S’mass the star of new Miller flick
Veteran Snowmass ski patroller John Brennan measured 14 inches of snow at the top of High Alpine yesterday.And after placing a phone call, he planned to make his first turns of the winter.”It’s snowing as we speak,” he said. “I just skinned up so I might as well have a look around, right?”By winter, Brennan is the bomb-detonating snow safety supervisor at Snowmass Ski Area. By summer, often with purring chain saw in hand, he’s a trailblazer, sculptor of some of the area’s most appetizing, hair-raising and, until recently, off-limits steeps.The newly opened terrain in the Burnside Cliffs area is featured in the latest Warren Miller film, “Impact,” along with scenes of Brennan reaping knee-deep rewards from his labor of love.
The film is showing at the Wheeler Opera House tonight (at 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.) and Saturday (at 3, 6 and 9 p.m.). Tickets are $17.50.Several other locals figure prominently in the film and none more so than Aspen ski prodigy Bridger Gile, who will no doubt be taking advantage of one more season ski-bumming before beginning kindergarten next fall.Former extreme-skiing champion and Old Snowmass resident Chris Davenport makes an appearance, along with the freeriding brothers Olenick, 2004 X Games double-medalist Peter and younger bro Michael, of Carbondale.”Dav’s [Davenport] been beating the drum that Snowmass is the most underrated resort in the States,” said Brennan, “and I’m doing what I can to get into these steeps. So it’s fantastic to be featured in this movie. The viewership is like 350,000 people, and what better PR can you have than that? I think it’s gonna put us on the map.”Carbondale-based cinematographer Kent Harvey shot all the local footage.
In one poignant scene, Davenport greases a line down the Baldy Headwall in the West Willow Basin backcountry adjacent to the Snowmass boundary.”Awesome line,” Davenport said Thursday. “It’s another one of those things that I say so often that Snowmass has. It’s like a 25-minute walk and no one knows it’s there. Just awesome.”As for sharing the stage with young Bridger Gile, well, that was pretty cool.”It’s great to see young Aspen kids growing up in this freeskiing environment and embracing the possibilities. The world is wide open to him. But when I was 4, all I knew about was groomed runs. And what he thinks about as normal, we would’ve thought was crazy, and that’s pretty cool.”The film includes footage from around the globe – Chamonix, France; Banff, Alberta, Canada; Steamboat Springs; Big Sky, Mont.; heliskiing in Alaska and British Columbia, Canada; Bulgaria; Deer Valley, Utah; Vail; Davos, Switzerland; and Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
Said Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle: “Snowmass is known for its cruisers. But I think this will give us some exposure for the new terrain that Brennan’s out there working on, that the patrol is out there working on, and we’ll show some folks that we’re not just cruising here.”Tim Mutrie’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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