The B.C. backcountry, including spots around Whistler and Pemberton, took centre stage at the Powder Awards in Breckenridge, Colo. last week.
Local skier Kye Petersen starred in and co-directed
Numinous, which won four awards at the ceremony on Dec. 14. Nicolas Teichrob co-directed while athletes like Matty Richard, Pep Fujas, Ryland Bell, Tatum Monod, Chris Rubens, Callum Pettit, Dane Tudor, Wiley Miller and Freeride World Tour star Logan Pehota all showed up.
The accolades include Movie of the Year, which Petersen said was his aim.
"It's a nice complimentary bonus for the last year. We all knew we went hard and did a good job," he said. "The Movie of the Year compliments every single person involved so it's kind of cool just to see everyone getting rewarded."
Petersen said he had to find enough budget to shoot the first year, and then created teasers from early footage to build excitement to allow the crew to shoot for a second winter in 2016-17.
"It was an ongoing hustle," he said with a chuckle.
"I started the project with a few people and I had the bar set high but I wasn't sure how it was going to work out," he added. "The first year of filming, we lined up all the right athletes and, more so, all the right filmers. I had Guillaume Tessier out of Pemberton and my friend Chris Flynn (who filmed via drone).
"We hadn't seen anyone shooting those kinds of shots so we were just progressing and the team came together and made it happen."
Getting just the right shots was of the utmost importance to Petersen, who sought to eschew the cliché voiceover and interview segments in favour of a piece where the skiing told the story.
"We used images to teach people about how the locations feel and what it feels like to ski there," he said. "When you watch the movie, you get an idea of that."
Winning the award will hopefully help open doors for Petersen to avoid having to scramble to get a film pieced together, though he appreciated the experience this time around.
"I hope so. For sure, as a team, it does. I think it'll be a bit easier for us to get support on certain projects. This film, in particular, we made it happen out of pure passion," he said. "We didn't really have a whole lot of budget. We had quite little resources to make everything happen and we'd be happy to gather more resources."This was a good stepping stone."
In addition to the top award, the film was also honoured with the Full Throttle Award, Best Post-Production and Best Line for Pemberton's Pehota.
Pehota, who beat three other nominees, including Whistler's Stan Rey in Magnetic, said while others were a little hesitant for him to try out his route, he was keen to give it a shot, sending it hard off a sheer jump.
"It looked like a really cool line. I was like 'I'll just ski down the rocks at a decent angle' and Kye goes 'Oh, I don't know about that,'" he recalled. "I was like, 'I think it's going to be fine.' And it ended up working out."
Added Petersen: "We posted up at the base of this pretty rad spine wall at Chatter Creek just outside of Golden. We had the zone all planned out, we knew we were going there. There were a few really rowdy lines, but the one that had a bunch of rock exposed on it, it was basically a big, perfect spine that ended in rock.
"There are not too many options of how to ski it and me and Dane (Tudor) were like 'I think we're OK.'
"Of course, (Pehota) was ready to step up to it. He's a bit younger than the rest of us and he just came off the Freeride World Tour. A big, bold line like that suited him well and we were pretty stoked to see him ski it."
While Petersen and others were "on edge" at the bottom, they were mesmerized by Pehota's mastery.
Pehota skipped his last Freeride World Tour competition of the season to take part in the movie.
"I knew it was going to be worth it, and it definitely ended up being worth it. It ended up being the absolute best skiing I've had in my life, " Pehota said.
Noting many studios use the same athletes year after year, Pehota was appreciative to Petersen for the chance to get on-screen.
"Kye gave me a chance to make it into a movie that'll be seen around the world," he said.
Two other locals went home with hardware as Tatum Monod won best female performance for Habit and Mark Abma was honoured for best powder for Drop Everything.