Professional skier Nikolai Schirmer barely survives his first trip on the sailboat Sofie, swearing to never set foot on her again, but is tempted back by the new captain and a legendary skier who tells him tales of the mountains of Svalbard, that island group just before the North Pole.
Crossing the sea from mainland Norway, it turns out the captain has also invited his mom’s new boyfriend (to let the high seas determine if he’s man enough for her), and a recovered drug addict who spent 30 years on the streets doing substances that has rendered him immune to seasickness, which comes in handy when he’s the only one in the crew left in a condition to do any sort of cooking. The captain having to sleep at some point during the multi day crossing, the skiers are forced to learn the craft of sailing and navigating icebergs before finally being greeted by walrus in the high north.
Finally on land in the arctic, the legendary Norwegian skier Asbjørn Eggebø (last man standing of the early pros), the rookie Celeste Pomerantz and Nikolai stock up on polar bear deterrents (including WW2 era armaments) and set out looking for the lines of their lives, which quickly gets complicated as they are in very different stages of their careers.
Celeste is young, eager and ready to ski anything at any time, whereas Nikolai and Asbjørn are more selective, with Asbjørn’s newfound caution in the face of risk (aiming to keep being the last man standing), adding even more fire to the mutual frustrations. Frustrations that are only topped by the captain’s exasperation with a crew that are rebellious to authority and incompetent with life at sea.
The mystery of who keeps clogging the sink make temperaments run almost as hot as the arctic heatwave that’s forcing the crew further north, meeting ever more exotic wildlife and wilder mountains, untill there is nothing but a sliver of frozen waters between them and the north pole, but sadly no skiing of quality due to the heat wave and a persistent cloud cover.
Having turned the day upside down to ride under the midnight sun, based on a failed idea that cooler night temperatures might help the conditions, the crew grows delirius with time, eachother and the confines of the tiny sailboat. An unusual number of polar bears rule out easy excursion on land to let off steam, and so they sit there. Like sardines in a can. In the arctic. All their dreams of adventure rapidly washing out to sea with the torrents of meltwater carving deep rivers in the glaciated landscape.
Finally, in a mid-fjord barter with an expedition vessel, the skiers learn of a party on a research station and decide their only hope is to drink the sky blue. Bartering milk for beer with a British gang of shanty singing sailors, the crew shows up to the research station and to their amazement discover the line of the trip right there.
Pushing through a heavy hangover, their mutual differences, polar bear land and the glacial rivers that have grown huge by now, the skiers finally summit La Diabla Inferno. And so, after just one of them falls down the mountain on the first attempt at the descent (but is luckily okay and climbs back up), the merry crew of Sofie finally got what they came for.
The film is a documentary told in a low key style aimed at bringing across the humor, the drama, the natural beauty and the action that any good ski trip has. With a film crew able to follow the skiers to the most absurd locations and lav mics running at all times, we intimately follow the ups and downs of friendship, and skiers and animals trying to make sense of a warming world.
Is This Thing On?, Shapes, Perks, Schirmer In The Field, Endless Winter, Wavy - The Last Voyage Of Sofie And Captain Crocs, NOK, and countless YouTube videos.
Celeste Pomerantz, Nikolai Schirmer and Asbjørn Eggebø Næss
For this year’s iF3 Movie Awards, any and all films about skiing, snowboarding or a mixture of the two are eligible.
Whether it’s focused on freestyle, freeride, urban, backcountry, telemark skiing, mountaineering, adventuring, a documentary subject, or anything in between, your film is welcome at iF3.
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