Vagrants, in partnership with Parlor Skis and presented by Life is Good, introduce “Made Back East,” a natively New England ski film that explores the love affair with backcountry skiing in our own backyard.
The ski community refers to our home as “Back East,” assuming that anybody who grew up skiing here would eventually find their way out West. But to us, that assumes too much. The mark of a true New England skier is a deep appreciation for the bad days just as much as the good ones. As they say “If you can ski the Northeast, you can ski anywhere.” In this film, they follow six diehard skiers on a trip into the woods seeking that perfect window where everything comes together.
“Made Back East” begins in Massachusetts, an unlikely location for any ski film to take place. It is here we meet two of our main characters, Mark and Tyler. The two of them run Parlor Skis, a custom ski shop located in East Boston. The winters here in New England are unpredictable making it near impossible to plan a ski trip. But, the guys at Parlor see a window of opportunity to take a long-awaited trip to the “dacks” and they’re going to take it. After an arduous journey in the VW Vanagon to Lake Placid, the guys link up with the rest of the crew Tucker, Jeb, Jen, and Alex. The plan is to ski Angel Slides, a popular backcountry ski destination but Alex cautions the crew that at its steepest there is a risk of avalanche. The team then embarks on their journey, slogging their way to the base of the slide only to hear a “whumpfing” sound – a clear indication of avalanche risk. Reluctantly, the crew makes the decision to turn back, but in New England, we’ve learned to cope with disappointment. We just swallow our pride and say “We’ll get ‘em next time.” And the crew did just that, awakening to a bluebird day at the Notch in Smugglers Notch, Vermont.
After a day of slashing fresh powder the crew, surrounding a bonfire that night, reflected on the “risk-reward” principle that makes the Northeast, the Northeast. In the end, what makes any trip great, are the people that you’re sharing it with.
“I’ve spent a bit of time out West,” said Director and Vagrants co-founder Dustin Devlin. “Sometimes for work, but usually for adventure. I’m an avid surfer, and slightly above average skier. These are activities better suited for out West than back East. So, I’m always asked, ‘what is it about New England? Why have you stayed there?’ The answer is, it’s not a simple answer. This film was an attempt at exploring that passion for this place. I was new to the backcountry scene, but having spent some time with the Parlor crew I could see that those ties, that passion for this region ran deep in the sport. We knew that by picking the right cast, and putting them in the right place that a story would find it’s way to us. Thankfully we were right!
“Made Back East” is now available on the OutsideTV network and madebackeast.com.