Flow State

Stuck in the middle of Flow State, the annual Warren Miller ski movie, is a welcome little history chapter on the 10th Mountain Division, whose troops learned to ski on Mt. Rainier and near Vail, Colorado, where vintage color footage shows GIs training before Pearl Harbor. Their white camouflage rucksacks are bulging, they carry heavy rifles, yet some manage surprisingly graceful turns. After the war, these storied vets would create the modern ski industry; and a few of these octogenarians are still skiing, as they testify here. Then a grandson heads into the mountains with 1940s equipment—bear trap bindings, narrow wood skis, screw-on edges, climbing skins made of real seal skin—and discovers how tough those old soldiers really were. "The skis just don't want to turn!" he exclaims after repeatedly crashing. How much easier the sport is now with modern gear, as documented in the rest of the snowy compendium, which travels from Japan to the Alps and Alaska. Virtually every skier now has a GoPro camera mounted on their helmet; and the modern ski arsenal also typically includes iPhone, GPS, and avalanche transceiver. Still, the simple pleasure of schussing remains the same even if, in the film's final Norway segment, winter itself is under assault. Global warming is belatedly addressed, and Flow State asks, "If the Arctic ice is going, could the snow be next?" Not this season, we hope. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Nov. 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 17, 8 p.m., 2012

 
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