Freestyle without fuel: Leeward Cinema’s ‘My Own Two Feet’ dumps mechanized travel for wilderness bliss
In the current crop of ski and snowboard films you hear a lot about “progression.” Progressive tricks, progressive terrain, every movie tries to offer a glimpse of the future of skiing or snowboarding.
But with the threat of global warming, what is the future of snowy winter fun? Is burning endless gallons of helicopter fuel filming double-corking tricks from the bird’s-eye perspective progression or a coffin nail?
For green-minded South Lake Tahoe-based production company Leeward Cinema, progression doesn’t stop when their riders land a sick trick. In Leeward’s new release, “My Own Two Feet,” progression goes a step ” or actually thousands of steps ” beyond by introducing a new standard of energy use for the ski film industry: The film was shot in the Sierra wilderness using only human power for snow travel, the first such movie of its kind.
The brainchild of Leeward director and founder Chris Edmands, “My Own Two Feet” tells the story of a winter’s worth of adventures that found a top-notch crew of riders, including Jeremy Jones, Dave Downing, Tom Burt, Josh Dirksen and Tim Eddy, splitboarding, camping and shredding one step at a time.
Though the message of the movie is inherent, for Edmands, the genesis of the project was personal.
“We’re not trying to tell anyone how to live their life in the movie,” said Edmands. “I just knew I could produce a cool adventure snowboard film made with maximum fun and minimal fuel, so why not do it.”
Removing the hurry-up offense of machinery gave Edmands and his fellow cinematographers Kyle Schwartz and Jason Hogan ample opportunity to capture moments they would have blown right by pinning it on a sled.
“There is just something about taking the human pace,” said Edmands. “It might take longer, but you miss nothing and experience everything along the way.”
Keeping the snowmobiles on the trailer also allowed the film to showcase terrain that has never been seen in a freestyle shred flick. Burt, a featured rider and local snowboard legend, hopes the film opens riders’ minds to the rich challenges that can be found in these wild Sierra locales.
“It’s the first snowboard film to show that there is a ton of amazing terrain out there that is only accessible by human power,” said Burt. “Too many people get stuck in the trend of resorts, snowmobiles and helicopters. Even though it’s a lot of work, hiking for your turns is an incredible experience.”
With a diverse cast of rippers, some backcountry Jedis, some virgins, “My Own Two Feet” also shares a perspective on many riders’ first taste of winter camping. Documenting both the pains and pleasures of such cold nights out under the stars adds an element that both aspiring winter explorers and veterans will enjoy.
“Leeward’s film is really fun to watch,” said Burt. “It’s not just about outrageous footage. The variety of shots and stories will appeal to a lot of people because they are adventures that everyday Sierra riders can relate to.”
If watching a talented crew summit Mount Whitney mid-winter, then proceed to boost 540s at its rocky base, sounds like the “progressive” footage you’ve been waiting for, then don’t miss out on catching Leeward’s “My Own Two Feet” at one of its local premieres.