Oct 112005
Authors: Sarah Rawley

Matchstick Productions, known for filming some of the most influential skiers and locations, hit up Fort Collins Oct. 6 as a part of a world tour to unveil its 2005 movie, "The Hit List" at the Lincoln Center.

The tour kicked off Sept. 15 with a world premier in Whistler, B.C., one of the main filming locations in the movie, and is hitting spots all over the United States, Canada and Europe with more than 130 showings, including a few stops in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

"It awakens everyone up and reminds us that it's fall, and it's about time to go skiing," said Eben Wight, graphics and tour manager with Matchstick Productions.

"The Hit List" crew traveled all over the globe featuring extreme skiers. Hugo Harrisson, Ingrid Backstrom and Eric Hjorleifson ripped up Tulsequah, B.C., Pep Fujas carved big lines in Russia, and Eric Pollard made the audience hoot and holler during his backcountry segment.

World Cup veteran Daron Rahlves turned to the world of big mountain free skiing with Mark Abma and Colorado native, Chris Davenport, on a first descent mission in Northern B.C.

"Rahlves was so inspiring and positive. That's what was so great about having him on there. It's not about just free skiing or racing, it's about the whole sport," said Steve Winter, founder of Matchstick Productions.

The film was different from years past with more talking and narratives incorporated into the ski shots.

"It got into a more soul feel. We always go on incredible trips. There was always a story that was missing. It is important to have the athletes talking," Wight said.

This was also the first year since Matchstick Productions has become known for its films featuring snowboarders with their own segment.

"It reminds us what we're doing, we're all just playing a game in the snow. It doesn't matter how you slide down it," Wight said.

Matchstick Productions, based out of Crested Butte, Colo., has produced 22 full-length feature films since Winter hit the road in 1991 to explore epic terrain in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Crested Butte, Colo., and Alta, Utah, under the name Real Adventure Films.

In 1998, six movies later, Winter changed the name to Matchstick Productions to "ignite the flame under the ski industry's ass," according to www.matchstickproductions.com.

"What sets us apart is our drive to have the best cinematography. We work hard to get shots that nobody else has," Winter said.

Winter is already planning next year's film.

"We want to do a film that is fun and everybody can appreciate. We just want to bring the fun back into skiing, that's what it's all about, appreciating the beauty," Winter said.

Collaborating world-class athletes with new and exotic locations is never an easy feat, but year after year, Matchstick Productions knows how to amp up big screen for the ski season.

"I get really excited to go skiing after seeing the movie, especially at Squaw, since all of the pros from the movie ski there," said David Shaffer, freshman civil engineering major. "The movie has the biggest lines, the coolest locations and sickest tricks."

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