Further


Friday, October 13th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


By Mike Daniel / The Dallas Morning News

Further may be the only big-screen experience that requires sunglasses to watch.

The fourth film in AMC Theatre's Adrenaline Theater series of standout extreme-sports showcases, Further is packed with some of the craziest skiing and snowboarding footage this side of Telluride. The film is blinding in its whiteness, in its music-video pace and in its jaw-slacking shock value.

Produced by upstart Teton Gravity Research, the film follows the exploits of more than 20 extreme athletes in search of virgin slopes to run in Alaska, Wyoming, Utah, Canada and Europe. Downhill and freestyle skiing and snowboarding fill the screen for nearly an hour, accompanied by a sufficiently brash 22-song soundtrack by the likes of Cypress Hill, Rage Against the Machine, Incubus and Johnny Cash.

No doubt exists as to the gumption of the athletes, who reach 70 mph at times and soar well more than 100 feet in the air. Most of the film's 15 vignettes are breathtaking both for their scenery – crews and skiiers took helicopters to unreachable peaks for most of the film – and for their unimaginable stunts.

Of all extreme sports, this type of skiing is probably the most dangerous, as shown early on by veteran Dan Treadway, who shatters his pelvis on a slope in Jackson Hole, Wyo. TGR even placed a camera and microphone on the helmets of two skiiers for a breath-heavy, first-person account of a 75-degree, 3,000-foot descent.

The film's run is ultimately tiring as well. Only the truly stoked will charge through the film, which is riddled with lifeless narration by co-director Steven Jones, amateurish subtitling and choppy overdubbing. The 35mm format doesn't lend itself to great image quality, either.

In the end, Further isn't about quality, though. It's about documentation, proof that it's humanly possible to ski ahead of an avalanche, do three somersaults in a 120-foot freestyle jump and survive a 300-foot, head-over-foot tumble down a Brooks Range peak.

Or, if you're freestyle world champion Candide Thovex, get up after slamming chest-first into a snowbank and completing a snow-ramp-to-snow-ramp jump. Now that's going further.