Every winter, I like to kick off ski season by watching a bunch of ski porn. Sometimes, a bunch of us will cram into someone’s basement and watch a couple of selections from Warren Miller or Matchstick Productions. This year, we hit up the premier for the new Teton Gravity Research movie, Rogue Elements. It’s good in the same way that all of these ski movies are good; you spend about an hour or so watching insanely talented skiers and boarders doing incredible tricks on mountains that I’ll never have the chance to see in person, let alone ski. There are lots of helicopter drops and dramatic face shots. Roughly every 12 seconds, the guy sitting behind me said, “sick.” That’s all he said. Over and over. For an hour and a half.

I knew this is exactly how the movie premiere would go, from the flannel-wearing bros in the audience to the heli-access big lines on the screen. And I’m fine with it. I like it. It gets me pumped to go do stupid shit at my own hometown hill, Breckenwolf, which, by the way, has sicker lines than anything you’ll ever see on the big screen. You just have to know where to look. I swear. Scout’s honor.

But these movies are also becoming increasingly frustrating to me personally because the skiing I do is nothing like the skiing they’re doing on film. It’s as if we’re speaking two completely different languages. I’m stuck muddling through toddler English and the athletes at TGR are deep into a discussion about physics in Mandarin. I watch these kids, who I assume are all Canadian, do backflips over pickup trucks and bounce from powder pillow to powder pillow, like their skis are part pogo sticks. 

And I can’t reconcile their actions with what I do on snow, which is much less acrobatic and about half the speed. I don’t think ski porn was frustrating to me when I was younger because I always had delusions that I might someday be as good as the athletes in the film. Maybe even get my own segment at some point. I could also become the center fielder for the Braves and win the Congressional seat for my district. These were all pipe dreams, but I had time on my side, so, who knows?

But now, ankle deep into my fourth decade, there’s not a lot of room for me to grow. I’m probably as good a skier as I’m ever gonna get. Based on the trajectory of most people my age, I’ll actually get a little worse with every season, the way old men tend to shrink a little every year.

So yeah, screw those Canadians and their backflips. Sick movie though.