Now that we are fully into ski season and the seemingly endless flow of ski videos from last year has tapered off, we have been able to take a day off of skiing (begrudgingly) to sit on the couch with a cold beer or 12 and watch all of our favorites again.
One of the ski videos that we were most hyped on this year was Fortune Hunters by The Blank Collective. The film follows a group of determined skiers in the rugged North West. As winter’s unpredictability threatens their bounty, they embark on an epic journey reminiscent of legendary frontier sagas. Facing treacherous terrains, they chase the ultimate skiing prize through gold rush storms in Lake Tahoe, and unfamiliar mountains in Japan, and prove their skills in the high country.
After watching it for the third time, I decided to give a call to the mastermind behind the operation, as well as a featured skier, Alexi Godbout, to discuss his ski movie that’s all-killer, no filler.
Hey Alexi! Congratulations on, not only starring in but also directing and editing your first full-length ski movie! How did it feel to take the helm of the operation?
Hey thanks, man I really appreciate that. It was definitely overwhelming last fall when I realized I’d be wearing a lot of different hats throughout the winter. It all ended up going quite smoothly overall. We have an awesome crew of skiers and production so that made it much easier throughout the winter.
How do you balance skiing in the film with directing and editing?
Luckily, all these different tasks have their time and place. When I ski I try to focus 100% on that throughout the winter. And it’s the exact same with editing. When I started the process in May, I dedicated all my time and energy to the project, treating it as a full-time 9-5 job until the project was finished. It was actually quite a challenge learning to trust my editing abilities and go with the flow. Having worked with Jeff Thomas for the past few years helped a ton as well. He’s super organized and fast, so learning from him was a massive opportunity.
Do you also spend time behind the camera filming?
I have been more and more for sure. This is probably my favorite part of the process. I love seeing edits unfold in front of my eyes as I’m shooting them. It’s a lot more rewarding and motivating when I get to edit my own footage. I don’t really get to do it as much during the winter as I’m still skiing a ton. But, I’ve had the chance to shoot a few different projects this summer/fall and it’s been super eye-opening. I definitely really like the balance of skiing and filmmaking at the moment.
The snow conditions last winter down south were off the charts. How did last season compare to other seasons and how did it influence the film?
Indeed, California absolutely went off last season and Daiek, Stan, Trevor, and Hazen killed it. They were able to shoot such a wide variety of terrain and conditions. It made for 2 epic segments. The last big Tahoe winter we were able to capture was 2019 for 7 Stages of Blank. It wasn’t quite as crazy as this last winter, but still pretty wild. It’s always mind-melting seeing snowbanks reach the roof of houses and how critical snow management becomes.
How will you top Fortune Hunters next year?
Tough question. I guess you’ll have to wait and see 😉