(Last Updated On: November 29, 2010)
Movie of the Month: Yearbook
Produced by: Matchstick Productions
Where can I find it? skimovie.com
Matchstick Productions delivers some of it’s best scenes in Yearbook. This flick is full of big lines and skiers who deliver. Just fast-forward through some of the jib-segment lulls and you’ve got a great movie.
Yearbook was filmed on location at Aspen, Keystone, Whistler, Courchevel France, Crested Butte, Roldal Norway, Bella Coola BC, La Clusaz France, and The Eiger. Skiers include Mark Abma, Ingrid Backstrom, Mike Douglas, Chris Davenport, Hugo Harrisson, Shane McConkey, Seth Morrison, JT Holmes, Stian Hagen, Eric Hjorleifson, Mike Wilson, Dean Cummings, and Sean Pettit as a little kid. Yearbook also includes jibbers Tanner Rainville, Eric Pollard, Tanner Hall, Steele Spence, Sarah Burke, Rory Bushfield, CR Johnson, Nikalas Karlstrom, Vicent Dorion, and Candide Thovex.
The opening of Yearbook is filmed at Gunnison High School- a high school that was gutted and re-built just last year. But, the old school will live through this movie and people will remember it with ski stars walking down the hallway. The high school theme keeps popping up over and over again and makes for a clever addition to the movie.
The skiing begins with a bang. Mark Abma hits big line after big line. It’s clear he’s on his game, even though, as he states himself, he had “never skied big lines before.” Abma’s skiing speaks otherwise. I’m not a huge Mark Abma fan, but his segment is worthy and, in retrospect, Yearbook is Abma’s “coming out” movie.
The film then segways immediately into Ingrid Backstrom ripping. Only 25 at the time, she charges just as fast as the best guys, takes air like she means it, all with the grace that only a female can own. Like Abma, this was one of Ingrid’s first full film segments. She states, that it was “intimidating being around all these people with all this experience.” But, Ingrid undoubtedly holds her own. Ingrid is my hero and Yearbook proves why.
Another interesting segment includes Shane McConkey. I’m not a huge fan of base-jumping as I often think it takes away from the skiing since the skiers are more focused on the jump and not the ski. But, McConkey’s ski base-jump off the Eiger is, without argument, sick.
Strong performances are also put on by many other big-mountain skiers. Chris Davenport skis some great lines and captures them on helmet cam. Stian Hagen let’s it rip also. And it’s fun to know that these two are still skiing big lines and making movies together. Other memorable segments are put on by Mike Douglas and Dean Cummings. And, of course, Hugo Harrison is large and in charge- until he begins tumbling down the mountain.
The segment that I found the most funny was that of Tanner Hall. He states, “I think that where I really want to excel it out here in the mountains. I really got a taste of what can go on the last couple of days. I’d really like to be able to just do anything off of anything.” So, Tanner moves from the realm of the park to the realm of the mountains. He’s up for the challenge. Tanner checks out a line and says, he’ll “cut around that, drop right where those icicles are. Land. Drop that 5 foot cornice and 180 off that cornice at the end too. Come out switch…… Hopefully…” But, when the words become action, Tanner flops. The mountains win.
One thing I like about Yearbook was that it shows the reality of ski filming. There are people getting beaten by lines and taken out by avalanches. The best skiers in the world are shown tomahawking down the mountain. Even Seth Morrison himself tells the story of his bad season, starting off with a broken ankle and ending with a dislocated and broken shoulder. Skiing is dangerous and filming it might even be more dangerous. But, it doesn’t stop these skiers from giving it their all.
Even ten years after it’s making, Yearbook still stands as a top-quality movie. Many of the skiers who were “freshman” or “sophomores” in this movie are still in the spotlight today. MSP certainly had a knack for vision that year!