Second telemark movie to premiere at Suede
Observers, if they squint enough, can spot telemarkers cutting through runs on Wasatch’s resorts among the masses of Alpine skiers.
Usually one leg and ski is behind the other with the knee near the snow’s surface as the skier glides down the slope in a graceful manner.
The sport isn’t as popular as snowboarding or alpine skiing, and people get into it for various reasons. Twelve-year Deer Valley Ski Patrol member and Park City resident Darrell Finlayson, who started Alpine skiing when he was 6 years old, eventually wanted to undertake new challenges.
"I decided to take up telemark skiing because it looked harder and I thought it would make me a better skier," said Finlayson. "I was able to make parallel turns right off the bat. As I got more competent, I liked the position and I feel like I’m more down in the powder."
Years ago, telemarking was the way to hit the backcountry because of its lighter equipment, Finlayson said.
"We started doing it because it’s easier to hike with," said Jonah Howell, a friend of Finlayson. "Once you start doing it, it is really fun. I taught alpine skiing for six years but I prefer telemark skiing. The turns are more fun. All of our friends do it too. We don’t go out with hardly anyone that doesn’t telemark."
Howell and his brother Noah met Finlayson when they worked at Deer Valley after high school. The trio would lace up their telemarking boots and hit the backcountry when they weren’t working.
"I started bringing my dad’s camcorder and did that for several years. At the end of every season, we’d just sit down, have some beers and watched what we did," Jonah said.
The telemarking trio didn’t know it at the time, but filming would end up becoming a large part of their lives.
Years later, they are premiering their second telemark ski movie, "PW06," at Suede on Nov. 30.
"It evolved," Finlayson said. "At first, it was just a way to have some fun."
For a time, the group sold their material to Tough Guy productions, a company that also makes telemark ski movies. Tough Guy used their shots in brief segments for a couple seasons.
"We are in Tough Guy production movies for two years then we thought we could make better movies," Jonah said.
Finlayson said Noah and Andy started to become cinema gurus and they purchased expensive equipment to make their own film.
"We bought a new camera and spent a winter filming," Jonah said. "In ’05 we put together our first movie and people really liked it and we got a great response."
The Howells met up with Andy Rosenberg and Andy Jacobsen, two well known telemarkers and the group started Powderwhore Productions.
"I don’t remember who it was, but someone was skiing down and someone called him a ‘powderwhore.’ The name stuck," Jonah said.
Their movies are all filmed in untracked backcountry, where the average skier dares not go. The ventures are not without their share of danger.
"We all get bumps and bruises," Finlayson said. "There are broken ribs, Rosenberg took a ride in an avalanche. Jacobsen got a good laceration in the left ass-cheek. There are some bruises from taking crashes, but no one had real serious injuries."
Real serious injuries are relative to these filmmakers, however. Noah blew out his ACL a year ago on one filming venture.
"Serious would be something to end your career or change your life, like a broken neck," Finlayson said. "Noah has recovered and is really strong going into this season."
Powderwhore Productions believe their movies fit a small niche that hasn’t been covered by too many production companies.
"It’s kind of an untouched market," Jonah said.
"It’s all telemark skiing. Ski movies are a niche market to begin with," Finlayson said. "A movie all about telemarking is an even smaller niche. The people that Noah has met (that are in the movie) are really good skiers and fun to hang out with."
Appearing in "PW06" are Charlie Cannon, Noah Howell, Jacobsen, Josh Madsen and Rosenberg, as well as some new faces like Nick "knock you socks off" Devore, the Michaela Zitkova from the Czech Republic and the elusive Wizard of the Wasatch and Andrew McLean. The film also ventures to Baffin Island and Denali for kite skiing.
Powderwhore Productions also bought new equipment to follow its first film "PW05."
"We upped the quality as far as production value goes and it definitely shows in the final product," Jacobsen said.
Finlayson said with one year under their belt, they are able to make a better product.
"The editing is a lot tighter and cleaner," Finlayson said. "There is a little more eclectic soundtrack. They’ve been able to exercise their creativity better this year."
While it has become a business for this group of friends, the main motivation for making movies however, is pure fun and the enjoyment of being outside in the mountains.
"It is more about sharing our passion for the sport of telemark skiing," Finlayson said. "As long as it’s still fun for (the Howells) to film and create a movie we’ll keep doing it.
"We don’t have any designs of becoming Warren Miller. If it came to that, we would all throw in the towel, because that’s not what we are trying to make."
Powderwhore Productions will premiere its latest telemarking film "PW06" Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. at Suede. For more information, visit http://www.powderwhore.com or call (801) 647-9071.
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.