It’s the time of year when skiers and snowboarders wander around local gear shops, break out some tuning wax and get ready for the season. It’s also time for winter sports enthusiasts to file into a theater to check out the latest films featuring some of the world’s most exciting athletes.
Teton Gravity Research will bring its latest annual project to the Durango Arts Center for two shows Thursday. This year’s film is titled “WINTERLAND” and will play at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. with doors to open 30 minutes before each show. Tickets are $15.
“We love skiing, and seeing people get excited about it at one of the premieres is super satisfying,” professional skier Nick McNutt said in an email interview with The Durango Herald. “To share a love for the mountains and the lifestyle in a theatre together is really special, and it’s one of our favorite parts of the job.”
The show is also a fundraiser, as part of all tickets sales and raffle tickets will go to Friends of the San Juans, a Durango-based non-profit focused on backcountry education and avalanche safety. It is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the organization.
This year’s film features 23 elite freeskiers and snowboarders at locations around the globe, including Alaska, Austria, British Columbia, Norway and Jackson, Wyoming, the backyard for TGR.
The roster includes a who’s who of winter sports. Along with McNutt are segments from Tim Durtschi, Griffin Post, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, Ian McIntosh, Sam Smoothy, Angel Collinson, John Collinson, Todd Ligare, Colter Hinchliffe, Fabian Lentsch, Christina Lustenberger, Kai Jones, Elyse Saugstad, Hadley Hammer, Jeremy Jones, Sean Jordan, Clayton Vila, Cam Riley, Cody Townsend, Robin Van Gyn, Mark Carter and Nicky Keefer.
“This year, I was lucky enough to be on one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips to Alaska where the weather and conditions just lined up perfect for us,” McNutt said. “We were able to ski every day in the first week of the trip, which built our confidence, and I think the footage speaks to that well.”
Last year’s TGR film, “FAR OUT,” claimed a handful of awards, including Movie of the Year from Powder Magazine. Many of last year’s stars returned for this year’s project.
“TGR has always been investing in the latest and greatest camera systems, and the roster of athletes and production all have been working together for years, so it’s a pretty ideal formula for the final product to be improved year after year,” McNutt said. “We all are on the same page and know how to get the footage we’re chasing when the external things like conditions and weather decide to cooperate.”
Whether those in the audience are experienced backcountry athletes, resort rippers or new to the sport, everyone can relate to the common theme of having fun and pushing themselves in the mountains. At its core, “WINTERLAND” honors skiing and snowboarding heritage, the joy of the sport and the progression of the athletes of today and the future.
“I think everyone can relate to ‘WINTERLAND’ because even though it’s not one specific place, it’s more of a state of mind,” TGR head of production Jon Klaczkiewicz said in a news release. “Beyond showcasing the incredible action our athletes continue to astound us with, ‘WINTERLAND’ really embodies the magic that all skiers and snowboarders feel when they find themselves in the right place at the right time when everything comes together. The experience is shaped by the lore and legends of a place, fleeting moments of epic conditions and the unique style of the individual. Really excited to share this one.”