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Film Review for Skiing Heritage

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Film Review for Skiing Heritage - August 2013

Crash Reels - The Kevin Pierce Story

By Dan Egan

In “Extreme Sports” athletes are inches away from sever injury and or death. One sport that highlights this risk is ski and snowboarding half pipe.  Here athletes are flying off of 22 foot ice walls, traveling 30 plus miles an hour and reaching heights well over 38 feet in the air.   The margin of error is slim to none and injuries happen all the time from the professional down to the recreational levels. A new documentary, “Crash Reel” by Filmmaker Lucy Walkers tells the story of Olympic snowboarding hopeful Kevin Pierce and his tragic accident during a training run in Park City where he slammed his head into the ice wall on reentry to the half pipe during the build up to the 2010 Games that left him with a Traumatic Brain Injury.  The film positions Pierce as the one guy that can beat Extreme Sports star Shaun White and explores their rivalry. Pierce’s accident made him a cult hero in the Snowboarding World; the Vermont native was winning major events and signing sponsorships with the likes of Nike and Burton. His accident gave birth to the “I Ride for Kevin” stickers that were featured by many of the top riders during the 2010 X Games and 2010 Olympics. “Crash Reel” tells the story of the modern day X Games athlete and their quest to push the limits to obtain fame and fortune.  It also shines a light on the “life style” and the lack of training methods and coaches. Walker focuses on Pierce’s family and the cost they pay for their son’s accident as well as touches on the pressure that accompanies big sponsorship deals. In the last quarter of the film she reveals the lack of organization in the extreme sports world for the athletes and the lack of a safety net for individuals that are willing to risk it all to make a name for themselves. She discovers that rather than an Extreme Sports Association that supports athletes that the lasting legacy of the industry might just is the 173, 0000 cases of a year of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and to individuals between the ages of 0-19 years of age. Walker who is a twice Oscar nominated filmmaker and has an impressive list of films to her credit such as Devil’s Playground, Blindsight, Countdown to Zero, Waste Land, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom became in thrilled with Pierce’s story while watching the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Her writing and story telling captures the reality of extreme sports, from the glitz of the X Games to the harsh reality of the Intensive Care Unit and the long painful experience of patients suffering from TBI. “Crash Reel” is currently playing at International Film Festivals and will be released in theaters in North America in December.  For a complete listing of locations and more about the film go to www.thecrashreel.com for more information.

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Five countries, 6 months and no budget helps create this unparralled 60-minute global adventure. From Canada's Arctic and the challenges of skiing on the frozen land of Baffin Island, to historic St. Anton, flying through the trees in Verbier, Switzerland, and discovering the mysteries of the Italian Alps. This film covers it all. Featuring Dan Egan, Mihaela Fera-Egan, Caleb Melamad, and Luke Miller. $19.95

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A documentary film that takes an inside look at one of the most successful ski academies in the United States. Founded by Warren Witherell in the 1970's, Burke Mountain has an astounding 37 Olympians. $19.95

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