Weekend Warm-Up: ‘NEOTENY’, or The Joys of Playing in the Snow

If you don’t have a silly grin on your face after flinging yourself downhill through some powder with a pair of boards strapped to your feet, you aren’t doing it right.

At least, that’s the argument that the short film NEOTENY makes. The title refers to the retaining of juvenile features into adulthood. Not a great thing in most circumstances, but when applied metaphorically to the idea of just getting out there and having some fun in the wintry woods — well, what’s not to like?

JJ Vinet skis some BC powder

JJ Vinet gets his play on. Photo: Screenshot


Enter professional freeskiers Kim and JJ Vinet. Their short film explores the concept of play in three brief but jam-packed minutes of Canadian skiing.

“Like finding something that you thought was lost,” the narrator intones in the opening seconds of the film as the camera glides over the snow-dusted trees of Revelstoke, British Columbia. “A longing not felt since you were a child.”

And there’s certainly childlike joy on display as the Vinets barrel over drops, slide through drifts, and glide gracefully around trees. The smiles are big enough to see even around the snow gear.

Kim Vinet smiling after a day of play

Kim Vinet smiling after a day of play. Photo: Screenshot


JJ Vinet and Danny Leblanc produced the film with Blizzard/Tecnica, so there’s the occasional obligatory product closeup. But it’s not egregious, and for the most part, NEOTENY is wall-to-wall backcountry goodness.

“Get out there and play,” the narrator concludes as the film wraps with a final shot of Kim and JJ grinning like they just had the time of their lives.

We couldn’t agree more.

Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall is an award-winning painter, photographer, and freelance writer. Andrew’s essays, illustrations, photographs, and poems can be found scattered across the web and in a variety of extremely low-paying literary journals.
You can find more of his work at www.andrewmarshallimages.com, @andrewmarshallimages on Instagram and Facebook, and @pawn_andrew on Twitter (for as long as that lasts).