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Off The Grid (Warren Miller Entertainment 2007)

No surprises here.  It’s a Warren Miller Entertainment film: a travelogue with narration that tries to weave in a bigger existential theme.  Warren’s no longer directly involved so his sampled voice is lifted from earlier projects and recycled over new footage.  “Off The Grid” takes you on tours of well-known hotspots (like Girdwood, AK and Steamboat, CO.) and then to out-of-the-way places that are “off the grid” (Kashmir India, this time round).  The segments are well crafted in the way the lifestyle shots introducing the skiers are blended with basic ski shots and then as the music ramps up out comes the hard-charging ski footage to deliver a satisfying visual hit.  There are loads of big, bad-ass shots of riders shredding in slow-motion framed against bluebird skies.  The soundtrack is laden with choice material ranging from breakbeat to languid, buzzing big rock stuff to jam band joints and tracks from the likes of Nitin Sawney, Sweatshop Union and Thievery Corporation.  The narration is problematic though.  Try as he may, narrator Jeremy Bloom doesn’t have the quality of voice that Jonny Mosely has in the Warren Miller films in the latter part of the decade so his presence does not really add to the mix.  Not to worry though – there’s great footage of the Crist brothers ripping it in Alaska and a nice tribute to Warren Miller movie regular and pioneering big mountain ski legend Doug Coombs who died trying to make a mountain rescue the year “Off The Grid” was made.  “Off The Grid” is a solid effort, not ground-breaking but worth a view. By Mark “The Attorney General” Quail – 6/10

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