Ski Bums

Director: John Zaritsky

Institute History

  • 2002 Sundance Film Festival


Meet 10 self-proclaimed ski bums in this adrenaline rush of a documentary by John Zaritsky. Combining candid interviews with truly smashing ski footage, the film gives us insight into the sometimes sublime, sometimes gritty existence of these free spirits living on the edge in Whistler, BC.
Whether combing for "groundscore" (money or gear) under the lift or scavenging for untouched leftovers in the cafeteria, a ski bum's willingness to overcome his lack of cash creatively - and maximize his slope time - is truly inspirational. Equally awe-inspiring are the wild escapades, one of which involves getting arrested while riding through Whistler in a gyroscope - naked - in January (something that must be seen to be believed).
Of course, even ski bums have a serious side. While it might have been the adrenaline, the speed, and the thrill of danger that initially attracted them to the sport, the group also weigh in on the spiritual aspect of their obsession. It isn't hard to imagine the blissful connection with nature the describe: alone with the wind, the trees, and the majesty of the mountain.
This joyride of a film, while delighting us with dazzling footage of some of the most extreme skiing on earth, manages to say something true about the joy of living in the moment. Salary, status, and fulfilling society's expectations play little role in the lives of these ski bums, but, according to them, the exhilaration of building their lives around what they love to do more than makes up for it.

— Elizabeth Richardson

Screening Details

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