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Friday, December 7, 2012
New Icelantic film premieres

By Colin Bane

"One Degree Celsius: The Story of Icelantic" is a new feature-length documentary about the athletes and artists behind Icelantic Skis, the Denver-based company founded by Ben Anderson in 2004. The film, directed by Harrison Buck, premieres on Saturday, December 8 at Battery 621 in Denver, and will be released in full on Vimeo the same day.

"It's the story of a small American brand sticking to their guns during a rough economy and prevailing through it, and really rewriting the rules for the ski industry while they're at it," Buck says. "I would argue that they created this entire market we're seeing now for artistically-designed, made-in-America, small batch skis."

Anderson was just 15 years old when he first started brainstorming the ideas that would become Icelantic. "It started as a simple idea to start a ski company and a team," Anderson says. "The idea was always just to bring a bunch of friends together to do something unique. Travis Parr, our artist, was the first person I called, and from the very beginning we sat down and asked, 'What are we going to do to differentiate ourselves?' We wanted to take a real personal approach to the business and build a community around the brand, and those two philosophies have been behind everything we've done since."

The new film, "One Degree Celsius," documents the history of Denver ski brand Icelantic.

Anderson gave Buck a blank slate to tell the Icelantic story, and says he hasn't even seen the full film yet himself. "It's been fun for me in every aspect of running Icelantic to empower other people with creative control and give them a platform to create," Anderson says.

Buck plans to bring "One Degree Celsius" to the film festival circuit, and says he hopes it finds an audience beyond hardcore skiers (though he partnered with Poor Boyz Productions to include footage of Icelantic team riders Josh Stack and Leigh Powis in action, just to be safe).

He and his crew documented every step of the design and production of this year's line of skis, including the award-winning Nomad and the company's new Gemini splitboard, their first foray into the snowboard market.

"We followed them all last year and it ended up being an explosive year for the company and a much bigger film than we set out to make," Buck says. "We happened to be there at the right time: We followed them through launching their new boot company, First Degree Boots, and putting on the first-ever winter concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater during the week of the SIA Snow Show."

Icelantic recently announced that it will be continuing the new tradition at Red Rocks, with the second annual Winter on the Rocks concert on February 1, 2013, featuring Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Major Lazer, The Grouch & Eligh, and Neelats.

"Art and music and skiing and doing business in a way that's true to yourself, it's all part of the same thing at Icelantic," Buck says. "I kept waiting for something to not be totally genuine about their approach, for some sign of some seedy industry underbelly that would turn me off, but I never found it. There's no B.S. associated with what they do, which made the whole project very refreshing and exciting."