Red Bull stars shine at Olympic Valley |

Red Bull stars shine at Olympic Valley

Michelle Parker laughs while being interviewed about her viewings at Return to Winter by Paddy O'Connell.
Michelle Parker, Paddy O’Connell

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — Some of Lake Tahoe’s top winter athletes were on hand at the Olympic Valley Lodge to celebrate winter as part of Red Bull’s return to Winter Film Fest.

Tahoe’s Michelle Parker kicked things off Saturday night, showcasing a pair of videos that highlight women in skiing and environmental advocacy.

Parker’s “Nexus” is the first ski film directed and produced entirely by women. Parker’s segment features mountain biker and skier Brooklyn Bell as they explore skiing in Girdwood, Alaska.

“I’ve never been to the mountain with that many women in my entire career,” said Parker. “I’ve told time and time again, ‘one girl is enough’ or ‘no girls allowed today.’ So, it feels really special to celebrate that with other women out there.”

Parker’s other segment came from her “Originate” series. During the season three, episode two episode title “Symbiosis” Parker heads to Vancouver Island, Canada to protect old growth trees, something the Tahoe native said has become important to her during two decades of skiing.

“I’ve been a professional skier for 20 years and for a longtime I just lived for the next turn,” said Parker.

Parker and other environmental advocates stayed on a portaledge in the trees for roughly two weeks as part of a broader effort to protect the Fairy Creek area from logging.

“It was a pretty big trip to be honest,” said Parker. “It was really powerful to see the dedication that other people have to that cause and what they are doing and also to just be there.”

The Fairy Creek blockade began in 2020 and a court injunction against further blockades has resulted in the arrest of more than 1,200 people, according to a September report from the Vancouver Sun. That injunction was extended until September 2023.

“Nexus” can be viewed at and “Originate” is available at

Rhalves relives lifelong dream

Local ski legend Daron Rahlves talked about his 2018 trip to the Swiss Alps where he set up a giant slalom course down big mountain terrain to compete against accomplished skier Jeremie Heitz.

After two years of work, the two accessed the course via ice pick and crampon, and then raced from the top of the 13,546-foot Hohberghorn in Switzerland’s Pennine Alps.

“We waited for two storm cycles to come through and it was just perfect,” said Rahlves. “We camped out, stayed overnight, skinned up, hiked up to the top, and then skied this thing.”

The video can be viewed at

Tahoe’s Russell shows off in “Ark”

Receiving perhaps the largest cheer from the audience was snowboarder Nick Russell, who showed off the recently released film “Ark.”

The film features Russell and 10 other snowboarders as they explore mountains from Japan to Austria.

The film debuted at Art Haus Cinema in Tahoe City in November. To view the trailer, visit

Nick Russell and Paddy O’ Connell joke on stage while on a panel at Return to Winter hosted by Palisades Tahoe.
Nick Russell, Paddy O’Connell

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