OUT OF THE GATE
Seth Wescott rips up the Alaskan
snow like there’s no tomorrow.
In addition to the Chile segment, Rahlves and his high adrenaline buddies appear in an action-packed
look at the ski and snowboard cross racing on his own Banzai Tour.
“The Banzai tour was interesting enough for Warren Miller to come out and film it,” said Rahlves. “It’s going to get some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs;’ there was a lot of carnage, unfortunately, but some really good racing,
too. It goes back to the raw top-to-bottom ski racing to see who’s the fastest… it’s cool when you have a
chance to see what it looks like from different angles.”
Double Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott appears for the second time in a Warren Miller film, for another epic shot in Alaska. Like many of his ski racing colleagues, Wescott considers himself a freerider
first and a competitor second.
“I look at snowboard cross as the day-job part of the winter; I love competing but at the same time I’d
way rather be freeriding and be out in big mountains,” said Wescott just before the film began. “I’ve gone
to Points North in Alaska for nine years now, it’s my thing that I really look forward to at the end of the
season and it’s when I know that I’m really going to get to ride for myself.”
The footage captured in this year’s film holds a special meaning for Wescott. Only a few days after finishing filming, Kip Garre, a ski guide and a close friend of Wescott, was killed in an avalanche.
“Kip had really become a mentor for me, in all the years that I had been there; he had been my guide for
six of those years,” said Wescott. “He had taught me so much about being in the mountains and pushing
your boundaries and being safe, he turned into a really good friend over the years. After 13 years of going
up to Alaska, he told me it had been the best week of skiing in his life so it was pretty cool to share that
Wescott said the Warren Miller films are like a journal of his travels and the friends he has made. “There
is nothing like being in the moment when you are there but it’s pretty special to get to relive it like this,” he
said. “It’s a special way to be able to hold on to for the rest of your life. You spent all this time all over the
world in the mountains with good friends from all different walks of life, but days where you are going out
to ride powder is what it’s always been all about to me, much more than race footage.”
Film director Max Bervy said racers make for great film subjects. “I think the guys we work with consider
themselves racers as much as skiers and they just love to ski,” said Bervy at the premiere, adding that he
is a proud ski racing dad. “The finesse that those guys have, the power the control, they dominate. They
can transition to Alaskan faces really easily; the learning curve is really fast for them.”
According to Bervy, the racers don’t need much directing. “Daron Rahlves has told me that he can throw
it down 100 percent on the Hahnenkamm and be looking for speed, but you put him on a face in Alaska
and there is always that unknown with what is going to happen with the conditions and all the variables,”
said Bervy. “It changes it and it humbles them but they are my favorite guys to work with because they
SkiRacing.com OC TOBER 31, 2011 | 12