What defines home? Where do you find it? How do you share it with others? – These are the questions that this film chases all over the world through the eyes of skiers on their home snow. This is Home, the newest installment of films presented by Faction Skis, a gear company as well as a collective of skiers from around the world, premiered on Thursday, November 2 at Bates. Thorn Merrill, a former Faction athlete and current Bates senior, brought the movie along with some great swag to give out to members of the audience. The entire room was ready to get excited about ski season by watching amazing footage of epic skiing all over the world. There is a reason that most, if not all, ski movies premiere in the late fall. There is no better way to get an audience snow-crazed than showing epic shots of powder skiing in Montana or hitting crazy terrain park features in France.
This is Home brings a new concept to the world of ski movies. Originally a concept birthed from the mind of JP Auclair, a since passed professional skier who was in all senses a legend in the industry, the film follows six athletes from the Faction Collective to their hometowns. The audience is taken to Montana, Finland, Utah, France, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland for six segments of film, all of which has its own focus.
Some segments highlight big mountain and backcountry skiing, others highlight freestyle and big air skiing. The film is also able to combine the two types of skiing by featuring big air and big tricks in big mountain terrain. But what truly makes this a different kind of ski movie is its focus on the concept of place and what that means to the featured athletes. This is Home brings a new and exciting feel to the world of ski movies by giving the audience a local’s guide to their home mountains.
Opening with beautiful aerial footage of the various filming locations, the audience gets glimpses of majestic unknown scenery coupled with famous locations like the Matterhorn. There are the typical ski movie shots: big mountains with an athlete skiing a beautiful spine and another shot of an athlete hitting a massive jump in the terrain park. There is a large focus on urban terrain park skiing–athletes hitting features found throughout cities and towns. Such segments show that where there is snow there is skiing, like in Finland where the mountains are particularly large, but the freestyle options are endless. Or the Swiss Alps, where home is defined by massive, hard-to-access terrain.
This is Home is also special is the way in which it conveys its mission to define home through the skier’s perspective. While there are short interviews with the featured athletes, in which the audience is given the backstory of each athlete and their home, the filming is really what conveys the idea and feeling of home for each location. It is easy to see and hear the excitement in each athlete’s voice for their home mountain and such emotions are translated into their segment. Whether it is a small hill with massive jumps in the Czech Republic or the snowcapped peaks of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, it is made obvious that these athletes can’t wait to share their home with the audience. For these athletes, home is defined by the opportunity to ski in the place they know best. Each athlete’s home is shared with the audience as well as fellow Faction Collective skiers. Such a layout for this film helps to establish the sense of community that the ski world shares. All around the world, skiers are able to connect over their love for skiing, in whatever form, creating an international community eager to get out and explore new places.