Movies on the Slopes: Films Revolving Around Skiing and Snowboarding

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Fifteen years of verite footage show the epic rivalry between half-pipe legends Shaun White and Kevin Pearce.
Photo Credit: Starz! Network, RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
December 29th, 2013

Movies on the Slopes: Films Revolving Around Skiing and Snowboarding

In many ways, movies mimic real life. With millions of skiers and snowboarders around the world, it's no wonder that quite a few movies have hit the slopes and the big screen. This winter, or any other time you're craving the gentle swoosh of a blade on the snow, consider some of these skiing and snowboarding favorites. Whether you prefer to relive the escapades of great athletes or love a great plot that features scenes on the trails, you'll find something to love on this list.

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''The Ultimate Ride: Shaun White''

Shaun White is one of the undisputed kings of snowboarding, and his adventures on and off the slopes have captured the attention of both the media and filmmakers. In the 2008 documentary "The Ultimate Ride: Shaun White," the audience is treated to an inside look at this two-time Olympian's incredible ability. White takes viewers along as he boards through the rural area of Hokkaido, Japan, taking on tough slopes and the tougher reality of begin famous at such a young age. White, who has participated in the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, the US Open Snowboarding Championships, and the Winter X Games, was first sponsored as a snowboarder at the age of seven and has been braving the slopes with increasingly daring stunts ever since. During the hour-long episode, you'll learn a little about snowboarding and a lot about being a snowboarder when you watch this film.

 

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''Ski Patrol''

The action/comedy film "Ski Patrol" hit the big screen in 1990. This widely forgotten film pits a dedicated ski patrol crew against a bunch of instructors who are trying to sabotage the resort they all work for. The cast of "Ski Patrol" is not particularly well known today, but the film does give viewers the chance to see a young George Lopez in action. It's not hard to see how the humor of Lopez has developed over the past twenty years when you see his performance in this film. In fact, Lopez's acting may be just the element that saves this film from complete obscurity. If you enjoyed the slapstick comedy of the "Police Academy" series, this is just the skiing movie for you; it's from the same producer and has a similar brand of comedy.

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''Ski School''

"Ski School" is another 90s-era comedy that has retained a cult following several decades later. Although this film depends as much on the audience's love of hot chicks as of cold slopes, fans seem to love that the love of skiing is portrayed by fun-loving types who are far different from the typical depiction of a ski pro. "Ski School" found enough of a following to spawn a second title in 1994, which, like the first, stars Dean Cameron. Expect sometimes-crude campy humor balanced against a comedic us-versus-them plot laced with enough jokes to keep you laughing throughout the film.

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''High Life''

Back over in the snowboarding camp, 2003's "High Life" is a great choice for viewers in search of a highly rated documentary that shows the exhilarating side of boarding. Produced by Teton Gravity Research, the film follows boarders around the world, from Wyoming to Switzerland and France to Oregon, showing off stunts that would make even the most daring wannabe boarder shudder. This documentary comes in at just sixty minutes in length, but each minute is packed to the hilt with action and thrills.

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''Ski Movie'' Trilogy

For fans of dual-bladed documentaries, Matchstick Productions offers more than a dozen skiing titles, including their best-known "Ski Movie" trilogy of films. These films should come with a strong advisory that the stunts involved should never be tried at home, on the slope, or anywhere else but in the viewer's dreams. The footage follows famous skiers as they attempt moves that range from incredible to incredibly stupid. The three-pack of "Ski Movie" films offer a look at everything from heli-skiing to ski jumping, and it visits some of the better known ski mountains and ranges in North America and Europe. Each of these documentaries will keep an audience of skiers at the edge of their seats for the entire showing. A few of the well-known skiers in the "Ski Movie" franchise include Seth Morrison, Jonny Moseley, and the late Shane McConkey.

There's no need to brave the cold this winter when you're in search of the thrills and chills that come with skiing and snowboarding. Grab a fun movie or an informative documentary, and you can experience all of the action from the comfort and warmth of your own home. Some of these documentaries above are rebroadcast during winter months by cable sports channels or can be found alongside their fiction counterparts through streaming or on-demand sites.