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Jerome Hill - Snow Flight (a.k.a. Ski Flight)
This twenty-minute film is called Ski Flight in every reference I've seen (including the DVD box) but the title in the opening credits is actually Snow Flight. The film was produced by Jerome Hill as "a document of skiing according to the principles of Hannes Schneider." It features Otto Lang, director of the Mt Rainier and Mt Baker ski schools. According to Lang's autobiography (lang-1994) the film was shot in early spring 1936 and opened in New York City in January 1938.

As the film opens, Otto emerges from a cabin beneath Table Mountain at the Mt Baker ski area with his canine friend. He applies wax-on climbing skins to his skis. (The skis must be waxed first, then the skins are applied to the ski base like adhesive tape.) Then he steps into his bindings and climbs to a scenic ridge. Otto introduces the basic Arlberg techniques - schuss, snowplow, snowplow turn, stem turn, stem christiania, and parallel christiania. An inch of new snow makes the ski tracks very distinct.

The narrator describes each technique in detail as Otto demonstrates again. Several of the maneuvers are done in slow motion on a slope meticulously packed by side-stepping. Describing the stem christiania, the narrator explains, "It too begins with a stem, but the plow is not as wide and doesn't last as long, because the skier swings his skis together as soon as he can and skids the end of the turn. This is actually called 'swinging.' It is the maneuver used most often, the perfect combination of speed and control." Stemming is performed mostly with the downhill ski (abstem). The turns include pronounced rotation, with a preparatory back-swing (like a tennis wind-up), abstem, then a forward swing and weight shift. Otto is marvelously smooth.

Finally, we return to Otto standing on the ridge. He strips off his seal skins (without removing his skis), stows them in his pockets, and launches off the crest. He swings turns down pristine powder slopes with Table Mountain, the North Cascades, and stirring music in the background.

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Last Updated: Wed Dec 28 23:40:49 PST 2005