For Max Hammer ’12, there is nothing better than a good day of skiing. It has been a major part of his life since he could walk, and will be until it is no longer physically feasible, he said. Hammer recently shared a part of his skiing experience with the Dartmouth community at a movie screening in Dartmouth Hall. Hammer was one of a handful of freestyle skiers to star in “Wyoming Triumph,” a movie about skiing in Wyoming, where Hammer grew up.
KGB Productions made the movie in partnership with Trevor Hiatt, who had the idea for the film and organized the group of skiers, including Hammer.
“It was a new approach to something I already loved doing and I just got really absorbed in it,” Hammer said.
Unlike most ski movies, which feature fast clips of extreme skiing, they wanted to create a more narrative film about skiing in Wyoming. Everyone involved in the film had day jobs in addition to their life as a skier, and they wanted to put together a work not about professional skiing, but about regular Wyomingites doing what they love.
Over half of Wyoming’s land is public and the group capitalized on these vast stretches of wild for untouched snow and never-before-filmed mountain areas.
On foot, ski and snowmobile, they hiked into national parks and wilderness areas throughout the state, sometimes for days, before reaching their ski destination. Hammer described the unparalleled feeling of skiing straight down an uncharted mountain. From the top he could not see the steep slope and rocky cliffs below, but had to guess where he was headed based on his memory of the mountain from the bottom, he said. Hammer recalls miscalculating on his first run and getting lucky when he sped down the mountain and managed to avoid any dangerous surprises.
The film was shot over the winters of 2010 and 2011. Hammer remembers that during the first winter Wyoming had an unusual shortage of snowfall. Then one week in February the snow finally came in full force, dropping a layer of fresh powder over exposed rock. Hammer ruined four pairs of skis over the next few weeks, but it was worth it – “skiing powder is arguably the best feeling in the world.”
Dozens of student came out for the screening, which took place before Thanksgiving break, and cheered for Hammer as he glided down mountains on screen. Hammer is not sure where his future in skiing is headed, but said it will remain a central part of his life.