Short but sweet, this 32 minute piece showcases a dozen skiers hitting rails, kickers and a few big mountains. It’s definitely a low-rent affair when compared to the glitz you get from heli-cams but “Skimatic” makes up for it with determination as the skiers clearly put their blood and sweat into it. JF Houle’s opening attack pops off the screen as he nails big rails and big airs with the ferocity of wolverine on angel dust. Too bad the accompanying cliché power-pop punk soundtrack sucks. This is a good example of the absolute crucial need for great music in ski movies. A mediocre track gets stale fast and turns an otherwise awesome sequence into and an average one. Contrast that with the more singular and timeless sound of the Haig V. track used in Charles Gagnier’s sequence that concludes “Skimatic” (more on Gagnier later). That particular track adds an element of sophistication to the sequence and that makes it a pleasure to view over repeated sittings.
One of the Pléhouse triumvirate (and Quebec City ski shop D-Structure owner), Phil Belanger steps up after Houle with some smooth style in the back country, offering up some slick switch landings and a few brutal crashes. Phil Larose, another Pléhouse boss, does the same with even more finesse in his sequence. Laurent Favre and Josh Bibby dazzle big time in their segments, but the ace-in-the-hole segment is when Frank Raymond and Thomas Rinfret head to Lebanon, near Beirut for some shred time. Yes, you can go to Niseko Japan or anywhere in the Alps for some flavour in your ski movie but there’s nothing like a little warzone tourism to spice things up. Reminds me of that sequence when Mark Abma goes to Gulmarg, India in “Seven Sunny Days” and there are soldiers with AK 47s hanging around. Jibbing off .50 cal armament always wins points in my book. The whole Beastie Boys “Sabotage” vibe in both the boy’s coveralls and hard harts as well as the break beats and wha-wha guitar in the Controller 7 soundtrack makes for a winning part. So, back to Gagnier’s closing sequence: his right-side and left-side 540s and 1080s make him the star of “Skimatic”. This is big time skiing and between the complex rails that he conquers and that octograb that he executes in the very last shot – well, damn, that’s serious talent. By Mark “The Attorney General” Quail