Gone are the days when backcountry skiers could only watch films of extreme skiers dropping out of helicopters.
With the burgeoning popularity of backcountry skiing, and the increasing prevalence of environmentalism, backcountry ski movies have become increasingly available and enjoyable.
Keep the stoke alive with this list of our favorite human-powered ski movies.
Zabardast follows a group of French phenoms including Leo Taillefer and Thomas Delfino (joined by American snowboarder Zac Mills), as they travel through Pakistan’s Karakoram range in search of the steep spines of Biacherahi Tower.
This ski film is styled as a travel journey, giving you insights into the minds of the skiers as they climb and ski impossibly steep lines in incredibly remote surroundings. The format of the movie allows you to really see what the skiers are thinking about as they stand atop these ski lines, so you’re exposed to everything going on, from missing loved ones to avalanche conditions.
Zabardast stands as one of the finest backcountry ski expedition movies out there.
The Jeremy Jones Series (Deeper, Further, Higher)
It may be a snowboard series, but anyone who appreciates human-powered big mountain skiing can have nothing but respect for Jeremy Jones and his epic backcountry adventures.
Produced by TGR, the series (Deeper, Further, and Higher) follows Jones as he embarks on increasingly serious expeditions, culminating in a ski descent of the previously never-ridden Shangri La spines at 21,400ft in Nepal.
The Fifty Project with Cody Townsend
Cody Townsend was catapulted into the spotlight after heli-skiing The Crack in MSP’s Days of My Youth. But after tiring of 80 foot airs and stomping straight-lines, he set off on a completely different trajectory.
The Fifty Project, which is still a work in progress, is not so much a ski movie as a series of short films, each documenting an attempt or descent of a line from Chris Davenport’s Fifty Classic Ski Descents of North America – a list which includes some of the most hardcore ski mountaineering lines on the continent.
Cody keeps it real, jump-turning couloirs in terrible conditions, turning back on lines, and sharing his decision-making process as he goes. This is a must-watch backcountry ski movie for anyone who who has even the remotest interest in ski mountaineering.
We’ve embedded Cody’s playlist of currently released episodes above. Keep checking back for new episodes!
The Sky Piercer
Aoraki is the tallest peak in New Zealand and one of the toughest mountains in the world to find in skiable condition. The Sky Piercer documents Xavier De Le Rue, Sam Smoothy, Nadine Wallner and Fraser McDougall’s trip down under to try and ski the infamous mountain.
A multi-sport trip, this movie has a bit of everything – surfing, rock climbing, mountaineering, and, of course, backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
From the Road
A ski guide comes back from a huge injury to snake a heli op and bag human-powered first tracks on the line which ended his season – oh and the line itself was the result of a meteorite which hit the peak way back when. It doesn’t get any cooler than that, does it?
From the Road follows a team of athletes as they climb and ski some of the classic Chugach heli-ski lines from the road, but unfortunately doesn’t quite live up to how cool it should have been from that first paragraph.
This one is a little slow to get started, with a long team introduction and plenty of plugs for Dynafit. But once it gets started, it goes hard. From a gnarly fall on Dimond to a redemption ski of Meteorite (a line from the 50 Classics – see above) From the Road delivers some classic backcountry ski movie action.
Monumental is a movie unlike the others in this list, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service by highlighting the backcountry ski opportunities in five of the most popular National Parks.
With stops in Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, and Olympic National Park, Monumental showcases some of the most beautiful terrain in the States. A strong skier list including Andy Mahre, Lynsey Dyer, Griffin Post, Colter Hinchliffe, Kalen Thorien, and Greg Hill doesn’t hurt either.
Watch the full Monumental film here.