The air-volution of "la glisse"
The french call it 'la glisse', that sensation of weightlessness when you slide on skis, snowboards, surfboards, skateboards etc. Using gravity for momentum you're almost flying, a controlled drop, with a tremendous sense of freedom.
Ours is an ancient desire to soar through the air like a bird. Throughout human history gravity has confined us to the planet's surface. We can tack back and forth across ocean and horizons or climb up and down mountain ranges, but unlike birds we're always connected by gravity to the surface, only able to move along the X and Y axes, (sideways, forwards and backwards) two of the four tangible dimensions we exist in.
Are humans really meant to fly?
The next generation stands on the shoulders of those before them. over the past 50 years performance levels, technical skills and sporting prowess have increased by orders of magnitude. XYZ explores the last two decades of the 20th century where Generation-X saw the rise of snowboarding and paragliding. Gen-Y led in the renaissance of skiing and brought surfing to land locked countries. And now, Gen-Z, equipped with GoPros, drones and a next level attitude are playing in a completely different universe from what was once a frowned upon sub culture.
XYZ is an historical retrospective documentary born from the archives of Hillbrook Media cinematographer, Trevor Avedissian. It's set along the cutting edge of human prowess and exploit in what became known as "extreme sports" towards the end of the 20th and into the 21st century.
With an important component of production yet to be completed, my mission is to crowdfund the remaining production (interviews) and post production stages (editing & soundmix) to bring this documentary to completion.
Premier date TBA but aiming for Xmas 2024 au Cinema de Verbier, 40 years since the original cut of the Verbier Connection.
Before snowboarding there was only skiing. Champions in its competitive ranks were F.I.S. sanctioned slalom, g.s. or downhill racers. Then along came freestyle skiing, breaking all the rules and the rigid confines of F.I.S. alpine racing, with disciplines such as moguls, aerials and ballet.
By the late 70s the seminal lifestyle sport, surfing, brought its vibes and influence from the ocean to the mountains, after all snow is just frozen water. As if in sync, around the world, prototypes emerged from the USA, Europe and Australia so that by the mid 80s the new sport of snowboarding was born. Subsequently it totally eclipsed skiing's cool factor (both alpine racers & freestylers) for almost the next decade.
In that time tribal tensions between skiers and snowboarders manifested. Many put away skis for the foreseeable future, the snowboard their new weapon of choice. Many skiers took to telemark skiing and back country touring. Some though stood proud and defiant with their skis at the lift line. But to many it was the dark ages of skiing...
At the same time all this was happening, another new sport emerged whose protagonists embodied the zeitgeist of the time, the free-flight & base crowd, swapping hangliders for paragliders. This brought a different milieu and influence to big mountain recreation, which on the pointy end led to the wingsuit flyers...
As snowboarders bickered with skiers, they also bickered among themselves. Early days adherents became "old school". "New school" emerged with the younger generation, skateboarder influenced, street scene, baggy pants, gangsta vibes. These new schoolers or "jibbers" rode the parks and pipes. But further divergence developed with 'freeriders' who sought the powder and big open faces. The holy grail synonymous with "la glisse".
Once the ski industry picked itself up, brushed off its old image, changed ski design completely (namely to enable fakie like a snowboard) we saw the renaissance of skiing. By this time many who grew up skiing were ready to put down their snowboards and pick up these new skis. But the game has changed. The new equipment and young blood has taken it all to the next level. That next level involves air time. Lots of it. Bigger and bigger. Across all glisse sports.
As Jeff Hakman noted in a recent interview,
"if you arent in the air, youre not in the game".
XYZ features some of the who's who of extreme sport innovators such as Jose Fernandes, Philippe Bernard, Dominique Perret, Tony Hawke, Bill Bryan, John Eaves, John Falkiner, Bertrand Denervaud, Serge Vitelli, Shaun Palmer , and the list goes on...