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By Sally Francklyn
You read that headline correctly: The all-female ski film Pretty Faces sold out its world premiere at Boulder Theater last night in Colorado. Nearly 1,000 people filled chairs, sat on the floor, and stood two-deep along walls to watch the movie, an all-girl project directed by pro skier Lynsey Dyer.
Several years in the making, this ski film differed from most not only for its lack of male-driven segments, but for its mission. About making this movie, Dyer says, “We all knew that it needed to be done.”
“The fact that we brought all of these ladies together in one place—bringing together their talent and also their presence, is what’s most important,” Dyer says. See the trailer and more about Pretty Faces here.
While I anticipated the all-female ski film to be, well, “froofy,” the fact that Dyer herself is a hard-charging athlete herself translated to the film. It featured other hard-chargers, including fan favorites Rachael Burks and Angel Collinson, as well as unique POV from endearing groms, insight from role models like Wendy Fisher, and other high-energy segments that drew hoots and hollers from the crowd.
“The amount of enthusiasm from so many people about this movie coming out is only going to get better once people see the film,” says pro freeskier Elyse Saugstad, who appeared in several segments. “To see the excitement in so many women—young, old—about this movie is really cool.”
Saugstad is married to pro skier Cody Townsend. “Cody works so hard at what he does, and I’m inspired by his work ethic and passion for skiing. At the end of the day, I’m out there doing the same thing he is—skiing, loving it, and at the same level,” she says. “Sponsors can’t take away my passion and my love for skiing.”
With many young girls in the audience and lining up for autographs, I asked Saugstad about being a role model. “It matters to me how I speak, act and ski 100 percent. Because even if I affect even a handful of young girls, that is such a big deal for me,” she says. “When I was young, there were people that I looked up to and inspired me, and if I had that same affect on someone, it just touches my heart. Because of that, I think about the way I carry myself. I try to be an ambassador for skiing.”
For example, when Saugstad sees another skier take off his or her avalanche airbag for any reason, she says something like, “No! You’re in the backcountry. You don’t take that off. It’s not so much that you think you’re okay; it’s that you’re setting yourself up like a role model as a skier for young people looking up to you.” When Saugstad was caught in the 2012 Stevens Pass avalanche, an avalanche airbag saved her life.
When I had a ski accident two and a half years ago, the fact that I was wearing a helmet saved my life. It is so important to me to wear a helmet while you ski, a topic I spoke to Angel Collinson about. “I always wear (a helmet), for all the obvious reasons. I never ski without one, actually,” Collinson says. The film included a segment of the skiers talking about snow conditions and avalanche risk—clearly something these women take as seriously as protection like helmets and other avy gear.
It was so great that this film will undoubtedly inspire so many young girls and will influence them for the rest of their lives.
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