Weekend Warm-Up: A Skier’s ‘Scariest’ Ever Run Is A Standout Adventure

When I hit play on “WAVY — The voyage to the scariest ski run of my life”, my first thought was that the mountains looked like a prison. The tight-packed buttresses and heavy gloom chilled me badly when I thought about breaching them myself.

I prepared for an intense mountain film, wracked with the drama of narrowly escaping death. This, I thought, would be a decidedly bracing way to begin a typical weekday morning.

Then, Captain Crocs and the crew of the Sofia took over.

“WAVY” is not relentlessly severe, and the force of personality among the athletes it features is the reason why. The decisions they make in the hills would be unthinkable for most of us.

Get a load of this chute.

niko schirmer wavy


One expedition member puts it bluntly, just seconds into the film: “Don’t f*** s*** up.”

Then, as you might think, insanely fast couloir skiing ensues. It’s hard to determine the skier’s speed in the enervating (and possibly edited) sequence below, but the frame rate reminds me of looking out my truck window at highway speed.

niko schirmer wavy


The real limit

There are athletes who actually experience the limit, and then there are the rest of us, who pretend that we do. Unless you’re in the former category, prepare to spend most of your viewing time here feeling acutely aware that you belong in the latter one.

However! Also enjoy acquainting yourself with the zany Norwegian adventurers who will captivate, mystify, and delight you for the next 44 minutes. Take the Captain, who is fully committed to famously comfortable foam sandals — in arctic weather.

niko schirmer wavy

Captain Crocs.


The athletes, including 30-year-old snowboarder Krister Kopala, prove equally unflappable. When Kopala triggers one huge avalanche on a crusty, powder-coated ridgeline: “That was scary bananas.”

Make no mistake, though: hard-won mountain savvy and the decision-making skills that keep athletes alive in dangerous situations underpin it all. You’ll also watch the crew agonize over weather, snow quality, and generally carry out the calculated risk management behavior that defines the trade.


Overall, “WAVY” is a wild ride, as only Nordics who are unhinged to some roughly definable degree can deliver it. Case in point: the bro-ey heartwarming moment when Kopala asks Niko Schirmer to be his best man, right before one of the trip’s highest-consequence drops.

Neither too serious nor too zany

If I was a critic, I’d write that it endeared me with an unusual concoction for an adventure film: aggressive action saturated with humor, but without kitsch. In no way is this the Dodo’s Delight crew — outlandish behavior is not the flag they carry, and trivializing danger is not the texture.

At the same time, it doesn’t burden its viewer with the onerous gravity that can plague classically oriented mountain films.

niko schirmer wavy

Schirmer, celebrating the little things in life.


There’s some threshold where watching enough minutes of enough adventure content jades you (trust me). The impulse to dramatize action in order to compel audiences is extremely strong. Among such a vigorously expanding field of competition, content creators face a legitimate question of how to stand out.

“WAVY” cuts the herd with Occam’s Razor: Take a rock-solid team to an astounding location and push play.

The result is the most nuanced ski mountaineering film I’ve seen.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.