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Arts & Life

'Steep'

Look before you leap: Steep sure is pretty, but at what cost? Chris Noble/Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

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Chris Noble/Sony Pictures Classics

Look before you leap: Steep sure is pretty, but at what cost?

Chris Noble/Sony Pictures Classics
  • Director: Mark Obenhaus
  • Genre: Documentary, Sport
  • Running Time: 92 minutes

Sort of a surfing documentary on ice, Mark Obenhaus' extreme-skiing movie follows a few seemingly insane skiers as they attempt descents — not at ski resorts, but on mountains in the wilds of Iceland, Alaska, and other spots not known for having ambulances and medics at the ready. The stakes are life-and-death (one skier died just days after being filmed), and the thrills, at least to hear these skiers tell it, are commensurate with the dangers.

Here's the thing, though: Where early extreme skiers seem at least nominally interested in staying alive, bouncing a few feet at a time down mountains that approach the vertical, latter-day showoffs race avalanches and hurl themselves off cliffs with parachute backpacks, mostly for the benefit of cameras. As a wintry travelogue, it's pretty enough, though how you feel about the recklessness may color how you feel about the view.