Best Ski Culture DVD Ever! -- "The Cross Country Experience -- Bill Koch"
I can't believe I haven't had any mention of this wonderful, potentially life-changing movie until now. Actually, I did post about it -- in a Comment to a Sled story years ago. Ha! Hardly the prominence it deserves! I should rep this flick. I'm its biggest fan. Well, until YOU watch it, that is! The fans of this flick stack up pretty deep over the decades. Well, I suppose by now it's mostly a matter of "the missing years." Likely whole generations have come along without seeing it, ending up misguided in their XC quest unless they've had fortunate intervention from Fun People.
Anyway, THIS is the kind of skiing I'm working to promote and to revive! It's our ROOTS, baby! Do whatever else you like otherwise, but don't neglect your "anywhere there's snow!" funtime picnic party roots! That's my recipe for keeping XC alive and thriving in the US of A.
Here's a sweet preview to prove I'm not lyin':
The movie is a 14-minute short made by Rossi and Kodak (Kodachrome!) back in the early 80's or even 70's. It's done to vintage pro standards. Hot! We played it at the outdoor shop I worked at -- Raupp's in Lansing. (Hey, I need to post an article giving props to Raupp's -- talk about influence!)
The New England Nordic Ski Assoc, where BK hails from, has the rights to sell it as a fundraiser. -- http://www.nensa.net/videos/ (It's linked at the bottom of the page.)
They sell it on DVD for $15 or $20, depending (the NENSA site seems a bit mixed up).
(I wonder what BK is up to. Skied with him once. I should try to track that ol' innovator down.)
So I first saw this flick back when I was first getting into sport XC. What it has is SPIRIT! It's all casual, backwoods style---with some super-dyno trail action and racing thrown in.
Bill Koch shows what it's all about. Man, I just LOVE those hill-bombing scenes. Koch has recently complained that World Cup courses are becoming too tame. Now, I hear they still have plenty of 40mph+ sections, but I think he means the twisty, handling-skills they used to need to handle the pre-jumps and such on their non-bull-dozered courses. You'll see when you watch this movie!
Man, what fun! I actually found a couple of sections to be emotionally moving --- when the movie transitions from fast downhill to kicking and gliding back uphill with the nice soundtrack --- that just does something to me. I think it's the holistic rhythm of XC. There's a deep richness to it. You blast down, you work back up---but it's all skiing, all gliding. No free lunch. You're not paying for it. No one is giving it to you. Earn your turns, man. It's real. It's lovely.
Then there's the sunshine, the corn snow, the maple syrup dripping. The superfun bluegrass soundtrack. C'mon!
But it doesn't stop there, no way. We see some of XC's contact with wider culture -- Billy drives up in his ol' truck full of skis, with a dog. Then he and a gang of all ages go on a picnic tour.
The fact that there are kids, teens and old-timers all in this flick tells you that ol' Bill had it goin' on. And he looks like he was about 20 at the time.
There's also great sequence of kids ski racing and of ski-soccer. You gotta love those crazy faces and crazy squeals!
The HOW is overdone nowadays. We need more WHY. This flick delivers.
(So does the "Unlimited" movie that I sell -- the only other ski culture flick.)
BK started the first nat'l kids ski league, after all. And when he got that rolling, I recall a story about how Rossi provided a van and a bunch of skis to a couple Michigan guys back in that time. They drove around to all the schools, showing kids how to ski and I believe even giving skis to schools, courtesy of Rossi. They jumpstarted skiing in Michigan right then and there, I do believe. I think it was Gary Nelke and Don Kane who were majorly involved with all this.