The 10 Best Ski Movies Ever
Ski movies are special to any skier, but there are countless films out there to pick from. Ski Expert Nick Keim shares his top ten list of all-time favorites.
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Fall can be a difficult season for any skier. Winter is obviously our favorite season, springtime is for sunny, slushy, party days on the mountain, and summer is a nice refresher after months of braving the cold. Fall, though, is filled with anticipation. Skiing is right around the corner, always so close, and yet so far. It is an exciting yet cruel season.
My friends and I attempt to satisfy our ski fix by crowding up the couch and watching all the new ski movies filmed last season, as well as some of the classics. It’s a sacred ritual. Beers are mandatory, and talking is forbidden, except when something that is just pure mind-blowing happens, and then it is imperative that we all look at each other and exclaim, “how on earth did they do that?!” It’s like feeding a bear. We slowly feed the excitement to keep it satisfied, but it just keeps growing and wanting more, until it snaps.
At this point, one hopes there is enough snow on the ground. It never stops there though. Inevitably, halfway through the season we start to think of going bigger, and we turn to our movies for inspiration.
Ski movies are special to any skier, but there are countless out there to pick through, and deciding what to watch can be difficult. So whether you and your friends are just trying to get through the fall, need some mid-season inspiration, or maybe you just need to impress a new love interest by telling them you’re in a ski film, showing them an epic clip of Candide Thovex and saying it’s you, whatever it is, I put together 10 of my favorite ski movies of all time to make your life easier.
These are, in my opinion, the 10 best ski movies ever. They are in no particular order or rank because each movie is unique and it would be unreasonable to attempt to say one is better than any other. The movies included come from decades of skiing, ranging from the '80s all the way to today, and feature some of the best skiers to ever live. Most of these movies include links to places where you can watch them legally, and if you can’t watch for free somewhere legally, buy the movie. Believe it or not, skiing isn’t all that lucrative a business for athletes. With all that being said: enjoy!
1. Blizzard of Aahhhs by Greg Stump
It seems appropriate that this list begins with the oldest movie of the 10, and by old I mean 1988 old. The time of skinny skis, foot-long mohawks, and an introduction to the skiing counter-culture that would forever change the sport. Featuring punk-rock extreme skiers Scott Schmidt, Glen Plake, and Mike Hatrup. Even if you don’t get the chance to see this movie, you’ll hear it mentioned in many of the below movies, as it is widely considered to be the movie that inspired generations of freestyle skiers. There’s no question this movie belongs on this list, as it is a timeless legend to the entire sport of free-skiing, and it is hard to do this movie justice for the influence it has had in making skiing what it is today.
2. Claim by Matchstick Productions
An absolute all-star cast of talented skiers from 2008, with one message: “throw your hands up and claim you’re the best!” Featuring Shane McConkey, Mark Abma, Simon Dumont, Hoji, and so many more crazy skiers, this movie is comedy gold. Each one thinks they’re the best skier and they are determined to prove it because that’s what skiing is about, right? With some of the best big mountain and freestyle skiing to be featured in a ski movie, an amazing singing performance from Colby West, and a cringing crash reel, this movie is a highlight of everything skiing had to offer in the 2000s.
3. Attack of La Niña by Matchstick Productions
Produced by MSP Films, Attack of La Niña highlights Ingrid Backstrom, Bobby Brown, Mark Amba, and many more incredible riders. This movie was filmed in 2010, one of the snowiest winters in the history of the United States and Canada. Watch these riders push the limits in some of the deepest snow on the planet in Colorado, Idaho, Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and California. This movie has a great balance of scenic backcountry peaks, pillow lines, powder shots, and some massive backcountry jumps. I promise you will be in awe of the sheer talent of these athletes.
4. Refresh by Level 1
This one’s for the park kids, urban fanatics, and admirers of the freestyle side of skiing. Big lines, big tricks, and big cities. Featuring Tom Wallisch (Tommy Walnuts) at his peak, the rise of the innovative Henrik Harlaut, and special guest narrator Warren Miller – to bring some nostalgia. Not to mention an abundance of absolute steeze in the form of the baggiest ski gear you’ll ever see. Don’t let urban skiing be your only attraction though, there are still tons of serious backcountry lines and some huge kickers built by the crew. This movie highlights a really unique generation of skiers known for their afterbang and advancement of freestyle skiing.
5. Drop Everything by Matchstick Productions
Drop Everything is a personal favorite of mine and begins with probably the best intro of any ski movie. Infamous freeriders and winter Olympics skiers, Cody Townsend, Elyse Saugstad, Marcus Eder, and more put on a hilarious show of absolutely epic skiing. Each of these skiers has completely unique personalities and skiing styles and all of that is placed front and center for a truly awesome viewing experience. Watch these athletes ski some incredible lines and deep powder across the globe in Alaska, British Columbia, Colorado, Norway, Austria, and more. A perfect soundtrack to go with all of the epic descents, fluffy pillows, and huge kickers will give you goosebumps and a burning desire to go get out on some snow.
6. Afterglow by Sweetgrass Productions
Afterglow is one of the most artistic ski films out there featuring Pep Fujas, Daron Rahlves, Chris Benchetler, and Eric Hjorleifson. This film has was produced entirely at night for a unique viewing experience. This is really more of a short film than a movie coming in at only about 12 minutes in length. This film utilizes has some crazy visuals and is truly like no other ski film ever made. Athletes rip some crazy spines and backcountry lines in Alyeska and British Colombia. Perhaps the most profound segments in this film features athletes riding in full LED body suits. If you appreciate some great cinematography as well as incredible skiing, be sure to check this one out.
7. All In by Matchstick Productions
In a sport that has been largely male-dominated, few ski movies have featured the phenomenal lady-shredders out there. Today, that is finally starting to change, ladies are getting more and more of the credit they deserve on the big screen for their steep descents and big tricks. All In is one of the first movies to feature an all-star cast of some of the best freeskiers out there, who all just so happen to be women. In typical Matchstick Productions style, this movie features absolute hilarity from its riders and some of the best big mountain skiing out there. Featuring Michelle Parker, Tatum Monod, Elyse Saugstad, and Angel Collinson, this movie is a hell of a ride and is a must-watch for everyone.
8. Winterland by Teton Gravity Research
Teton Gravity Research is a top-tier production company based out of Jackson Hole, WY started by Todd Jones. Released in 2019, this is a more recent movie on the list, and it is a perfect example of the way ski movies have drastically changed from the 2000s to today. Yes, there’s still phenomenal skiing and mind-blowing shots, but the cast is effectively “unmasked.” The goggles are off and we get to hear from the skiers about their journeys and get to know their personalities. There is a lot that goes into skiing the terrain featured in any ski movie, and ski movies are showing more and more of these details, giving us mere mortals a look into the unique lifestyle of a pro skier, both the good and the bad parts… Get up close and personal with both the adventures and the skiers in Winterland.
If you are looking for a great snowboard film, be sure to check out Deeper, another Teton Gravity film, featuring infamous snowboarder Jeremy Jones and Travis Rice. In this documentary-style film, athletes also discuss backcountry and avalanche safety, and risks associated with extreme sports.
9. G.N.A.R by Unofficial Networks
Have you ever been standing in a lift line and suddenly heard someone scream “I’M THE BEST SKIER ON THE MOUNTAIN!”, and wondered what on earth is up with this Jerry coming in here and asserting such a thing. Well, this movie will answer that for you. It is the story of a game created by a wild gang of Squaw Valley riders, in order to discover who was the wildest skier among them. Unlike many other ski films, much of this was actually filmed in bounds on ski resorts. This is the Game of G.N.A.R, and it’s 500 points for asserting you’re the best (more if you do it naked). Unlike most of the movies on here, there aren't crazy big mountain lines backed by dramatic music, emphasizing the pure epicness of what pro skiers can do. Instead, it’s all about discovering how to not take skiing too seriously, and new ways to take days of skiing with your friends to a completely different level of fun. Not for kids!
10. McConkey by Matchstick Productions
Okay, so at the start of this article, I said that there would be no particular order or ranking of these 10 movies, but do you know the expression “save the best for last”? Well, that applies here. McConkey is the greatest ski movie of all time, and it is not up for discussion. It showcases the beauty, triumphs, elaborate history, and dangerous reality of the extreme sport that is skiing. Centered around the story of the most influential skier to ever exist, Shane McConkey. Shane was an icon of the Lake Tahoe region and had a huge influence on the establishment of the freeride world tour. If there is one movie to watch on this list, this is the one. Whether you’ve been skiing your whole life, or if you're brand new to the sport, any skier should know who Shane McConkey is. If you already watched G.N.A.R or Claim, then you already have some idea of Shane and his antics but, while impossible to truly capture his life and influence on skiing, this movie is the closest one could possibly hope to get. Although this movie is a biopic of Shane’s life, it still features plenty of incredible skiing by Shane and his friends.
Top 11- 100
Alright, I’m not actually going to give you 90 more ski movies to go watch, but I will tell you that there are way more movies, short films, and edits out there than just these 10 that still deserve to be mentioned. Below is a list of producers and locations where you can find countless more skiing to fill your little heart's desire:
- Matchstick Productions
- Teton Gravity Research
- Level 1
- Blank Collective
- Sherpas Cinema
- Unofficial Network
- Warren Miller Entertainment
- Faction Collective
- RedBull TV
- Sweetgrass Productions
- Collective Films
- Expedition Studios (with award-winning producer Curt Morgan)
If you have any questions or want to get geared up to hit the slopes, reach out to a Ski Expert here on Curated for free, personalized advice and recommendations.