The Mountain Times

°F Sun, April 20, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Eastern film company wins Best Powder Segment at Powder Video Awards in Park City, UT

Meathead Films wins with epic Vermont segment in film chronicling the driest, mildest winter in recent memory

For the last 13 years, Powder Magazine has been recognizing the best skiing movies with their annual Powder Video Awards (PVAs). This award ceremony is likely off the radar for most eastern skiers. It is held in Park City, Utah and the vast majority of honorees are film companies from out west with footage from helicopter-accessed locations in Alaska and British Columbia.

There were 15 categories this year including "best natural air," "best cinematography" and "best film" and the judging was done by 45 industry professionals from around the world. Only one award was won by a company who shoots film on the east coast. But they won by the largest margin of any of the awards given out. And they won it for best powder segment.
Proof that not all great ski films are made out west.

Meathead Films has been producing quality movies in the east for over a decade now.  Over the years they have earned a reputation for finding the best terrain, the best athletes and the best snow that our region has to offer. Last season the film crew stepped it up a notch. Amidst the driest, mildest winter in recent memory, the crew managed to film the best powder segment of any film in the country.  For the first time in the 13-year history of the awards, an eastern ski film took home the coveted "best powder" award for a segment in No Matter What, filmed at Jay Peak.

2-Meathead --Randy -

It was at the end of February and Jay Peak had been getting hammered. Co-founder of Meathead Films and Ski the East Geoff McDonald said "As a filmmaker, when you know it's going to be really good conditions the next day, you get especially antsy the night before, planning out the logistics in your head," he said. "For that shoot at Jay, we were staying at our buddy, Tim Fater's house near the mountain. We woke up the morning of the 26th and it was just bluebird, no wind, and tons more fresh snow on top of the 35" that had already fallen in the days prior. The mountain had gotten about 50" in 5 days. East Coast weather has dealt us many kicks to the groin over the years and last season was especially harsh. However, that day at Jay Peak blew us all away and we knew we'd had the privilege of documenting some truly epic snow." And McDonald couldn't have been more correct.

This "Best Powder" award is certainly an honor for Meathead Films, but it is also an honor for local skiers and the whole East Coast. "We're proud to be a part of the community out here and psyched to bring home some recognition from the rest of the world!" the Meathead Film crew says.

The award winning Jay Peak segment is only a part of their film entitled No Matter What, which chronicles a less than stellar season. Also featured in the film are some impressive scenes from terrain parks and urban settings around the northeast.

Killington is again featured in a mogul segment that has become one of the favorites for fans of Meathead Films. Randy "Hammer" Grasso, is a local legend who has been skiing Killington for decades and has appeared in most of the Meathead films. "The day that the film crew was here last year, the conditions were atrocious. It was spring but we had just gone through a freezing spell and everything was rock hard. Somehow Geoff got some good footage out of that day", Hammer said.  "Powder Magazine was here taking pictures for a feature article they wrote. That article was the first east coast feature that the magazine had done in 10 years," he said.

When asked if he was at Jay the day of the award winning powder Hammer says it is a sad story. "I was skiing at Mad River Glen and we had heard that the storm was going to track south and hit Killington hard... The storm was tracking north after all. Luckily, the Meatheads sent a film crew and athletes to Jay Peak as well as Killington. We didn't end up getting anything down here and we spent the whole day looking for scraps… It was just ridiculous, did you see that footage?  Imagine how I felt when I saw that."

But some days are like that and in an industry dependent on weather and conditions some days it is just a gamble. North or south, south or north? Flip a coin and the next time it will be the opposite.

2-Meathead --Ben -Leoni ---an -award -winning -performance

Powder Magazine themselves may have put it best when they wrote on their website "To those skiing in Alaska, B.C., or Jackson, big powder is practically presumed. But sometimes skiers, even on the East Coast, happen to unexpectedly be in the right place at the right time. In Meathead Films' No Matter What, the right coasters capture an all-time dump in the middle of a tragically dry season.  It's a five minute of reminder of just how good skiing can be to us.

Ski the East and Meathead Films are available on itunes, for more information visit www.skitheeast.net