A very different kind of ski and ride movie makes its debut on Nov. 7 in Burlington, Vt. when T-Bar Films unveils “United We Ski.”
“We had a lot of powerful moments coaching at Cochran’s. How amazing it is and how people need to know about these places,” Tyler Wilkinson-Ray told SnoCountry.com. Tyler, and brother, Elliott Wilkinson-Ray were the coaches turned filmmakers.
“We knew we had a good idea,” continued Tyler. “But we weren’t sure if others agreed.”
That doubt ended when a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign, which had a goal of raising $5,000, brought the University of Vermont graduates $10,000 and the needed funding to begin the project.
Donations arrived mostly from New England, but also from Colorado, Upstate New York, Alaska, and Florida.
This support led to sponsorship and brought the film to another level. It enabled Tyler, 24, and Elliott, 27, to spend time last winter at all three ski areas with ski historians, area managers, parents, volunteers, skiers, and boarders.
Having spent time at Cochran’s, a remarkable spawning ground for world class talent, brought them no surprises. “The big areas are getting more expensive and so there’s a need for the smaller areas,” stated Tyler.
The finished piece balances a documentary style with storytelling, while also remaining current in the manner in which it meshes high definition ski action segments using state-of-the art recording equipment manned by experienced hands.
“It came out better than I thought it would,” added Tyler. “We showed it to a few people, some filmmakers not involved in skiing, who liked it. That was a powerful thing.
“It made us realize the importance of small areas. For those outside skiing, there is a real spirit of community and volunteerism that goes on. In the ski business, there are lots of cool lessons to learn. There’s something you get at smaller ski areas that you don’t get at bigger ones,” he said.
“United We Ski” can be seen Nov. 7 at the Main Street Landing Film House in Burlington with two screenings; Nov. 7 at the St. Alban’s Historical Museum, with proceeds benefitting nearby Hard’ack and Nov. 14 at the University of Vermont’s Billings Lecture Hall.
Showings continue Nov. 15 at the Richmond Free Library, benefitting Cochran’s Ski Area; Nov. 15 in the Bradford Academy Building, with proceeds going to Northeast Slopes; and Nov. 19 at Dartmouth College, N.H. Filene Auditorium in Moore Hall, with Whaleback as the showing’s benefactor.
Photo: Cochran Ski Area (Cochrans)