Like all of porn we’ve gotten so used to the ridiculous that the sublime is now nostalgia. In other words, in today’s ski porn the money shots just aren’t the same.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

Fall is Ski Porn season.

This year especially, I’m having a difficult time reconciling my addiction.

For those unfamiliar with the genre, Ski Porn isn’t a bunch of hardcore versions of Squirrel on the gondola in Hot Dog (“missed a spot”); though like its namesake, the climax in every Ski Porn movie does include some kind of gratuitous face shot.

But that’s not where the commonalities between the two genres stop: Ski Porn is as aspirational as its seedier counterpart. It showcases skiers who are better than you, traveling to places you can’t afford to go and doing things your body won’t let you.

Ski Porn takes you somewhere you would rather be and acts as the enabler for you to live vicariously through someone suffering much more severe potential consequences …or at least having more to clean up than the couch cushion and browser cache should something go awry on the fall line.

Like all good porn there is never a plot in Ski Porn. When a story line is, um, inserted, it’s usually something forgettable and regrettable and sort of derivative slammed in there to try to justify watching people, well, be people and do what we do—which is basically ruin ourselves and our surrounds for the stoke.*

In 1946, Warren Miller (the grandfatherly figure/Bruce Brown/John Holmes of the genre) started schlepping an 8mm camera around ranges of the Mountain West shooting those kind of shaky old-timey film-with-cigarette burns shots of guys in turtlenecks trudging up gradual slopes carrying half a back deck on their shoulders in search for some kind of endless winter youth suspended.

But the real Ski Porn—like all good porn—was really a product of the ’70s. It evolved fast and loose in the decade that brought you tight pants, both hot and stretch variety.

Craig Beck was the first auteur to showcase big landscapes and big lines in his 1975 genre-defining film: Daydreams (shot mostly in the Tahoe Basin). If you want to check out the Behind the Green Door of Ski Porn—pornish score included—get titillated by this clip of back flips and back scratchers.

Along came the ’80s and Greg Stump, with his Blizzard of Aahhhs, the Debbie Does Dallas of Ski Porn moving the boundaries slightly more out of bounds with aggro footage and a little less muff (or at least the ‘fros were tucked into helmets part of the time).

Fast-forward another couple decades and the emergence of quick hit/big fix/impossibly huge mountain skiing—and Ski Porn in all its big-budget full-frontal glory emerged congruous with the digital age.

From the first slo-mo shots of the Red Bull decal’d heli washing out impossible summits in swirls of untrammeled stirred-up peak powder: Matchstick Productions’ Yearbook and Ski Movie 1, 2 and 3 to TGR’s Mind the Addiction and the sort-of man-powered Jones brothers’ trilogy, Ski Porn screamed to its full beanie-bro-and-PBR-premiere potential in the early ’00s.

The slick, well-thought-out hot-lit feature-length fantasy summitted in 2005 with the shaved clean, bang-bang-bang-it out heavy soundtrack’d, quick-cut, slickly produced, shot-after-shot ahead-of-its-time-but-grounded-in-tradition one-off Teddybear Crisis; a no-turning-back/never-to-be-replicated classic akin to Pirates—Digital Playground’s no-holds-barred pretty-much-mainstream effects-laden all-star cast real porn shot back when when there was budget for such endeavors ($10 million), released that same fall.

Take your lunch break now and watch the full-length Teddybear Crisis here.

…You’re going to have to find your own link to stream Pirates (hint: it’s not that hard).

Though Matchstick and TGR remain and have been joined by the likes of the slightly more edgy-sounding offerings from Poorboyz and Powderwhore, budgets have shrunk and the medium has withered on the very literal Vine.

Matchstick’s new release this fall, the either ironically named or completely out-of-touch, Days of My Youth is set to burp out the last few blips of the big-budget Ski Porn’s EKG.

The trailer shows about as much innovation rolling off the assembly line as the new Ford Taurus. A tiny bit glossier, but the same rental car—just more expensive and still only 25 mpg freeway. Looks like a Tesla, but decidedly isn’t charging into the future.

The last gasp of the way we were in the Ski Porn biz is likely TGR’s conclusion of baby brother’s boot pack bonanza (Higher …sequel to Deeper and Further) which drops in Sept. 6 at Squaw. Jeremy Jones’s effort is herculean, yes, but with Shane McConkey now five years gone, there is no longer a Ski Porn star with wattage enough to power 90 minutes.

And that’s why I’m having a tough time with my addiction this fall.

Jones is off the mountain and on to slinging split boards just as Jenna Jameson is also selling replicas of her, uh, own split board online.

Further proof all types of porn—especially Ski Porn—is de-funded and dying. A filigree rising to the heavens like the melt in spring back to the cloud.

Dozens, hundreds of groms ‘n GoPros now foment the status quo posting their way to insta-Ski Porn fame, just like their contemporaries shooting scandalous selfies with the iPhone case facing the mirror. All the young dudes and chicks debasing and redefining an industry and, well, pretty much doing it all on their own dime.

The big money, the big lines, the big chopper, the big soundtrack, the big premiere …well—that all seems so yesteryear. So pre-post bailout. So when-reverse-camber-was-new-and-cool.

The genre will continue to change. To evolve. The next gen will push the sport and the corporate money will follow. But for now, the feature-length porn (ski and otherwise) show is frozen stiff six feet beneath your next pole plant.

For all that was, I’m a little sad. At least I’ll always have TGR (and Penthouse) forums.

*There was once a movement (when there was money) in the Ski Porn industry to come up with a way to angle toward being good faux-vironmentalists/stewards of the mountain and while that’s admirable, it’s a bit hollow in much the same way the Ducks Unlimited hunters are protecting wildlife and wetlands in order to shoot it all up. I mean, yes, as a skier and lover of big lines, global warming is scarier than Billy Crystal’s prospects as a leading man, but really, if you’re going to shred a mountain don’t pretend you’re also saving it.

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of “Burgundy Upholstery Sky,” and still cherishes his VHS copy of Hot Dog.

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