(Last Updated On: December 15, 2009)
Movie of the Month: Push
Where can I find it? skimovie.com, netflix.com
MSP’s Push stays true to it’s Crested Butte routes by opening up with a scene shot in CB South. This scene features a local kid who is being egged-on by bigger kids to jump a ramp on his bike. His failure to jump the ramp repeatedly causes the kids to heckle him. But, after the bullies leave, this lone ranger goes for a ride off the ramp. This scene sets the stage for this movie whose theme is athletes who push skiing to the next level.
Push is filmed on location in China, Haines, Whistler, Park City, Japan, Norway, and Terrace, BC and features athletes like Mark Abma, Eric Hjorleifson, Ingrid Backstrom, Sarah Burke, Shane McConkey, Rory Bushfield, Hugo Harrisson, Simon Dumont, Sammy Carlson, Mike Wilson, Mike Douglas, and Chris Rubens.
The first ski scenes in Push feature a mod-podge of skiers and locations with a lot of tumbles, crashes, and tomahawks, again trying to bring the movies theme to life. Athlete voice-overs emphasize that skiing has become a lot more risky over the last 10 years. Lines keep getting gnarlier and longer. Falling doesn’t mean you just hurt your thumb or knee anymore. If you fall on today’s big lines “you’re going to the hospital”. “Sometimes you land and you’re a hero, but if you don’t land you’re on the couch- it’s over.”
Simply stated, as today’s skiers push themselves and their sport to the next level, many of them find themselves paying a price. Throughout the movie, athletes talk about this theme. Sarah Burke mentions how she’s paid the price with broken bones, a torn rotator cuff, and sore knees. Even Shane McConkey has cashed in. This season ended in Haines, AK as he flew down the hill, hit and ice chunk and went tomahawking down-slope, resulting in a dislocated hip. McConkey states, “I have had 6 season-ending injuries over the last 10 years. People always ask me, ‘Is it worth it? Getting hurt that much.’ And the answer is, ‘yes’. I would do it all over again- have 6 more season-ending injuries in the next 10 years in order to keep doing what we get to do. There’s nothing better than sliding down snow and flying through the air.” Yet, skiing lines that ultimately result in injury is not the only way to push skiing to the next level. Eric Pollard states, – “A lot of people are pushing out there… going massive and fast. I like to do that as well, but I just love to find lines that have a lot of flow to them.”
Push is largely divided by athlete segments.
- Mark Abma- Whistler powder magnificence
- Simon Dumont- two large jibbing segments
- Sarah Burke- big air, backcountry booters
- Eric Hjorleifson- big mountain radness mixed with his overwhelming excitement
- Shane McConkey- the master, need I say more
- Rory Bushfield- backcountry booters, big lines
- Mike Wilson- hucks anything
- Sammy Carlson- another jib segment
- Eric Pollard-
There were three athlete segments that especially stood out for me in this film. First was Hugo Harrisson’s segment. Hugo seems to ski with a purpose- fast, aggressive, dropping big lines like candy. The second was Ingrid Backstrom’s piece. It is clear now that Ingrid was on the top of her game during the making of this movie. If Ingrid hadn’t been sporting her pink jacket during the making of this movie she could have easily been mistaken for one of the many males shot in this film. Skiing with the aggression of a boy but with the grace of a girl, MSP picked an appropriate tune to accompany her skiing- “The boys wanna be her, the girls wanna be her”. The last segment I particularly enjoyed was that of Chris Rubens. In this scene, Rubens skis high-speed big mountain lines with the cleanliness of McConkey. This segment made me wonder why I haven’t seen Rubens in more ski movies.
A few segments are divided by location. Push features a trip to China and Japan where boys make magic in the snow to the tune of “I’m Turning Japanese”. Another trip to Stranda, Norway reveals that Norway has lines that rival Alaska. But, most interesting was the heli-skiing segment shot in Terrace, BC. This segment is kept raw and real. There is no music, only wind, voices, grunts, and screams. Here, the athletes flail as much as they thrive. This is true skiing.
MSP narrates this movie using athlete interviews and voice-overs. I especially like that the film-makers took the time to interview each athlete about the other athletes. For example, Ingrid Backstrom describes Eric Hjorleifson as “passionate about skiing….. It’s not something he’s out there doing for the camera, it’s something he’s doing because he really loves it.” Rory Bushfield asserts, “Wilson is probably one of the craziest people I know, I think. He’ll look at something that’s just completely ridiculous and I don’t think that it crosses his mind that people look at it that it’s ridiculous. He sees it, thinks it’s doable, and goes for it.” Comments like this bring the athletes to life.
Even though Push is now three years old, it’s still a great movie to see. Avid skiers will appreciate viewing some of these athletes in their earlier stages. If you haven’t seen this movie before, Push is well worth the watch. If you have seen Push in the past, check it out again- you may catch something you haven’t seen before 🙂