All words and photos: Laura Austin
Not only is Aspen the home of the Winter X-Games, celebrities like Kate Hudson, Jack Nicholson, and Lance Armstrong, and some of the best riding in Colorado, but it is also the stomping grounds for The Meeting. What is The Meeting? In it's sixth year, The Meeting is a chance for industry folk to get together, see some of this year's snow flicks on a big screen, discuss some important topics in the snow world, and enjoy what Aspen has to offer.
This year thirteen different ski and snowboard movies were premiered at either the Wheeler Opera House or the Belly Up. The riding movies included: Volcom's 9191, Transworld's In Color, TGR's Deeper, Standard's The Storming, Pirate Movie Production's Hooked, and Forum's F It. Definitely a pretty heavy line up to take in within two days.
TGR's Deeper was an incredible documentary style film based around the backcountry missions of Jeremy Jones. The movie also featured other freeriding heavies like Travis Rice, Xavier De Le Rue, Johan Olofsson, Lucas Debari, Tom Burt, and more. It was a film not only about snowboarding, but also about mountaineering. Some people may say that they don't like to see a lot of talking in snowboard movies, but I found this flick to be refreshing in that sense. It helped put personality back into snowboarding, which I think is needed. Hearing the stories and seeing how complicated these trips could be really made you appreciate the amount of work that goes into getting that one line down a backcountry face… especially when they were riding stuff that couldn't be touched by helicopter, lift, or snowmobile. In the end it was a movie based around adventure, that anyone could appreciate even if they knew nothing about snowboarding.
Standard's The Storming covered all bases of riding. You get your insane jump fix from Torstein Horgmo, urban craziness from Eiki and Halldor Helgason, and incredible backcountry riding from Xavier De Le Rue. Plus they had a deep lineup of female shredders, which included Raewyn Reid, Erin Comstock, Leanne Pelosi, Hana Beaman, and Kimmy Fasani. So any type of rider would be stoked on this film. Another standout part was that of Kazu Kokubo. The guy oozes style. The Storming was one of the more progressive movies of the year, in a sense that it showed snowboarders really pushing the limits of their riding discipline.
This was the first US venue that the European super crew, Pirate Movie Productions, showed their new movie Hooked. One of the cool things about the flick is that it is filmed strictly analog, something that is rare in this digital world, and deserves respect. The soundtrack also made this movie really stand out; their music selection was amazing. Then of course there is the riding. The Helgason brothers were once again able to produce impressive parts. Halldor walked away with a much-deserved ender, showing incredible creativity, board control, and balls. I also have to give props to 22-year-old Hans Alhund from Sweden; he had a part that stood out to me. Even the friends section of the movie was heavy with riders like Gigi Ruf, Marko Grilc, and Stephan Maurer. The intros for each rider were very well thought out, each working together to create a story. Once again the Pirates killed it, showcasing the top European talent in a very well put together film.
But the event isn't only about the movies; it is also a meeting of the minds. Throughout the weekend there were 3 different panel discussions about important topics in the snow industry that included social marketing, the winter Olympics, and content distribution. I don't need to go into detail, but it was cool to be able to hear what people had to say concerning these issues.
The Meeting isn't all about business either, it is an opportunity to experience Aspen and it's nightlife. During the day you could go ride dirt bikes at the Red Bull Supercamp, or just enjoy the town. But once night fell, Aspen turned into a completely different animal. Friday night DJ Muggs took over Belly Up, which made for one giant dance party. The next night Bone Thugs-N-Harmony took the stage, that's right I said Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Definitely not a group you would expect to be playing at a bar in Aspen, Colorado, which made the show that much cooler.
It was definitely a worthwhile event to see some amazing movies, bounce ideas and generate new ones with some of the industry's finest, and enjoy what the town of Aspen has to offer. Big thanks to Aspen for inviting us to be involved in The Meeting.