Looking through trailers of multiple different ski flicks, it’s hard to notice a difference. The shots are the same – compilations of deep powder faceshots, hucking big and twisty trick things. On top of that, the amount of helicopter fuel used to get each shot really makes it hard to vote in favor of more of the same type of shot. Despite this, every once in a while there comes a shredtacular film that is worth seeing. “Into the Mind,” produced by Sherpas Cinema, is a recent one. Throwing it back into the days of fluorescent onesies and when ski equipment received questionable safety ratings is another film which, in my mind, grabs the title of best ski movie ever. That is to say, this film can never be topped (until it can, which will just be awesome). Enter “Apocalypse Snow,” the French ski flick directed by Didier LaFound.
“Apocalypse Snow” is a three-part film — at least, according to the amount of parts on “YouTube” — shot between 1983 and 1986, giving a glimpse into the ridiculous minds of French skiers. I’m pretty certain there is a plot that goes along with the film, but it’s in French and doesn’t have subtitles so who knows. However, I do know that not knowing what is going on during the movie is part of what makes this movie so great. While meeting the prerequisites of every ski film – having huge air, powder and extreme skiing – “Apocalypse Snow” goes far beyond such simple matters. It starts out with a snowboarder’s harrowing escape from an exploding igloo, followed by an edge-of-your-seat chase down the mountain as he is followed by monoskiers in red onsies. Without giving too much away, the first part of this series includes the following attributes: A Zorb (the big balls which people get inside and can be pushed down a hill) chasing the snowboarder , snowblades, hangliders, motorized skis, what I presume is the first road gap ever done on film and shredding so hard that just watching will make your knees hurt. It features a multitude of glorious ‘80s era music, from techno to classical, and will ultimately leave you wondering “What?” The first segment is ideal for those wanting to see how much filmmakers back then disregarded avalanche safety, with seven monoskiers and a snowboarder skiing through a massive avalanche.
The second and third segments of this glorious film get a little hazy for those who don’t understand French. For some reason the second segment includes field games between the red and the yellow team. Who those teams are, I don’t know and don’t think I’ll ever know. The competitive activities played include football on a mountain, skiing with mini hangliders, pole fencing into rope swing, chair skiing, rafting down a mountain, pond skims, water-bike jousting and many more activities. There are also episodes of pagan rituals, skiing on fire, and more chasing of the snowboarder from the first segment. Going into the third part of this amazingly confusing ski flick, there is a sci-fi element. Getting teleported to Japan, part of the U.S. and what I can only assume is supposed to be ski-topia, things only get more extreme and more confusing. There is a break of the fourth wall, getting chased by a dragon skiing and even more extreme air done on monoskis. The only downside to this third segment is the slight racism that comes into play with getting chased by Indians while in the American Southwest. More extreme shots that come in this final segment are failed train gaps, more shredtacular, gnar tandem monoskiing and a catamaran skiing down a mountain.
With one of the only plots in a ski movie ever, Apocalypse Snow already has an upper hand on most ski flicks you’ll see this year. Even though you won’t know what the plot is, this movie will have you gasping, laughing and questioning Didier LaFound’s French thoughts on how to make a movie exciting. To watch this magnificent trilogy, go to YouTube and search “Apocalypse Snow.”