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“Nexus” Is the All-Women Ski Film l Wish I Saw Growing Up

“Nexus” is the first feature-length film that features all women skiers and is directed and produced by an all-female team.

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In Michelle Parker’s 19-year career as a pro skier, filming for “Nexus,” a new film presented by Arc’terxy, in the Alaskan Chugach Range this spring was the first time she’d ridden in a helicopter with all women. 

With filmers and photographers Sophie Danison, Katie Lozancich, Shannon Corsi, and Susie Thies lining up shots from the heli, Parker and Brooklyn Bell collaborated to choose their lines. They skied steep, intimidating terrain with an entire squad of women backing them up. 

“I never had the opportunity to film with a single female cinematographer, and in Alaska, we had Sophie, Katie, Shannon, and Susie,” Parker says. “Getting to the bottom of a line and hearing a woman’s voice on the radio. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so supported in the field that way.”

Parker and Bell’s trip to the Chugach was one of five segments in the new “Nexus” film, featuring an all-female cast and being directed, produced, and filmed predominantly by women. Nexus isn’t the first female ski film we’ve seen in the last few years. Other films like “Pretty Faces” and “The Approach Film” have made significant leaps in getting more women on screen, and tons of other small female-led projects have been popping up. “Nexus” is the first feature-length film that’s been entirely directed and produced by an all-female team. 

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten goosebumps watching a trailer for a ski film, but I’ll readily admit that I almost teared up watching the teaser for “Nexus.” I’m a self-identified movie cryer, but this one is different. Imagining my 12-year-old self watching the badass women on screen before the start of the season was pretty powerful. As “Nexus” director and executive producer Shannon Corsi puts it: “‘Nexus’ is the film we all wished we had growing up.”  

The film tells the stories of five distinct groups of skiers across North America, with segments shot in Revelstoke, the Cascades, Grand Teton National Park, and big Alaskan terrain. (Photo: Leslie Hittmeier)

The film tells the stories of five distinct groups of skiers across North America, with segments shot in Revelstoke, the Cascades, Grand Teton National Park, and big Alaskan terrain. Aside from an incredibly high caliber of skiing, there’s an emphasis on storytelling, sharing the perspectives of Sasha Dingle and Krystin Norman, daughters of Vietnamese immigrants, and Lucky Sackbauer and Ingrid Svenstag. They kit up with scrubs and PPE for shifts in the hospital after a day on the slopes. It’s a refreshing reminder of how many ways there are to dedicate your life to the mountains. 

Although the production crew has quite a bit of collective experience in ski and outdoor media, Corsi says they all kind of expected a big media company to be the ones to create a film like “Nexus.” But instead of waiting for that day, they figured: Why not do it ourselves? She, Danison, and Lozancich had that shared disappointment of seeing just one woman per movie or segment in films and believed they could do better. “It was really special to have all of the executive decisions on the creative for ‘Nexus’ made by women,” she says. “We had the freedom to tell these stories from an entirely female perspective, and I think the film comes across as very genuine due to that.”

(Photo: Katie Lozancich)

Veronica Paulsen says that as soon as they pushed the trailer out, messages from girls and women, young and old, filled her Instagram. “Everyone was like: ‘I wish I had this when I was a kid!’ There’s a real need for this kind of movie,” she says. In her segment, Paulsen and fellow Queen of Corbet’s Caite Zeliff travel to Revelstoke in search of big cliffs and pillow lines, connecting over their experience competing and pushing themselves into more significant terrain. Paulsen spends winters chasing big lines in Jackson Hole and said she hadn’t had the chance to ski in a big group of women like this and was surprised at how much the energy shifted. “It just gives you so much confidence,” she says. “When I watch Caite huck herself off a huge cliff, all of a sudden, I think: I can do it. Skiing with women, there’s so much camaraderie. We push each other and help each other pick lines. There’s so much collaboration.”

(Photo: Katie Lozancich)

Whether pointing your skis down something steep or picking up a camera and creating the film you want to see, what rings true throughout the movie is that seeing is believing. Seeing women taking leadership roles in the industry has a ripple effect and is an exciting force to get behind. 

“When I was 15 and getting my first sponsors, I didn’t think I could be a pro skier because there were so few women getting media attention,” Parker says. “I remember entering this space questioning myself all the time. Now women are taking up space and running the show. They’ve set an example, and now any woman, young or old, is going to see this and say, ‘Oh, that’s what I can do?’”