a gaggle of skiers collectively who determine with one another and don’t have common alternatives to ski and movie with each other. Via damage rehab packages, widespread friendships and mutual admiration, the group of 5 materialized. Every of these feminine skiers has earned her place amongst snowboarding’s elite, collectively netting each business accolade obtainable. Each Monod and Collinson have gained FREESKIER’s Skier of the Yr. Collinson was the primary feminine to earn Powder’s Greatest Line and first lady to attain a gap phase in a serious ski movie in TGR’s Virtually Ablaze.

Angel Collinson in Girdwood, Alaska.

Monod was the primary feminine skier to throw a double backflip within the backcountry. Saugstad has gained the Freeride World Tour, hosted a TEDx speak and was named one among ESPN’s “Top 50 Women in Action Sports.” Parker has advanced from a contest park skier to an completed ski mountaineer, snowboarding peaks like Denali and a number of the steepest couloirs within the Alaska Vary, whereas remaining one of many sport’s hottest skiers. Backstrom, an icon who has skied first descents in Greenland, Baffin Island and China, has starred in additional than 20 ski movies. And the latter three ladies helped launch the SAFE AS (Skiers Advocating and Fostering Avalanche and Snow Security) ladies’s avalanche clinics.

Backstrom assumed the primary manufacturing corporations have been set of their formulation and didn’t have time to make second films, however when MSP received wind of the thought via Parker, they have been those asking to make the undertaking. Whereas Backstrom tore her patellar tendon at Stevens Move on day one among filming for the challenge, she had already been working to assist safe funding via The North Face—fortuitous timing with the corporate’s 2018 Transfer Mountains marketing campaign targeted on its feminine athletes. Her damage stored her from showing within the movie, however she helped the film’s feminine roster hone in on their collective imaginative and prescient for the undertaking: create a broad-reaching ski flick starring an equal variety of males as ladies.

Backstrom has labored with MSP on 9 movies since 2004, however she says this was one thing completely new for the manufacturing home. “There were five really opinionated, interested, involved people throughout the process,” says Backstrom. “We didn’t want to compromise. We wanted to stay true to the original intention of the project.” That meant being extra concerned in selections which may have been made in-house in years previous.

Saugstad has spent the higher a part of a decade snowboarding in entrance of the digital camera and is accustomed to being the one feminine on a movie crew. “It’s been just one trip or several days of filming with another female during an entire winter, or none at all,” says Saugstad. This season was distinctive: each shoot she went on included at the very least one different lady.

Elyse Saugstad goes airborne in Girdwood, Alaska.

“It really affects everything for the [better],” says Saugstad, who spent two weeks in Pemberton snowmobile snowboarding together with her husband, Cody Townsend, Parker and Mark Abma. “Michelle and I were definitely feeding off each other’s energy and pushing each other. That was the most progressive skiing of my season.”

Along with Pemberton, Saugstad filmed at Stevens Move, Monashee Powder Snowcats and Selkirk Tangiers Heli Snowboarding and in addition spent two weeks in her hometown of Girdwood, Alaska, with Collinson and Parker. Whereas Alaska’s variable spring snowpack proved difficult for filming, Saugstad says the trio, every of whom are former ski racers who grew up on the base of a serious ski resort, stepped it up and nonetheless fed off one another—one thing veteran cinematographer Scott Gaffney noticed firsthand.

“All these women have fundamental racing backgrounds, so they were able to just haul ass on firm snow,” he says. Variable circumstances demanded near-constant sound decision-making, however the one factor slowing the ladies down within the subject was manners. “They were too polite,” laughs Gaffney. “No one would say, ‘That’s the line I want.’ It was, ‘No, you have it, no, you have it.’”

However, Gaffney says, nothing was dramatically totally different this winter than some other movie season. In any case, they weren’t altering the components, simply the ratio. “We weren’t trying to make anything groundbreaking—there’s no social motivation. We work with people who approach us, have vision and insight, and want to get segments done. It’s a male-dominated sport, and that was always the typical ratio. But I do think this will open people’s eyes. I didn’t know what I was missing out on.”

Angel Collinson and Michelle Parker boost Alyeska Resort's pond skim.

Monod wasn’t capable of movie motion for the venture till this previous summer time in South America resulting from a knee damage she sustained filming in Alaska with Degree 1 in Might 2017. However the footage of her intense rehab brings one other layer to the movie and an genuine take a look at what goes into snowboarding on the highest degree. Throughout sports activities, not simply freeskiing, feminine athletes have a better incidence of ACL rupture than males, and every of the movie’s stars have recovered from main accidents, simply one of many many bonds they share.

“For me, it was a no-brainer being a part of a project with the skier I idolized most growing up—Ingrid Backstrom—as well as Michelle, Angel and Elyse, who are at the top of the sport, paving the way for women’s skiing,” says Monod. “Whether you’re male or female, you need to earn your spot in these films. I don’t think production companies should give out segments to women just to be more inclusive. If there’s a female who is on the cusp of breaking through based on her work ethic, skills and talent, then absolutely she deserves to get the camera pointed at her.”

Monod factors out that filming within the backcountry requires assets, and people come from sponsorships. “Sponsorships come from standing out as an individual. Filming in the backcountry isn’t like filming in the park. As a backcountry skier, it can be difficult to stand out to sponsors unless you’re winning the Freeride World Tour. Finding a way to individualize yourself as a skier and finding someone to document you who can ski tour or snowmobile efficiently and who has the gear and the knowledge of the backcountry can be tricky. I do hope this film inspires other women to seek out sponsorships and go knocking on film production companies’ doors with talent they can prove is video worthy.”

It’s one thing even the lads within the movie have grappled with all through their careers, earlier than establishing themselves because the high-profile athletes they’re in the present day. The dudes weren’t simply added as afterthoughts, both. Every represents a significant relationship and inspiration: Townsend as husband to Saugstad, Wiley Miller as boyfriend to Monod, Mark Abma as longtime good friend and mentor to Parker and John Collinson as sibling to Angel. In all situations, the relationships have developed over a few years of mutual respect.

Michelle Parker and Mark Abma at Madarao Resort, Japan. Photograph: Eric Berger

“It started when she taught me how to climb out of my crib,” says John. “I always followed her example. I’ve been lucky to watch these women ski in person, and it’s really evident how technically sound they all ski. A lot of guys just look for a cliff and throw a 360, but they look at the mountain a little differently. It’s super inspiring to see a bunch of girls ripping together, positively influencing each other.”

For All In, Abma filmed with MSP’s Guillaume Tessier, the identical cinematographer who found him within the Whistler backcountry in 2003 and began Abma’s MSP profession. In 2004, Abma filmed with Backstrom for her ski movie debut in MSP’s Yearbook. And final winter, Abma housed Parker, Townsend and Saugstad for 2 months through the making of All In at his Pemberton, BC, residence, in a end result of 15 years of working with MSP.

It was a reasonably rad dynamic this winter,” says Abma. “Elyse has spent more time where I live in the last six or seven years than I have. I’m learning a lot from her, and it’s cool to be working as a team like that. We’re all looking for the same terrain, but no roshambos had to be done. There wasn’t a lot of ego, and that was definitely due to the male to female ratio. I even had some days where I’d take a moment to reflect on how well everything was going—I get goosebumps just thinking about it. It really brought the fun back to skiing for me.”

The movie marks a first-time MSP look for Degree 1 veteran Wiley Miller, who filmed near the Pemberton house he shares with Monod. Her damage left extra reel for Miller to fill, and he was completely satisfied to help the venture. “It’s a really good time for it,” says Miller. “Gender equality is a big topic these days, and I think the timing will make the film more impactful.”

Angel Collinson in Girdwood, Alaska.

In the long run, that’s what Matchstick Productions is banking on—that viewers members will fill theaters and click on obtain hyperlinks this fall and get as a lot, if no more, from this movie than their previous 26 ski films. We’re guessing most gained’t even discover the ratio change till they decelerate the footage sufficient to see that ponytail following the skier by way of the air.


[Must-see] Highlights and photographs from the world premiere of MSP’s “All In”

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