It’s important to trace the roots of your favorite hobby, to learn about its history and the important individuals who developed it into its current form, especially if it’s a hobby that stands paramount to your identity. For those who enjoy their winter days spent on snowy slopes, there are many great documentaries that provide deeper insight into their favorite winter sports. Here are five you should check out.
The Man Who Skied Down Everest
Winning an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1975, “The Man Who Skied Down Everest” follows the harrowing journey of the 1970 Japanese Everest Skiing Expedition and tells the story of Yuichiro Miura and his attempt to climb and ski down the surface of Mt. Everest.
This documentary provides a riveting look into the team’s treacherous mountainous ascent and an alpinist’s determination and willpower to become the first person to ski down Mt. Everest. Miura’s journal entries are featured in the film to provide insight into the thoughts of this daring skier as he strives to do what no one has done before.
To share a quote from his journal that aptly conveys his resolute mindset: “I worry about failing more than dying. Dying would be an easy way out.”
While skiing started out as the popular choice for riders looking to glide on snow, a new rival was gaining momentum in the winter sports scene.
The 2005 documentary “First Descent” focuses on the progress that snowboarding has made over the past two decades and captures the spirit of defiance that up-and-coming snowboarders used to fuel their passion for the sport.
Featuring three generations of snowboarders that include famous icons such as Shaun White, Hannah Teter and Nick Perata, this documentary follows these exceptional athletes as they ride down the mountains of Alaska and show the world why snowboarding is an exhilarating experience worth chasing.
The Crash Reel
The story of former professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce is one filled with tragedy, perseverance and triumph. Director Lucy Walker was so inspired by Kevin when she first met him that she wanted to eloquently tell his story and share it with the world.
Bestowed with the honor of being the first movie to be featured as part of the X Games, “The Crash Reel” is a documentary that details the friendly rivalry between Kevin Pearce and Shaun White, and how Pearce’s determination to become a great snowboarder led to one of the most tragic incidents of his life.
This documentary collects 20 years of sports and verité footage, including footage of the Pearce family, to tell Kevin’s comeback story and show his desire to keep pursuing his life’s passion despite his family’s concerns and his doctor’s warnings that it could cost him his life.
Ready to Fly
The intense passion for ski jumping extends to everyone who gets hooked by its exhilaration, and the drive to become one of the best is what’s brought so many famous athletes to the forefront of the competitive scene. Unfortunately, this scene was not always so inclusive.
“Ready to Fly” shows the story of women’s ski jumping athletes and their inspirational fight to be seen as contemporaries among their male counterparts in professional ski jumping by having the ability to compete in the Winter Olympics, a competition women had not been allowed to participate in since its inclusion in 1924.
This documentary shows the sacrifices and triumphs made to pave the way for women ski jumpers to have the opportunity to compete in the Winter Olympics and demonstrates the lengths one is willing to go in order to try and be the best at what they love.
“Snow Blind” is a documentary that should be seen by anyone who considers themselves a fan of snowboarding. Capturing the background and spirit of snowboarding culture, this documentary is a celebration of the sport and encompasses everything that made it so popular; from its historic beginnings to its rise in popularity, to its eventual opening in the 1998 Winter Olympics where it has since become a prominent competition in winter sports.
This film uncovers the history of the individuals who made snowboarding what it is today, showcasing both the ones who began building boards and the ones who popularized the sport. It also features contemporary pros who are competing today and the snowboarders who pave their own trails through the backcountry.
If you consider yourself a fan of the hobby or have any interest in what made snowboarding into the high-profile winter sport it is today, check out this documentary.