For home movies we mostly borrow from the library or rent from zip.ca who send the discs by mail. But I cancelled my zip subscription since they seem to have fewer and fewer hints I want to watch. I suppose at some stage we will have to consider an HD tv and a device to download or stream from internet, but my partner was persuaded that we could try out this free documentary I had downloaded from the Sun. I was about snowboarding - something one of her sons does, but within the confines of the ski resorts. This was about the extreme stuff. Back country heli-skiing - or rather "riding" - we had seen something rather similar quite recently and the photography of the mountains was spectacular.
"The Art of Flight" is said to be "a new breed of sports action film from Red Bull Media"
"Equal parts action and adventure mix with the inevitable drama encountered along the way. Two years in the making, "The Art of FLIGHT" gives iconic snowboarder Travis Rice and friends the opportunity to redefine what is possible in the mountains. Experience the highs, as new tricks are landed and new zones opened, alongside the lows, where avalanches, accidents and wrong-turns strike. For the first time, viewers are immersed in the sometimes successful, often trying quest to open up new, unexplored mountains in remote corners of the world. "
What Red Bull is doing, of course, is promoting a product to a specific demographic - young, single, adult males. And of course as much youth as they can get too. Young men have excess testosterone and an unshakeable belief in their own invulnerability. They strain against the restrictions and rules of society - and all societies have rituals and activities designed to channel their energies and enthusiasms. Some of which are successful. I will not get into the role of the product Red Bull is selling. In my own view it is unnecessary - but it is not illegal. And the way that we regulate food and drink as well as additives and supplements works in the interests of the producers not the consumers. As one would expect by a state which has been taken over by corporate interests.
Watching the movie we were struck by the avalanches caused by their penetration of back country areas where there are no ski patrol or snow grooming. Indeed in one sequence the young men stamp their boards on the top of a crest and watch as the top surface of the snow below them sheers away and slides for miles, gaining strength as it goes.
The cbc story that the title links to includes details of the very high avalanche risk in BC at present. No-one going into the mountains should be unaware of such risk. I cannot comment on the specifics of the four young men involved in this incident, not am I any kind of winter sportsman. I do not and will not slide on any surface voluntarily. But those who do must understand the risks.
The juxtaposition of the cbc story and Post Media's use of what is really a 1 hour 40 minute Red Bull commercial featuring very dangerous snow boarding in back country areas is possibly unfortunate. But is does cause me to wonder the extent to which corporations should be encouraging young people to put their lives needlessly at risk. And others who may take a more objective editorial stance but would still be happy to accept advertising material - and maybe even programming - material from them.
UPDATE The CBC is now ( 11:45 Dec 30) reporting that the skier who died after being caught in the avalanche was a ski patroller from Whistler