A packed Pickford Theater in Bellingham, WA was giddy with childlike excitement last night for the premier of “Dog Days of Winter | The Story of the Birth & Boom of Freestyle Skiing,” and to support the local filmmaker Brian Gilmore. Skiers of all generations filed through the doors, grabbed their rootbeer or beer and popcorn and popped a squat to get schooled on an era of old, the Hot Dogging Era. The Ski Journal’s Editor, Sakeus Bankson, got the crowd stoked with his intro and by raffling off The Ski Journal hats and shirts.
The documentary by True Grit Productions gives possibly the first complete history of the era of skiing that broke free from the rigid, all-to-serious confines of ski racing. Historic footage litters the movie, capturing the fun-loving camaraderie, innovative styles and the exuberant personalities that surrounded the unfettered, youthful sport. The Hot Dog skiers were not the shy type, they were showmen and women who put on spectacular feats of athletic abilities during the thrilling and dangerous mogul runs, the trickery of aerial jumping and the fluid on-snow dance performances. The athletes reinvented skiing, as it was, they allowed creativity and style to permeate through skiing and forever change the sport.
The film compiles over 30 hours of interview footage with some of the legends from the free love, freeskiing and freestyle 1960’s. The Hot Doggers made skiing what it is today, free from the austere styles of old, and open to inventive new styles of skiing.
Watch the trailer here and make sure to watch “Dog Days of Winter,” in a theater near you.