September 20, 2012

MSP Premieres “Super Heroes of Stoke” in Crested Butte

Free stuff!

Every year the MSP premiere is a rowdy event in Crested Butte.  Not your 4th-of-July touristy rowdy, but get off your ass hootin’ hollerin’ – I will crush this winter – rowdy.   On Wednesday, MSP premiered their 20th film at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts, “Super Heroes of Stoke,” which encapsulates the trials, the smiles, the culture, and the passion that has inspired the rest of us over the last 20 years of freeskiing.

CFS Owner giving raffle winner Alex Reidman some new sticks

We’ve come to know Matchstick’s movies as the standard of big mountain skiing.  Richard Permin delivers in the opening salvo.  Whether he is slaying lines in the Todrillo Range in AK or stomping double corks on 120’ jumps, the frenchman’s athleticism (and accent) are in full display, not just in the first segment, but, throughout the film.  Matchstick does a great job relating Permin and his contemporaries’ (Mark Abma, Gus Kenworthy, Russ Henshaw, Michelle Parker, Leo Ahrens, Cody Townsend and company) skiing to the likes of Doug Coombs, Wendy Fisher, Seth Morrison, and Shane McConkey.  MSP uses the “godfather” of freestyle, Mike Douglas, in an almost-historian aspect as he bridges where skiing used to be 20 years ago – skinny skis, hop turns, and bump skiing – to now – big open lines, insane pillow drops, and even switch triple corks. His commentary, along with a lot of footage from previous films, gives “Super Heroes of Stoke” an incredibly nostalgic feeling to accompany your thirst for the coming winter.

Athlete Mark Abma showing some love for CB

To put it in perspective, MSP has been making movies as a company based out of Crested Butte for 20 years.  The vision that owners Steve Winter and Murray Wais had back in high school has now developed into a multi-generational culture that defines freeskiing.  In an interview with West Elk Project at the premier, Steve Winter explained how MSP and their films wouldn’t be what they are today without the local community that has become their friends and family.  “CB people get it.  They understand what hardcore skiing is,” added Winter.  The crowd at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts responded best to that kind of skiing.

From Matchstick’s first “Soul Sessions” to last year’s “Attack of La Nina,” it seems like every movie and athlete, from the infamous Tanner Hall, to our late hero, Jim Norm Jack, has a shot in this year’s flick to showcase the full spectrum of freeskiing.  Especially in Crested Butte, you can understand why it seemed as if the older the shot and skinnier the skis, the louder the cheers were.

These sentiments did nothing to diminish the loudest cheers of the night during Eric Hjorleifson’s closing segment in Whistler. Hoji’s POV footage has added another dimension to MSP’s films, displaying the precision that he dissects his lines at speeds you dream of.  Hoji’s style and approach to skiing in the closing segment serves as a natural conclusion to this chapter in the story of MSP.  He had been recovering from surgery for most of the year, and while he was trying to “take it easy,” in the end, this is what he lives for.  Overall, Steve Winter said, “This film tells a good story.  It tells where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going.” After 20 years, MSP is still the standard we use to measure our sport of freeskiing.

At least in Crested Butte.

Get over to to order your copy of “Super Heroes of Stoke.” 

About the Author

2. Will Dujardin
Will Dujardin is our content editor at West Elk Project. He competes in big mountain competitions and coaches the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team. Skiing is his life and he likes to mix it with other fun things like DH mountain biking and traveling.