Winter Dreaming: an Australian Alps freeheel film
Take me to the deepest pockets of winter where I can melt away…
Graham Hammond trips through a self-induced fantasy. Stephen Curtain collection
On the flattest and driest-inhabited continent on Earth, the unimaginable materialises each southern hemisphere winter. Powerful, low pressure systems spiral in from Antarctica, unleashing blizzards across a modest but beautiful arc of mountains: the Australian Alps. They slowly accrue an ever-deepening blanket of snowy, blustery white. On a continent known more for its scorching temperatures and deserts, winter snow in the Australian Alps may be fleeting but its beauty is unforgettable.
Winter Dreaming captures the essence and characters of telemark or freeheel skiing—fluid, boundless and enticing—as these magical snow-storms grace a timeless, snowy canvas. Winter Dreaming unveils stories and an ephemeral beauty told through freeheel skiing of a landscape rarely seen or understood by the international audience—let alone by most Australians. Just as spring thaws winter’s mantle, Winter Dreaming will leave you with a series of beautiful, graceful moments gently imbued on one’s mind, long after the winter snow has disappeared.
The ski crew
Some of Australia’s best freeheel or telemark skiers lay powerful arcs, back-flips and 360s down pristine, powder-laden chutes and bowls. Skiers include Sam Dunlop, Tom Gellie, Graham Hammond, Ross Walker, Dale Cunningham, Sam Foster, Faye Xintaropoulos, Jean-Loic Mafayon, Jake Barnes, Jarrod Paine, Amanda Clarke, Matt O’Rourke, Steve Leeder.
A cool, groovin’ soundtrack will accompany fantastic winter-action imagery with the likes of Something for Kate and Sam Roberts Band among other artists.
Best skiing movie I have seen in a long time. Positron, www.ski.com.au
The film is pure gold! If you don’t get little twinges of excitement while watching it, check yourself. Mr Bent Knee, www.ski.com.au
Highly recommended! Hully, www.ski.com.au
Australia is predominantly a land of heat and dust but in the mountains of the south-east every winter the miraculous happens, it snows enough to produce unique skiing. This film captures the wonder and subtle beauty of that world in really excellent cinematography. Tim Macartney-Snape, member of first Australian climb of Mount Everest in 1984, twice Everest summiteer and film-maker.
The editing and music are extremely well done, but the digestibility of the film was the essential element for this first release and it gets across the necessary vision and skiing to make a fine piece of art and a beautiful release that will hopefully have a follow up. This is definitely a movie I would recommend picking up. Josh Madsen, www.freeheellife.com
Part documentary and part eye-candy, and set to a typical grungy, garage-style soundtrack, ‘Winter Dreaming: an Australian Alps freeheel film‘, directed by Stephen Curtain, focuses on those who visit to carve the perfect telemark turn. Curtain explores a wide selection of characters, including one young male who winters in a snow cave so he can afford to spend Australia’s off-season in the northern hemisphere, and a French instructor who cleverly masks his disappointment at the less-than-challenging Australian Alps by describing them as ‘relaxed skiing’. The first three quarters of the 40-minute film is a little slow, and its really the closing stages that ‘Winter Dreaming’ hits its straps, finishing with a series of big, gutsy shots of gully skiing. It’s also just won an award in the telemark category in the Livigno Film Festival. Barry Park, the Age, Ski 09 magazine—May 31 2009.
Quality footage of skiing in the Australian Alps, particularly the areas beyond resort boundaries, is not in abundance, so it’s a pleasure to see some of this wonderful terrain shot so well in ‘Winter Dreaming’. In the accepted manner of ski movies, there’s no plot as such; the cohesion comes from the freeheeling and while there are come brief profiles of freeheelers that bring you closer to their passion, the movie wouldn’t fall to bits without them, if you catch our drift. That aside, this is worth the money, if only for the outstanding footage taken from the air.
Jim Darby, Alpine Style magazine, number 12, winter 2009.
Site Map I’d just like to let you know how much my family and I enjoyed watching ‘Winter Dreaming’. Apart from the beautiful filming we really enjoyed the stories of the people in the film. We also loved the close ups of the animals and the snowgums. The comments immediately after the film were:
Hannah (9 years’ old): ‘Can we watch it again?‘
Will (12 years’ old): ‘I’m glad we ordered the DVD’.
My husband Tim said he thought it had a very personal feel to it which he really liked. I felt the same as Tim and that aspect, combined with the great music and lovely filming, made it a joy to watch. Our family has a great love of the mountains in north east Victoria and we visit all year round. We have enjoyed bushwalking and skiing in the area ad now you’ve definitely tempted us to try telemark skiing! Good luck to you with all your future endeavours. You have certainly chosen the right career – your love for what you are doing shines through very strongly in your work. Jacinta Smith, Melbourne
From the first viewing it is clear that ‘Winter Dreaming: an Australian Alps freeheel film’ is an ode to the beauty of the Australian Alps, and not simply a skiing film. While it starts and ends with a series of stunning shots that wouldn’t look out of place in a European or North American ski film, in between there are many stunning scenic shots that capture the unique beauty of the Alps. The film also examines a range of individuals who interact with the landscape, which gives it quite a different feel from strictly skiing films. A very inspiring film. Ross Taylor, Editor, Wild magazine, no 113 winter 2009.
Pre-production began in February 2005. Post production through early 2008 with a release in southern hemisphere winter 2008. Filmed on Sony’s FX1 and Z1 16:9 HDV. Length: approx. 40 minutes.
Winter Dreaming: an Australian Alps freeheel film is available for purchase on DVD on-line or at Snowgum Wodonga, Mt Beauty Visitor Information Centre, Bogong Equipment Melbourne, Bright Newsagency, Balmoral Boards, The General Mt Hotham and Morries Cafe Harrietville.
An educational resource
- Natural values of the Australian Alps
- Telemark/freeheel skiing
- Keep Winter Cool (visit www.keepwintercool.com.au)
- Global warming awareness
- Snowcamping and snow survival
- Alpine Ecology
- Minimal Impact principles
- Connection to wildness – staying active
- Care for the Alps: Leave No Trace