The Art of Life, and Flight
(Screenshot from the Art of Flight)
As you can see here, The Art of Flight isn’t one of your regular gear/brand promoting snowboard videos. This documentary produced by Travis Rice, arguably the best powder snowboarder in the world, and directed by Curt Morgan was meant to inspire today’s youth to get out into the world and discover what’s possible, whether it be on a snowboard or not. However, its likely that snowboarders will be the most ecstatic viewers. The film opens with footage of Travis Rice gearing up for what is undoubtedly going to be some epic snowboarding, and then he starts narrating.
“Ya know it’s funny, what’s happening to us. Our lives have become digital. Our friends, now virtual. And, anything you could ever wanna know is just a click away. Experiencing the world through second-hand information isn’t enough. If we want authenticity we have to initiate it. We will never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it. It’s this self-discovery that inevitably takes us to the wildest places on earth.”
This really hit home, considering we are growing up in this day and age. According to mobile statistics, the average American person spends 90 minutes a day on their phone, which doesn’t seem like much; however, that adds up to 23 days a year, which then adds up to an average of 3.9 years of a person’s life spent staring at a two-by-four inch electronic screen.
As an explorer Travis leads by example, and when he says “wildest places on Earth,” he really means it. This film took two years and two million dollars to complete, and in doing so they snowboarded in some of the most isolated places in the world; Alaska, and Patagonia, Chile. The first snowboarding of the film took place in the Alaskan Tordrillo Mountain Range , where they were lucky enough to hit some untouched terrain, as seen below.
(Screenshot from the Art of Flight)
Patagonia was less successful, and yet no less gnarly. With a reluctant pilot Travis and the rest of the crew fly out to one of the harshest places on the planet, where they have to jump over rocks and escape incoming hostile weather only by swimming across a frozen river. While in Chile, they not only show footage of snowboarding, but also of the local culture. Some may think that this takes away from the overall purpose of the film, which they perceive as to merely show gnarly snowboarding. Others perceive the purpose of the film as to show people what’s possible in this world, and so adding footage of local smiles in a far away place is seen to some as eye opening and a valuable part of the film.
They also made it to the most iconic places in the world of snowboarding, which included Revelstoke and Nelson in British Columbia, Aspen in Colorado, and Jackson in Wyoming. The footage from these places is one of the film’s real strengths. Here, the riders have the perfect terrain to push their limits. They do some incredible things, and since they are considered by most the best snowboarders in the world, they are invariably pushing the limits of humanity itself. These snowboarders include Travis Rice, Scotty lago, Nicolas Muller, Jeremy Jones, John Jackson, Mark Landvik, Eero Niemela, Jake Blauvelt, and David Carrier Porcheron. At least one of these names probably pops out to the average snowboarder.
One weakness of The Art of Flight could be how they spent the time waiting for good weather in Alaska. They basically drank beer, rode ATV’s, and blew stuff up with guns almost simultaneously. This could definitely be viewed as a poor example of what to do for fun while bored; however, to some people it’s perfect. Have a look for yourself.
(Screenshot from the Art of Flight)
All in all, compared to other snowboard videos The Art of Flight really stands out in that it does more than just promote Red Bull, it documents the evolution of human beings on snowboards, in location and ability. The unique terrain at each place forces the riders into a different style of riding. Other snowboard films are mostly about showing off the abilities of one, maybe two, snowboarders in one type of environment. They say, “here is the best,” which is disheartening to most viewers because it can create a psychic separation between the viewer, and “the best,” which is then perceived as unattainable. The Art of Flight film isn’t exclusive, meaning it hints at the fact that the viewer is just as human as these professionals, it’s almost as if Travis is speaking to the average snowboarder, saying “C’mon, why not try? You’re alive.”
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