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Vermont based Meathead Films has dropped the trailer for their latest East Coast ski thriller "No Matter What." Coming off last year's 10-year anniversary film "Prime Cut," Meathead Films was forced to deal with a low-snow winter on the East Coast. Stowe Mountain Resort, the Meathead's home base, recorded only 211 inches during resort operations. This year's flick proves to be their biggest challenge to date, highlighting backcountry and jib skiing on the East Coast when winter decided it wasn't entirely going to show up. The film will be available on DVD and downloadable on iTunes this fall and will be touring East Coast cities along with films from Stept Productions and ESK Media. We recently chatted with co-owners of Meathead Films Geoff McDonald and Chris James about their new movie.
This year's movie is entitled "No Matter What." Explain the title choice.
The title basically means to never let the weather get you down. Despite the East Coast's record-breaking mild winter of 2012, we still managed to sniff out the goods through low snowfall and at times mid-summer temperatures.
The East had a joke of a season last year -- Mount Mansfield's snow stake, located on Vermont's highest peak and home to Stowe Mountain Resort, was well below average. Was this season worse than 2006 when you produced "Snow Gods?"
Yes. For my 30 years of living in the East Coast, I cannot remember a winter as warm and as dry as this past one. It's not just that we had consistent above freezing temps, but there was such a lack of overall precipitation that it was mind-boggling, even depressing. For the majority of small snow systems that did roll in, without fail they were followed by rain or a thaw. With "Snow Gods," we had a terrible beginning to the winter, but then it finally transitioned into consistent weather patterns that delivered an ample amount of white stuff, so all was not lost.
Where there any high points to the winter?
I would keep it singular with just one high point. That would be the whopper of a storm that hit northern Vermont at the end of February. Stowe and Jay Peak claimed around 70-inch storm totals, and the system was a total freak of nature. It was a super isolated, elevation and latitude dependent snowfall, and the footage we filmed at Jay Peak was arguably the deepest snow we've ever documented on the East Coast. In addition, it was blue skies, and the moisture content of the snow was as low as any epic day I've skied in Utah. The faceshots were endless.
And the lowest point?
The low points were abundant and pretty much accounted for the rest of the season. The lowest point was a day trip to film Tuckerman Ravine with Stacey Rachdorf and Ryan McDermott. It was during the hot spell we had in mid-March when it was consistently 80-plus degrees for three consecutive days. The headwall of the ravine was melting at rates typical to late May, and the snow runnels from the rapid melt were over five feet deep. That stretch of weather was bizarre and just plain scary. The other major low point was seeing ski resorts fire up the snow guns in April to milk the last of the season, which I believe was a historical first.
So how did you guys manage to make a movie this year?
Patience is the name of the game, as well as good timing, a little bit of luck, and as always keeping it creative. We had a lot of last-minute calls and early mornings, and also had to play the resort rat-race game to get first tracks in sidecountry stashes. Another way we managed to score content was to get the hell out of the East Coast. This year Geoff cruised to Switzerland with Erik Olson, Andrew Whiteford, Dan Marion, and Will Wesson. They scored big mountain lines, resort pow, backcountry booters, and urban.