A&E » Arts

Selling freeheel’s soul



What: Unparalleled 3: Soul Slide

Where: MY Place

When: Friday Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Want to see the future of extreme mountain snow sports? To do so, you’ll need to go to the movies next Friday. You’ll also have to, ironically, look into the past. Before snowboarding. Before alpine skiing… Got an idea? Give up?

According to moguls champion and movie director Josh "Bones" Murphy, it is freeheel skiing, also known as telemarking. Murphy’s sure some of the old-school or extreme new-school skiers probably won’t agree with his Next Big Thing theory, but they cannot ignore the fact that freeheel has become the newest-oldest sport to come to the forefront of filmmaking.

Unparalleled 3: Soul Slide is the latest release from Murphy’s Up Productions. This film is the third instalment in his freeheel franchise which has garnered nods from reviewers right across North America. Soul Slide has been called the most influential freeheel ski film ever, and the Unparalleled series is considered instrumental in increasing interest in telemarking.

Murphy is himself a convert from the more traditional forms of skiing. He had been racing as an alpine skier for years before finally turning to freeheel.

"Once I saw these telemarkers skiing at such a high intensity with such deep passion all over the whole mountain and beyond, I couldn’t believe nobody had really noticed. So I took freeheeling up myself and eventually decided if nobody else was going to introduce it to the rest of the world, I would try," he said.

With that, he learned how to use a camera. Fast forward a few years and we now have Murphy promoting the third film in his Unparalleled series, Soul Slide. This time round sees Murphy and his crew of world-class descenting daredevils trekking through the backcountry of B.C.’s own Bella Coola region, as well as California, Utah, Colorado, France, and Norway.

Soul Slide’s premise is based around the questions: What moves within us when the earth moves beneath us? What happens when our soul slides? Freeheel skiing requires a completely different mindset compared with other forms of skiing.

For those who are foreign to freeheeling, the best way Murphy can explain it is in surfing terms. "It’s like the longboard versus shortboard debate. Two sports taking place on the same wave with completely different attitudes."

Freeheel fans are growing rapidly, thanks mainly to journalists and photographers featuring the sport in industry publications, but there’s still a long way to go, said Murphy. "We’re still trying to break out of the mould of being the red-headed step child."

The film stars some of the biggest names in freeskiing, including three time national telemark champion Heather Paul, 1999 telemark freeskiing champion Scott Murray, BJ Brewer, Canadian National Team Member Paula Steinheber, and mogul champ Murphy, himself.

The soundtrack features music by Puracane, Sneaker Pimps, plus G. Love and Special Sauce.

The MY Place premiere is also a fundraiser for Zero Ceiling, a program set up by pro freeskier Chris Winter which allows disadvantaged kids from the streets of Vancouver to come to Whistler to learn how to ski/board and eventually become instructors.