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TGR’s ‘The Hypocrite’ Looks at Ski Film Industry’s Massive Carbon Footprint

Ski movies rely heavily on fossil fuels, yet most production companies and athletes are also advocates for sustainability — how can they balance both?

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Behind liquid cash and raw talent, the two most important ingredients in any successful ski movie are snow and fossil fuels. Airplanes, cars, helicopters, snowcats, and snowmobiles all burn gas and are all essential to producing a high-caliber ski film. At the same time, many production companies support conservation organizations like Protect Our Winters (POW), and many ski and snowboard athletes are advocates and activists for sustainability.

It’s a conundrum that Teton Gravity Research’s (TGR) upcoming film “The Hypocrite” explores. Told through the eyes of female pro skier Amie Engerbretson, the film challenges society to move beyond its culture of individual blame, and to instead focus on the paradigm shifts that can actually make a difference.

“I know I’m burning gas, and I could be better,” Engerbretson said in the film’s trailer. “It’s a selfish thought to not be able to give it up for our planet. But on the other side, it’s a life that would lack far too much for me.”

Engerbretson acknowledged that she and other pro skiers like her have been called out by “haters” who are seeing right through their “professional athlete bullshit,” as she phrased it.

“The Hypocrite” not only reflects on and delves into this critical discourse, but it also offers a way forward as well. It invites collective action. It calls for systemic change and teamwork, instead of blaming and guilting one another.

“The message is complicated, sticky, and very important,” Engerbretson wrote of the new film.

Ski films without flights and heli trips have been done, as well as ski films that decide to make up for that by buying offsets, but they are few and far between. What do environmentally concious ski films look like, if they can’t be all human-powered?

TGR will premiere “The Hypocrite” on December 5, 2023, at the Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema. It will be available after that on TGR’s website.

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