Teton Gravity Research and Anthill Films “re-imagined” the “ultimate skier’s dream—a powder day” — but seen through the dreams of extreme freestyle mountain bikers.
Yes, dirt falls from the skies of Whistler like powder while ecstatic mountain athletes rise and dance their bikes down a surreal landscape.
According to TGR the filming of the segment Dirt Blizzard — segment of the film UnReal — is described as a “climax in the history of action-sports cinematography.” As you’ll see in the film, thousands of pounds of peat moss was dispersed or shot into the air using a Toro Super leaf blower, leaving Vancouver hardware stores sold out of peat moss for weeks.
The icons said: “Production of the Dirt Blizzard segment took place late last fall, as the bike park season was winding down. Preparations for the shoot began on a cold morning with the masses of peat moss being dumped in front of Whistler Blackcomb’s Administration building. Small dirt movers, or ‘park-rats’ transported the brown pow up Whistler Mountain to the top of the Fitzsimmons Express chairlift. The project required so much peat moss, companies in Vancouver eventually would no longer sell to the Anthill production crew, as they were depleting the coastal inventory. The team was obligated to enlist nondescript friends in order to acquire the hoards of peat necessary for creating the Dirt Blizzard.”
Said Chris McLeod, Whistler’s supervisor of industry, film, and communications: “You could feel the athletes’ anticipation of laying fresh tire tracks in the deep dirt.”
One of the largest challenges TGR and Anthill faced while filming the segment was keeping the piles of peat and production equipment from public view so as to avoid spoiling the “UnReal biker’s dream,” the teams said.
Here’s another crazy part of the story: “In addition, to avoid disturbing the regular 10 a.m. bike park opening and lift operations, everything had to be cleaned and moved away from the mountain’s base area by 9:30am each morning. For three consecutive days, the production crew began blowing dirt across the bike park, trees, and lift towers at first light. Once the cinematographers were one-hundred percent, the athletes had minimal time to nail their lines.”
UnReal the film is being released globally now on DVD and Blu-Ray and is available through online retailers Tetongravity.com, Amazon.com, Backcountry.com, and iTunes.
Statements called it the “ultimate conjunction of athletic prowess and jaw-dropping cinematography, and no segment of the film highlights this better than Dirt Blizzard, a visual feast at the film’s end.”
The film was co-produced by Teton Gravity Research and Anthill Films; written, directed, and edited by Anthill Films. Art direction and additional writing were provided by Good Fortune Collective. The film is presented by Sony in association with Shimano and Trek. Additional support for the film comes from Bike Magazine, Evoc, Knolly, Pinkbike.com, Rocky Mountain, Western Digital, and Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
Since 1996, TGR has worked with top athletes in their respective disciplines to capture, celebrate, and bring to life the passion and enthusiasm associated with action sports for 20 years this winter — more to come on that.
TGR has production experience on seven continents including commercial work, branded entertainment, original television programming, and 35 award-winning feature films; member of 1% For The Planet, BICEP, Surfrider Foundation, and Protect Our Winters.
Anthill Films is a group of award-winning action sport storytellers that “aim to create work that inspires a way of life. Born out of mountain biking, but influenced by all action sports, Anthill Films lives to play in British Columbia’s mountains, oceans, and rivers. This lifestyle makes them who they are and shapes what they do.”