Far Off Film Locations
Travel around the globe and see some of WME's most unusual ski shoots.
Greece: No Turning Back (2014)
It's probably not at the top of your ski-destination wish list, but if you're looking for more than just snow-culture, tsipouro, and communion with the gods-it should be.
Tyler Ceccanti and Josh Bibby never thought they'd find themselves in the ancient land of Greece, especially with the objective of skiing its highest and most mythologized peak, Mount Olympus, but Ceccanti and Bibby wind through cobblestone villages and 2,500-year-old ruins to see what the Balkans can offer a couple of freeskiers. Trekking on horseback with gear in tow, in awe of the winter landscape and surprised by the southern European country's unique skiing prospects, the two find themselves atop the Throne of Zeus, humbled as they discover how unpredictable "skiing with the gods" can be.
Nepal: Chasing Shadows (2015)
The crew and athletes took in all sides of Nepal, from tropical jungles and busy cities to mountaintops and alpine lakes; meeting the people of Nepal was a highlight.
Despite weeks of delays and travel mishaps, snowboarders Rob Kingwill and Seth Wescott make their way to Nepal, one of the world's most visually striking and culturally rich countries. Kingwill, always an optimist, says, "It's not really an adventure until something goes wrong." Taking full advantage of even more delays in-country, they explore Katmandu and the Nepalese countryside. Finally, the two snowboarders arrive at 17,000 feet in the Himalayas, and they carve and float across the notoriously challenging Annapurna Range. Back at base camp, Wescott and Kingwill share their love for snowboarding with Sherpas and local staff. The guys find that in a location like Nepal, it's easy to reflect on why they do what they do.
India: Vertical Reality (1994)
Driving to Delhi went faster, the combination of orange/yellow light in the hazy, smoke-filled skies gave an overload of sensory enlightenment to my soul.
India puts adventure back into the phrase "adventure skiing." Facilities are limited, but the thrill of skiing is plentiful. One quickly realizes the thrill of skiing has very little to do with the amenities and more to do with the people who share the experience with you. Most of the ski areas in India are geared toward Indian tourists, rather than foreign skiers. This is beneficial for those who wish to mix exotic travel with skiing and escape the frenetic pace of modern ski areas.
Morocco: Escape to Ski (1988)
Charming the snake? "Do we have to talk about that one?"
Once the group of Americans reached the ski area, they discovered that some things never really change. "There were condos everywhere and one hotel/restaurant called Chez Ju Ju. But we ate the sandwiches we made in our Marrakesh hotel room. There was enough adventure." The ski resort is called Oukaimeden and is 46 miles from Marrakesh in the rugged Atlas Mountains at an altitude of 8,540 feet. It's the highest ski lift in Africa, a definite tourist plus and the Moroccan Tourist Office brochure says that "the road itself is worth the visit." Sisselman agrees, "The scenery is really spectacular and I seriously - OK, somewhat seriously - would recommend the trip to a skier looking for a really non-typical ski vacation." Then he laughed, "Now, ask me about the toilets." We didn't.
Kenya:Cold Fusion (2001)
Samburu Game Preserve is a massive savannah, well off the beaten path.
You ride out into the park in a Land Rover early in the morning and again late in the afternoon. We had no idea what to expect there because none of us had ever been to Africa before. The animals were everywhere. Big animals. Thousands of them. I was like a madman with my cameras, shooting stills and film and again more stills. I remember the first morning in the park where we saw a giraffe and got really excited. By the third day, we'd probably seen 3,000 giraffes. "Enough giraffes," we told our driver. "Let's go see some leopards." At one point we wanted to get out of the car and stroll around, stretch our legs. The driver wouldn't hear of it. "See that bush right there?" he said, pointing to some vegetation close to the car. He stopped the car and turning off the engine. Gradually our eye adjusted to the shadows, and we could see three lions there, watching.
"Erukenya" Summit Camp:Cold Fusion (2001)
With global warming threatening one of the last glaciers in Africa, the Warren Miller crew decided they'd better ski it before it was too late.
From the 16,000-foot summit of Point Lenana, one of three peaks that comprise the Mount Kenya massif, we can see Kilimanjaro's shiny white dome rising in the south, the blue of the Indian Ocean lying to the east, and the lush green canopy of jungle spreading to the north. Is this really a place to go skiing? The Masai call this peak we're on, Africa's second highest, "Erukenya" - a mountain of clouds - and, true to its name, it's obscured by weather more than nine months out of the year. For the Masai, it's a sacred symbol of strength. To the rest of the world, it's simply Mount Kenya. Situated almost directly on the equator, the mountain endures scorching days and freezing nights. Weather comes in from all directions, usually with little warning. A torrential rainstorm can be followed by a spectacular sunset that leads into a raging blizzard. The massif's two highest peaks, Nelion and Batian, rise to more than 17,000 feet with thousand-foot-vertical walls leading to their summits and famous Diamond Couloir in between. Just beneath these twin towers is Point Lenana.
Iran: Cold Fusion (2001)
This was the heart of the Persian Empire, an ancient wellspring from which sprung the philosophy, law, religion, and social structure of modern civilization.
Despite a long and glorious history, the thing most of us know about Iran is that a group of Americans was held hostage there during the tumult that accompanied the deposing of the Shah and the installment of the Ayatollah Khomeini in the late 1970s. Since then we have thought of Iran as the enemy. In spite of what extremist rhetoric, TV news soundbites, and highly publicized flag burnings would suggest, Iranians are fun-loving people who enjoy music and color and laughter. How ironic, then, that they struggle to preserve those traditions in a nation that has faded to the starkness of black and white.
Kazakhstan: Ticket to Ride (2013)
Kazakhstan isn't exactly on most skiers' bucket lists. But that's where J.T. Holmes, Espen Fadnes, and Chris Anthony find surprising development and some of the world's driest snow.
Holmes, Fadnes, and Anthony find themselves flying in a Russian Mi-8 helicopter that previously belonged to Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev, a machine more of a flying school bus than a chopper. Then, Holmes and Fadnes take their speed riding - skiing with a parachute - to a new level in Central Asia's powder-blessed mountains. Meanwhile, Chris Anthony shows the boys a little piece of his personal paradise.