A co-worker of mine recently watched "The Ordinary Skier," the new documentary starring Seth Morrison that was made by Oakley's 1242 Productions and directed by Constantine "CP" Papanicolaou. When I asked my colleague what he thought of the film, he said, "If Seth has an ego, it's completely buried under significant layers of pathos. I haven't seen proper extreme skiing shot at that level of detail in years."
I couldn't agree more. Which is why we're awarding "The Ordinary Skier" the title of Best Ski Biopic That Isn't Entirely Ego-Centric.
If you're expecting your typical Seth Morrison film -- the kind where he charges down huge Alaskan lines accessed via gas-chugging helicopter -- then you will be disappointed. But if you're looking to get to know the elusive Seth Morrison and how he came to be, "The Ordinary Skier" will deliver. Added my opinionated co-worker, "CP told an intimate story and paired it with the most intimate form of skiing there is: the mountaineering stuff."
Over the two years it took to film this project, Morrison traveled from South America to Chamonix, France, for his first real foray into ski mountaineering. "Until my time in Chamonix, I'd never done the kind of skiing that requires climbing with ice axes, crampons and ropes," Morrison wrote recently. "But while filming for this movie, it would be an easy day if we didn't have to rappel or use a tool of some sort."
The film casts a realistic light on what it's like being a pro skier: They work at Taco Bell and do construction, they ski bad, icy snow. It is part biography of Morrison (from his ski racing youth to his rebellious, hair-dying twenties); part tribute to our sport's extreme skiing roots.
Other athletes make appearances to praise Morrison or wax poetic on the trials of pro-skier-hood, including JP Auclair, Kye Petersen, Pep Fujas, Tanner Hall, Sean Pettit, and Glen Plake. But still, there appears to be very little ego in this film. It may be a film about Morrison, but it's really about something much deeper than one man; it's about what drives us to step outside our comfort zones and the risks and rewards involved with doing so. And perhaps for the first time in a ski film, Morrison is portrayed for what he actually is: Human.