It’s rare when a ski movie is all shot is one location, but in the new Sweetgrass Productions film “Signatures”, the crew from Breckenridge really captures what skiing is all about with nearly all the footage shot in Japan. What is skiing all about you say? Well…its’ about the turn…the power…and the soul.
Now, “Signatures” isn’t for those that want to see hucksters ripping at mach 5 and hucking carcass over 100′ cliffs. It’s for the skier or snowboarder that have an emotional attachment to their skiing. It’s for the people that can remember that one turn that stands out after a full day of skiing or riding. It’s for the people that can appreciate camera angle and lighting, as well as those that can sit in silence at the top of a mountain and just soak it all in.
The film starts off with some epic powder skiing footage that would even rival the whores down in Utah. Nearly every shot has flakes the size of half dollars falling from the sky. Throw in some of the coolest snowboarding footage I’ve ever seen, as well as some noboarding and Gentemstick riding, and you’ve really got an interesting blend of riding that you just don’t see very often in ski/snowboard films.
Sweetgrass goes beyond just capturing imagery, taking a deeper look at the sport of skiing and snowboarding and comparing it to other sports that most of up partake in or at least grew up doing like skateboarding and surfing. They show the similarities between the turn, the power and the approach that really seem to keep us coming back for more.
Some of the things that really stood for me out in the film are first and foremost, the nighttime footage. I've seen all the nighttime still shots in all the mags and on the web, but I haven't seen much nighttime video footage. Really adds a cool element to films like Signature which focus more on the art and soul of skiing, as opposed to those that focus on high adrenaline. Not to say one is better than the other, but the artsy nighttime stuff just seems to fit in with the Sweetgrass style.
Though there was no park and pipe jibbing, the hits off trees and such are always fun to watch and you find yourself scrunching to make yourself smaller and twisting in your chair trying to tap the tree with your imaginary skis as well. Overall the Japanese theme and gritty cinematography make Signatures a great film for those that want more than just a rocking sound track and 100' cliff drops.