Opening with an ironic twist, Sunny lays out some decidedly un-sunny crashes sound tracked to Bobby Hebb’s 1966 eponymous hit. Crash segments in ski movies are usually a bitch for skiers to watch because they’re a little too real; they conjure up all the pain of our own crashes. Yet, somehow, Josh Berman and Kyle Decker manage to put a light-hearted face on the bruises and the breaks. From there, it’s all smooth sailing however as Level 1 regains some spirit and some stoke that was missing from last year’s After Dark. The vibe is positive throughout, not only from the soundtrack but also from the looks on the skier’s faces: all smiles – as they show the world the state of the sport in their approach to urban skiing. Sunny has got to be the fastest 53 minutes you’ll spend watching a movie as the pacing simply flies. The multiple camera edits come together beautifully forming complex shots that pretty much make it seem like you’re right there. Without a dull moment or a misplaced segment, it’s no surprise that Level 1 was lauded at the 2012 International Freeski Film Festival with the prize for both Best North American Film and Best Editing.
And there’s no arguing with those awards given the quality of the segments and the general energy of Sunny. Mike Hornbeck, longtime Level 1 stalwart hands over what is a truly deserving opening segment. Hornbeck’s fluid style shines bright as gets creative in linking up his tricks skiing down walls, over fences and across rails. His execution is imaginative and he’s pushing urban skiing with his inventiveness.
Eric Pollard makes an appearance bringing his switch skiing skills to the powdered hills, a nice addition to this largely urban-based film. Chris Logan’s adaptable style also jumps off the screen as he traverses back-country kickers and curved rails throwing right hand 900s and double back flips.
Logan Imlach gets inspired by JP Auclair’s street segment from All.I.Can and transfers the setting to the inside of an abandoned building in Alaska, giving new meaning to the term “urban skiing”. If that wasn’t enough, he’ll floor you with his one footed sliding on handrails that are not anchored in the ground but are attached to the cement wall. It’s a disaster waiting to happen (and it does at one point) but when he nails it the only thing you can say in wonder is “Jesus y Maria!!”.
The Breckenridge segment features some recent and brand new talent and if the styles of Niklas Eriksson and LSM are any indication, then Level 1 is going to continue to be well stocked for athletes well into the future. These guys have got styles smoother than silk panties on freshly waxed… skis.
Sunny’s like the Top 40 on an AM radio station, the hits just keep on coming – Will Wesson, Wiley Miller, Tanner Rainville, the unstoppable Tom Wallisch – and then there’s Parker White. After never saying “die” on two attempts at a damn-near vertical pillow run in the Kootenays, White’s closing segment offers up urban, big air in the backcountry (including switch landings in powder), more pillow runs and ultimately big mountain in an all-out, full-throttle assault allowing Sunny to end with a bang (and I mean a good one) and giving Parker more recognition in the way of the Best North American Male performance award from the 2012 IF3.
This is great filmmaking and a great State of the Union address on urban skiing. By Mark “The Attorney General” Quail