For skiers and snowboarders, autumn is ski movie premiere season. And, if things go right, next year could introduce a new facet into a world dominated by Teton Gravity Research, Warren Miller and Matchstick Productions: disabled extreme skiing.
"There are great beginner programs, and racing programs, but for disabled guys who want powder there isn't much out there, says Colorado-native Marc Romero, who lost his right leg in a 1979 motorcycle accident.
The former U.S. Disabled Ski Team member hopes to bring a new brand of skiing to the big screen—where one-legged skiers tackle gnarly steeps, paraplegics ski bumps, and blind skiers get 15 feet of air. And, it's a world of skiing that already exists, but not on video, according to Romero.
"We want to show people what else is out there, he says. "It could be an educational opportunity, a way to show other disabled people what they can do, and just something really entertaining to watch.
After producing a trailer last winter titled "Inside Disabled Skiing, Romero and his crew have received interest from PBS, MacGillivray Freeman (an IMAX film production company), and Warren Miller. And while funds have yet to be secured, the crew hopes they can begin shooting this winter.
"Obviously, money is always a challenge, says consulting producer John Burshtan. "And it's a huge hurdle, especially when you start off without support right out of the cage.
But Burshtan, executive producer of The Spirit of Colorado annual PBS series, notes that this is a worthy project and "one that should be done—it puts disabled sportsmen on equal footing with able-bodied people, and shows that anyone can get out there and do really extreme stuff.
Instead of focusing on victims overcoming something, Romero would rather just show the talents of a group of people who can really rip.
Former U.S. Disabled Ski Team member Theresa Fantcher is a blind skier, and in the trailer flies five feet into the air offa series of terrain-park kickers.
"Skiing offers me such a sense of freedom, says Fantcher, who will be featured in the film. "If nothing else, I hope that the movie motivates people to get out there and try it, and show them that they can.