Sweetgrass Productions' "Hand Cut" Reviewed

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Most ski movies these days have park and pipe jib sessions, gansta’-influenced sound tracks, and corporate sponsors. But not

Hand Cut

, the first publicly released movie from Sweetgrass Productions, an up- and-coming company started by Director Nick Waggoner. The movie, set to be released this Friday in Aspen, showcases the simplicity of untapped powder lines, getting a word from the wise, and reaching a peak using only human power.

“We film in places that are accessible to all skiers,” Waggoner said. “Most people can’t relate to paying $4,000 for a week of skiing.”

Hand Cut

features scenes with exposed lines in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, Silverton, Colorado, and Revelstoke, BC. It's organic feel captures the harmony between a skier and a mountain even while showing contrasting cultures of blue-collar work and backcountry skiing. Colorado local John-Alex Mason provides the blues-based soundtrack for

Hand Cut

, giving the film an even better hand-made feel.

Mixed in with the big Alaskan lines, skin tracks, and backcountry booters are interviews with railroad workers, miners, and mountain men from an era long gone. “Now it’s all recreation, but mining is what made these towns. Yep, yep, mining is what made ’em,” Joe Todeschi, a 92-year old-miner from Silverton, says in the movie.

While the Sweetgrass team features icons such as World Extreme Telemark Skiing Champion Nick Devore and ski mountaineering legend John Chilton, they also showcase numerous Colorado, Alaska, and British Columbia locals. “It’s cool when you head up to British Columbia and the mail man can throw double back flips, those are the most fun skiers to work with,” Waggoner said.

Sweetgrass Productions will be heading to Alberta, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming on their tour. To get more information on the company or to buy the movie, go to




Carston Oliver in Las Lenas, Argentina.

Sweetgrass Production's "Solitare"

Sweetgrass Productions isn't your average film company. Instead of shooting urban jibs and heli-fueled big mountain lines, they've made a name for themselves by filming in-depth portraits of human-powered ski culture, with a side of pow shots (see their last film "Signatures"). They've spent the past two seasons in South America shooting their 2011 production, "Solitare." Here's a behind the scenes look.