For a long time now, Euro ski films have played second fiddle to North American productions. That time is over.
Call this the “Super Mario” – or maybe “Super Fabian.” A screenshot of Fabian Lentsch from Passenger.
For a long time now, European ski films have played second fiddle to bigger, radder, more prominent North American productions. With the release of Legs of Steel’s two-year project, Passenger, that time is definitively over: Europe has a new standard-bearer of freeski filmmaking.
Okay, I might be downplaying the role of Field Productions up in Scandinavia, whose recent releases (2013’s Supervention comes to mind) have brought European ski filmmaking to new levels. And who can forget the recent work of Candide Thovex, including 2012’s Few Words and his extremely successful “One of Those Days” edits?
But there’s been a gaping void on the German/Austrian side of things, that huge segment of the skiing population that still seems more fascinated by ski racing than by the freeski movement. Well, that void has just been filled by Legs of Steel, whose sixth film prove themselves to be a legitimate heavyweight in the ski-filmmaking business.
Here’s Fabian Lentsch again and yes, that’s his shadow down there.
Why is Passenger so good, you ask? I could talk about production values; about 4K video quality; about awesome drone shots and globe-spanning locations from the streets of Calgary to the peaks of Alaska to the parks of Europe; but I’m going to talk about the skiing instead, because it’s really, really good—like, next-level good.
My enthusiasm centers largely around two segments towards the end of the film: the Alaska segment and the Stubai Glacier park shoot. In Alaska, lines get flashed in record time with an awe-inspiring, aggressive ski style from the likes of Sven Kueenle, Tobi Tritscher, Tom Leitner, Sam Smoothy and Fabian Lentsch—the latter who takes the concept of “billy-goating” to new dimensions by literally bouncing a couple hundred meters down an Alaskan spine.
Can someone please explain what the hell is going on?
The Stubai segment is an instant-classic Legs of Steel park extravaganza: an insane setup, way too many tricks to keep track of (was that a nose-butter double? A double cork seatbelt japan? A tail-butter to Screamin’ Seaman? What the hell is going on?) from a rock-star cast, and outstanding cinematography to top it off. The grande finale, of course, is a massive multi-skier, multi-feature train of the kind that only Legs of Steel could pull off. German engineering at work again.
While the original Legs of Steel crew has matured as skiers, continuing to throw down at a very high level alongside the young guns, they’ve also matured as a production company, luring a host of new skiers and filmmakers alike to swell their ranks and create the best classic-style ski movie (hard rock and even harder action) that central Europe has produced in a long time. Not even the film’s somewhat corny, meandering narration can spoil that achievement. So rock on, Legs Of Steel—if you didn’t before, you’ve definitely got our attention now.