The writings on the wall

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From the Winter 2007 issue

On the way to last fall’s MSP movie premiere in Whistler, I stopped by the somewhat infamous 3040 house to see if anyone there had the new phone number of a friend of mine. “He’s on the wall” came the response. One of the occupants of the house has been maintaining a wall-mounted list of phone numbers, dubbed “People Who Matter,” for at least a decade. I’m sure this idea isn’t that unique, but the title is somewhat catchy. And although I’ve seen the list many times, for some reason on the night of the “Push” premiere, it made me contemplate who I’d put on such a list.

As I started running through names in my head, I quickly realized that my list was clearly that of a skier’s. Who else would have “bootfitter,” “ski tech” and “patrol line” near the top of his list? I already have the number of my physiotherapist posted on my fridge. Of course, I would have a lengthy list of ski reps—the one who asked me to judge a bikini contest during the Telus WSSF a few years back would be at the top.

To further the inquiry, I had a good look at the original People Who Matter and asked a few others who they would put on their list. It seemed that ski partners ranked above other friends. No one mentioned an interior decorator or lawyer. It was at this point that I concluded that an examination of a skier’s speed dial, auto-ringer or People Who Matter may be the most telling indication that skiers can have very different priorities than non-skiers.

One priority that skiers do not share with non-skiers is attending ski movie premieres. Every season a new crop of ski films is released. Film companies often take their new releases on tour, so depending on where you live it could be anywhere between October and January when a particular fi lm rolls through town. Every year in Whistler, I pay my $20 to board the village gondola or get a seat at Millennium Place to see the latest from MSP, TGR and others. Invariably the evenings involve drinks before the premiere and many more after. At some point in the evening, for roughly an hour, the movie comes on—usually much later in the evening than initially scheduled.

The MSP “Push” premiere last fall followed the same format. The Roundhouse in Whistler’s sub-alpine played the movie on three large HD screens. As always the fi lm was solid, but judging by the continued socializing throughout the screening, I would wager that many guests were there more for social rather than cinematic interests. Like most premieres, the night was a chance to get psyched about the upcoming ski season more than it was to see what a handful of pros got up to last season. It was also a chance to see good friends you hadn’t seen since last winter—those who followed the snow south or were off working in logging and fi shing camps or the city for the summer, or perhaps just those who hang in different circles when the snow melts.

I’d wager that there weren’t any non-skiers in attendance at the “Push” premiere that night. In fact, most non-skiers would likely scoff at the notion of paying money to attend such an event. Yet the event was sold out well in advance and all in attendance were perfectly happy to spend roughly the price of the DVD to see the film in the company of friends and fellow skiers. Ski movie premieres, all ski movie premieres, fill a critical spot in a skier’s agenda simply because they are attended by other people who matter.

For more info about tour dates:

MSP Films

Teton Gravity


Chris Lennon
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