Is Legs of Steel a heavy metal band? Its artwork features skulls and lightning bolts. Each winter, it tours Europe, performing in front of fanatic crowds, and one member has "LOS" tattooed inside his lower lip.
But the members of Legs of Steel are not rock stars. Germany's Bene Mayr, Thomas Hlawitschka and Tobi Reindl, and the U.K.'s Paddy Graham are skiers, and Legs of Steel is the name of their independent film outfit. They became friends competing on the European freeski circuit and they've lived together in Innsbruck, Austria, since 2009. In September 2010, they released their first ski film, "The Pilot."
Mayr, now recovered from a knee injury he suffered at the Red Bull Linecatcher in January, is now training for slopestyle for the upcoming Winter X Europe. "[X Games] is always a big thing," he said. "I'll just try to do my best and represent Legs of Steel." Filming for a 2011 release is currently under way, and LOS is currently in Canada heli-skiing.
The film project came from a shared passion for skiing and metal music. "In all the other ski movies it would always be hip-hop and dub step or whatever," Mayr said. "It wasn't like the old ski movies with super cool rock and just having fun with your friends. That kind of got lost."
The group set out to recapture that, putting together a budget from sponsors and working with several cinematographers over the 2010 season. This year, LOS is working with one filmer, Andre Nutini, throughout the whole season. The name comes from the foursome's skiing style. "Before we jump we say, 'Go deep,' which means you should jump far because it looks better," Mayr said. "You need [legs of steel], and if you don't land, your legs are weak."
"The Pilot" features park and backcountry jumps deconstructed from multiple angles. "What we decided to do different is the way of filming," Mayr said. "[We would] make a certain trick, film it from a lot of different angles. If we produce a shot, it's kind of scripted. We want it to look exactly that way." There is also a cringe-worthy reel of crashes mixed with footage from a mosh pit.
Mayr has filmed segments with Poor Boyz Productions and others, but producing was a new challenge. "[We are] really good friends who love to ski and share the same passion," Mayr said. "That's what we try to show in the movie."