Â Over the winter of 2014/2015, Grand Targhee Resort was the playground where the Revision crew filmed part of our short film, “Advance.” Revision skis athletes Chris McKeever, Danny Arnold, and Jake Fagrelius, filmer Mike Kvackay, and photographer Arthur Balluff hit the resort on March 12th. Half of the guys had road tripped from Colorado, a 6-hour white knuckle ride through a blizzard in a rented Toyota Camry (note from Mike, Teton Pass is not advisable in 2wd in a whiteout). We caught up with the guys to talk about the trip and also to gain some perspective on everything that goes into creating a film like “Advance.”
Grand Targhee Resort is located in the Teton Mountains, in the town of Alta, a quick ride north of Jackson. The crew was put up in the Sioux Lodge, which is conveniently located right at the base of the hill and made for a great bonding experience in the comfy quarters of the lodge.
The overnight snowstorm ended up dumping about 8″ of freshies, and the crew headed out the first morning to what Kvackay describes as “probably the gnarliest in bounds terrain of any resort I have been to.” Grand Targhee offers over 2,600 acres of terrain, has a vertical drop of nearly 2,300 feet, and five lifts which spread out the crowds and keep lift lines short. With awesome terrain and the cold smoke powder found in the interior, it was the perfect setting for the opening scenes for “Advance.”Â
After the first dump, the rest of the trip was quite warm and dry. No more snow fell and the temps climbed into the 40s, but still, freshies were to be found. “The backcountry access was perfect. 3 days after our storm, we could still find fresh tracks only a few hundred feet from a lift.”Â – Mike Kvackay, Filmer
Creating even a short film like Advance is an exhausting effort that a lot of people take for granted. Even working with the rad Grand Targhee terrain, the crew shot for 6 days, with only a handful of shoots ever making it to the viewer’s eyes. There can be a lot of variables in a shot, such as camera errors like missed focus or simply the skier just didn’t land it. On hill, Kvackay was the only snowboarder on a “ski only” trip, which was hard. Whether traversing to a film spot, or unstrapping after getting stuck, and lugging 20 pounds of camera pack, the going was tough for him. After the filming is done, Mike needed to edit and label shots for hours after 6 hours of hiking and skiing around. “Let’s just say that it is a full time job with everything combined together.”
“All of the athletes stepped up their game. Danny killed it. I love skiing with him and he really pushes himself on every feature. I would have to say his naked backflip was my favorite. The snow had been sunbaked so getting speed was an issue but he pulled that bad boy around with nothing on but his ski boots and his transceiver. Chris also charged hard on resort, not even speed checking through gullies riddled with moguls and trees. Everyone was super friendly, the stoke was high and we got some killer shots from the trip. I cannot wait to head back soon.” – Mike Kvackay
All told, Grand Targhee turned out to be the perfect place to film for “Advance.” We’re thankful for the opportunity and their generosity in hosting us.