Weekend Warm-Up: The Collective

“The Collective” features 45 minutes of epic ski and mountain cinematography interspersed with musings from some of the world’s best freestyle skiers.

The opening scenes ask you to “travel through the emotional dimension with the Collective”.

They tour Canada, Norway, Finland, Japan, Switzerland, and France. The shots flit between wild mountain faces, classic powder skiing, and rail tricks, but the thread of the film is that skiing is collective.

Everyone is there to build connections, memories, and adventures. Their innate love of skiing extends beyond language and individual talent.

“Some call it a tribe mentality, others call it a shared sense of purpose…The Collective is more than the sum of its parts. No matter who you are or where you come from –- it feels good to be part of something special.”

Sunset jumps in Norway. Photo: Ski-mag.com

 

A message but no narrative

Interestingly, the film doesn’t follow a narrative. You are not watching the team try to achieve something, and the film does not build to some big scene-stealing moment. Instead, you watch skiing in all its purity and glory, and its ability to build connections.

Each individual has his or her own style and specialty. As a group, they move with ease between huge peaks and the inner city. Intermittently, the collective splits into smaller groups to push the boundaries. “When you see your friends do something crazy, you want to do it too,” says one. “They push you to be better.”

After opening with some big jumps in Norway, the scene shifts to Switzerland. Here, we have our first breakaway group, the duo of Sam Anthamatten and Andrew Pollard. The Swiss-born Anthamatten was originally more of an alpinist, but in 2009, he changed his focus to free-riding. He shows Pollard the ropes in his home country.

Pollard has been competing in the Freeride World Tour since 2019 when he won Rookie of the Year. He is fearless and tells the camera that he was able to push his skiing to new heights in Switzerland thanks to Anthamatten’s expertise in the Swiss Alps.

Terrain park women

We next move to terrain park skiing, a discipline typically associated with male skiers. Kelly Sildaru, Caroline Claire, Giulia Tanno, and Sarah Hoefflin, who hold many Youth Olympic, Olympic, and X Games medals between them, quickly show why this is no longer the case.

Urban skiing in Helsinki. Photo: Ski-mag.com

 

In Hakuba, Japan, rain that turns to ice forces the skiers to briefly convert from deep powder hijinks into a more cultural adventure. Then in Finland, the urban skiing begins dramatically, as Will Berman dislocates his elbow. Now one man down, the remaining trio delivers one of the highlights of the film. Seeing them execute rail tricks and jumps is not all that surprising, since that is their specialty. But watching it unfold in inner-city Helsinki is almost mind-boggling. Things usually confined to large slopes and terrain parks are somehow recreated in confined and unusual places.

In Canada, another experienced threesome takes one of their number on his first foray into backcountry skiing. “Most of the time it was more fun for them to watch me,” the backcountry rookie said, as the other observed him come up with new ideas as he crashed through the powder.

The final, whole group segment in France showcases the Collective in all its glory. The talent of some of the best skiers in the world permeates the screen.

Rebecca is a freelance writer and science teacher based in the UK. She is a keen traveler and has been lucky enough to backpack her way around parts of Africa, South America, and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything to do with the oceans. Her areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.

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