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Confessions of a ski porn addict

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Like every other snow junkie at this time of year – the countdown to ski season – I get restless, fidgety, preoccupied.

The tension builds until I can’t take it any more. I just have to, uh… well, watch a movie or reach for a magazine.

That’s right. I’m addicted to porn. I like watching movies and I like drooling over magazines. There, I said it. Phew. But it's not what you think. Honest.

I have a long and sordid history with ski porn. My dad introduced me to it during the awkward years of my adolescence in the early ’80s. I still have flashbacks every time I hear an old Honeymoon Suite song.

It seems like it was just yesterday. In a dark, dingy downtown Vancouver movie theatre, before my eyes for the very first time, skiers were frolicking in virgin powder.

Warren Miller is a dirty old man – he's to blame for my addiction. A movie of his was the one that featured the skiers exposing themselves in compromising positions. Miller, a Hugh Hefner-like ski movie mogul, has been making porn flicks for more than 50 years. He must be using Viagra.

But he wasn't the only one producing porn during that decade. Peter Markle, a relative no-name director, came out with a classic of the genre in 1984. Hot Dog...The Movie featured Shannon Tweed, a onetime Playboy Playmate of the Year, in a downhill suit and included such saucy lines as (say to yourself in an Austrian accent), "I had Sunny side up, I had Sunny side down and I had Sunny side all-the-way around."

Anyway, like any addict I started to need more and more ski porn to satisfy my bottomless cravings. More movies. More magazines.

I started watching hardcore movies such as Greg Stump's Maltese Flamingo , The Good, the Rad and the Gnarly and Blizzard of Aahhh's on my parent's VCR.

These underground flicks were shot in exotic locations around the world and then spliced together in a seedy basement somewhere here in Whistler.

I also purchased my first Powder magazine during this period. My hands were sweaty and my head was spinning as I approached the newsstand cashier.

Don't believe those people who tell you they buy Powder for the articles and not the, uh, double-page photo spreads.

During the early ’90s, my taste in ski porn evolved to include films from Calgary's Real Action Pictures like Return to the Snow Zone and Carving the White .

I even started to see these movies on certain cable TV channels.

Then in 1996, I heard about a flick that would blow my, um, mind. Christian Begin, a French-Canadian filmmaker living in Rossland seduced me with cinema par excellence in Loco Motion .

It was a low-budget film, but it signalled a change in the ski-porn industry. It had a plot. It had... feeling.

Begin continued with his particular vision throughout the rest of the ’90s. No Man's Land , the industry's first all-female movie. Yeah, baby, yeah.

Begin is no dummy. He has also branched out into mountain-bike porn with the Kranked threesome.

During this same period, there was word of hardcore action flicks being produced in places such as Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Crested Butte, Colo.

I viewed Teton Gravity Research's Harvest and Matchstick Productions' Pura Vida in a hazy, smoke-filled Nelson theatre.

The rumours were true. Hardcore action. Hardcore music. The double-bill was almost too much to handle.

Robert Redford – yes, that Robert Redford – also has a few skeletons in his closet.

Early in his career, Bob the Heartthrob starred in a ski-porn flick, 1969's Downhill Racer . After all, it was the era of free love.

Bob liked ski porn so much that he went on to buy his own ski area in Utah. After all, those Mormons are polygamists.

But, if anything, my long and sordid history with ski porn has taught me that the real thing is way better than watching movies or looking at magazines.

— Greig Bethel

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