Slopes to see some wild stunts | AspenTimes.com
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Slopes to see some wild stunts

Don’t be surprised if you get the strange sensation that you’re sharing slopes with James Bond – the movie figure, not the local – over the next two weeks.

The moviemaker that has been responsible for many of the outrageous ski stunts in James Bond movies over the years will be filming equally radical film footage between March 12 and 27.

Willy Bogner is making a ski film in the IMAX format that will feature considerable footage in and around the four local ski areas.

“It’s going to be hip stuff, wild actually,” said Kitty Boone, former Aspen Skiing Co. marketing director and company coordinator for this project.

It already has been wild. Bogner’s film crew blew the minds of workers at Aspen Highlands in December when they were trying to film a particularly outrageous stunt.

They released a new model of an Audi from a helicopter over Highland Peak. The intent was to have a parasail open and let the remotely controlled vehicle float down into Maroon Creek Valley.

The parasail failed to open, the car plummeted down and squashed part of the Skico’s weather station atop the peak. Luckily just the car’s body was being used.

Bogner’s engineers went back to the drawing board and the next day decided to have the car body choppered to the top of Highlands. Workers then pushed if off Loge Bowl with the parasail open.

It floated down perfectly on a crystal-clear, blue-sky day and the film crew captured Pyramid Peak and the Maroon Bells in the background, according to Boone and Jim Stark, an observer from the U.S. Forest Service’s Aspen Ranger District.

There was no definitive word on how the sequence will work into the movie. Audi, like the Aspen Skiing Co., is one of the major sponsors of the effort, said Boone.

Bogner will shoot footage in the Himalaya, Switzerland and Aspen’s ski areas for a film with the working title of “Mountain Magic.”

“Aspen will be the only noted mountain community,” Boone said.

That’s because the company signed on as a major sponsor last year. Boone said she saw a 20-minute film that Bogner did for IMAX and liked it so well she discussed sponsorship and marketing possibilities with him.

In return for partial sponsorship for the feature film-length effort, Bogner agreed to shoot 25 percent of the footage around Aspen, Boone said.

While IMAX has generally featured documentary-type films, more commercially oriented efforts have been launched, including Disney’s “Fantasia 2000.”

Boone sees the potential of the film attracting hordes of a young target audience to theaters across the country. The Skico will piggyback on exposure in the film with special marketing efforts at the showings, said said.

“One of [Bogner’s] objectives is to get people excited about the sport,” said Boone. She thinks the film will accomplish the goal.

She was reluctant to release details because Bogner himself will outline more in a press conference next week. However, word has leaked that one segment will feature skiers screaming over Snowmass’ Cirque Headwall, at night, preferably during a snowstorm. They will be pursued by a helicopter with a spotlight.

Why? We don’t know. Just relax and enjoy the thought.

Another helicopter will film the action.

The crew at Snowmass is also building a tunnel upslope from the Spider Sabich Race Arena where snowboarders will be trying to spiral in full circles for the film.

Boone said several shots will build off the theme of riders and skiers trying to outdo one another with stunts.

The Forest Service’s Stark said he didn’t anticipate permits for use of the national forest for commercial ventures to be a problem.

Aspen filmmaker Greg Poschman, who has been hired to handle production in Colorado, has several unique tasks he’s trying to complete for the start of shooting next week. On top of the unique list is the search for a perfect roof that skiers and riders could schuss down.

“I’m looking for a house with a nice roof line with a couple of steps in it that we could use for this one action scene,” he said. “The house of seven gables would be ideal.

“We’d even consider putting snow on it, if there isn’t any.”

If you’ve got that ideal house, call him at 920-2354.

Boone, who has been dubbed “movie mogul” by her ex-colleagues, said most of the filming will be done out of the public realm.

Reporter Tim Mutrie contributed to this report.


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