There is something that has been missing from ski movies lately which use to be a staple segment you could almost always count on seeing…the Ski Movie Crash Segment. What happened to them? Crash segments were much more common in movies over a decade ago but they have gradually disappeared during the past few years, and yet there are so many more movies being made right now.
We’ve all been there…taking a digger as we attempt to earn new bragging rights. But when you see these Pros in the movies eat sh!t, they eat large heaping piles with how hard they crash. Endlessly tomahawking down a 50 degree big mountain line. Coming up short on Chad’s Gap. Accidentally wrapping their bodies around the metal railing their skis should’ve still been sliding down. It isn’t always steezy to succeed without failing at some point or another.
Level 1’s movie from 2006 “Long Story Short” has a crash segment that is actually painful to watch. Slams so hard you may start to think these skiers were bred from felines. It is nonstop slam after hard slam and ends with Candide Thovex looking like he blew up on impact after severely overshooting a very big 100+ foot step down jump. Never a good time.
“The way I see it, it’s death versus glory.” That’s what Mark Sherman said regarding his glory to slide down a 40 cement stair hand rail in the Matchstick Productions film “Ski Movie 2, High Society” from 2001. (A 40 stair down rail in 2001…that’s impressive.) It’s at the end of the ‘Minor Threat’ segment. (So, it’s technically not a crash segment but could have easily been.) Many of the 18 unsuccessful attempts ended with him body sliding through wet leaves on a street next to the patch of snow he was suppose to land on. It was set to The Living End song, “Prisoner of Society” which makes you start rooting for Mark after, like the 10th attempt. My favorite fail in that sequence is the 16th try when he came up a lot short. Unfortunately, Mark never achieved glory but he didn’t die either, so I guess it was a draw between him and that rail.
There is a great crash segment going back a little further to Greg Stump’s movie from 1994 called “P-Tex, Lies, & Duct Tape.” Classic long toothpick-like straight skis make for good old fashioned yard sales. With the classic 1994 hit “Root Down” from the Beastie Boys.
Crash segments can also be turned into great comic relief with a clever song choice. In "War" the 2005 Poor Boyz Productions movie, the crash segment in the Bonus Features was put to an Oldie usually heard at weddings, “At Last” by Etta James. However, there is nothing celebratory about the uniting of skier and ground, or skier and rail, or skier and knuckle.
In movies these days, you are more likely to see a crash or two within the skier’s segment but it’s rare to see a full crash segment filled with everyone’s F-ups as part of the main movie. They are even becoming less common in the Bonus Features sections nowadays.
Crash segments should be dusted off and made an integral part of ski movies once again, because of the impact (no pun intended) they can have on the viewer. It is the one time during the movie when everyone has some kind of reaction. Today’s high tech recording using HD and 3D and Super-duper-mega Mo can provide that extra detail where you can now see face cheeks flutter when bodies hit the ground. Think of the artistic montages that could be put together with footage so slow and so clear.
Crashing is such a huge reality of this sport most of us have experienced while pushing ourselves to that next level, whether it’s on the mountain or in the city. Falling is in no way glamorous but it happens to all of us so we can relate to the act of going for it but not exactly getting it sometimes. Embrace the carnage and bring back the Crash segment.