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Skier and BASE jumper Erik Roner is currently in a situation he never imagined he'd find himself in. Exhausted, excited, and little bit nervous. Roner has spent the last few weeks jet-setting from movie screenings and sponsor events, which culminates in the national release on Wednesday for his latest endeavor, "Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D."
Roner was doing a decent job keeping track of what city and time zone he's in when we caught up with him for a chat at 8 a.m. earlier this week during his less than 24-hour stay in Salt Lake City.
Roner suffered serious injuries four months ago in an avalanche in Alaska while filming for Teton Gravity's new film, "The Dream Factory." "I broke my femur in eight places, as well as my elbow," Roner said. "My femur was a six-and-a-half-hour surgery to repair -- the first month was pretty rough. It was the worst pain of my life." Roner says he's recovering now and he plans to get back on skis this winter. "I love filming and pushing myself that way," he says. "It's what I want to do with my winter."
"Sometimes I'm like, sitting behind a desk for work looks really good right now, but what a dream. I never imagined I'd be doing this."” -- Erik Roner
The Nitro movie, which has been a two-year project, will open in about 1,000 theaters nationwide on Wednesday. Based on Travis Pastrana's successful MTV stunt series, "Nitro Circus: The Movie" is a PG-13 stepped-up version of the TV stunts.
The Nitro Circus crew, who largely financed the making of the film themselves due to problems getting their stunts insured, will be going up against movies like "The Bourne Legacy," which premieres later this week. "We've been doing a lot of guerilla marketing -- we don't exactly have a $100 million marketing budget," Roner says.
The movie includes backyard stunts and some "really gnarly stuff," according to Roner. "Some of it was absolutely terrifying, but we used 'Nitro physics' to build the stunts, and we believe in our experience," he says. "It's not Hollywood stunts -- there are no catch nets. But none of us want to die, so we build things we feel are safe for us."
The mostly summer stunt-based movie does have some ski-BASE and big mountain ski footage in the intro, said Roner. To him, Nitro Circus has allowed big mountain skiing to be showcased in front of a huge new audience. "My biggest personal reward from being part of Nitro Circus is opening people's eyes to big mountain skiing, and what we are doing," he said. "It's not a spectator sport, so bringing this to the table is really rewarding."
If they make a second film, Roner hopes it can include some more wintertime footage in the mountains. "Sometimes I'm like, sitting behind a desk for work looks really good right now, but what a dream," Roner says. "I feel really fortunate to be doing this. I never imagined I'd be doing this."