It's a rare ski film that earns accolades lofty as those quoted in the teaser above. Rarer still: filmmakers and skiers create such a "groundbreaking" ski movie, and then give it away.
Happily, that is exactly what Sweetgrass Productions will do tonight at 6 p.m. MST. The entire film -- SOLITAIRE will stream for free at Outside Online. At 7 p.m. MST, filmmaker Nick Waggoner and skiers Kim Havell and Stephan Drake will be available for a live chat via a link on Outside.
Why the title SOLITAIRE? Waggoner told Powder Magazine, "At the core of SOLITAIRE is this idea of the lone, solitary skier, in the middle of a massive darkness, dealing with the tension of the unknown and what lies ahead."
Waggoner had the time in between marathon editing sessions -- prior to the release of SOLITAIRE -- to answer a couple questions for The Huffington Post:
What was your worst equipment malfunction in South America?
I'd say the worst malfunction we've ever had was a hard drive crash last November. The only back up happened to be in Buenos Aires, and a next-day flight down there ended up being cheaper than data recovery. But I flew standby, so a 3 day trip ended up being a 6 day trip, so I was stranded in the airport, sleeping on the floor for 3 nights. Every hotel in town was booked. And you may ask why not FedEx the drive? But even FedEx is powerless to the South American hand, and lots of things get stolen or don't show up, or show up with nothing inside. You can't hide down there...it's always a struggle.
So you have to learn to adapt?
Yeah, one of our crew lost his camera charger in Bolivia, but found a similar model in a bizarre electronics market in La Paz after several hours of sifting through bins. When he got home he realized that the pins didn't line up, but managed with a lighter and a knife to reroute the charge. All in the confines of a hotel bathroom. There's about a 100 stories like that..
Best part of the trip?
The best part of the trip for me was Peru, camping at 14000 ft for 3 weeks. We climbed up to 20000ft, moving across glaciers that would stop your mother's heart, and threatened to stop mine. I guess we never view what we do as dangerous, but then there are moments when you look between your feet at a black abyss, and you realize how far out it is, and the potential there is for death. How most people live most of their lives on paved streets.
WATCH Sweetgrass Productions' SOLITAIRE teasers and a sampling of their other work: