Local ski legend “Crazy” Karl Fostvedt fell in love with filmmaking at Wood River High School. In a ninth grade multimedia class, teacher Chet Olson taught him how to shoot, photograph and edit.
With his new independent movie “Brap Ski—Volume One,” Fostvedt combines his two passions. It premieres at The Argyros on Thursday, Oct. 7.
Brap skiing is the method of using snowmobiles to climb backcountry terrain to find undiscovered routes.
“It’s so physically demanding,” Fostvedt said. “Certain days when things don’t go your way, it can be very mentally demanding as well.”
Skiing throughout Washington, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah, Fostvedt’s crew shot the film in January through April of this past year.
The crew used drones to capture beautiful, cinematic shots of skiers soaring off jumps. They cut down 20 terabytes of raw footage to make a 25-minute runtime film.
“It’s like piecing together a 1,000-piece puzzle and you get a box that includes 10,000 pieces,” Fostvedt said. “It’s hard to whittle it down, pick out the best moments, sync it together and make it work. It’s easy to overthink it.”
For cinematography, Fostvedt hired one of his closest friends, Jasper Newton.
“One of my big goals with this production company was to create an outlet where I would help my friends to pursue their passions as well,” Fostvedt said.
The movie is littered with old buddies of Fostvedt.
“We just have really good chemistry together out on the mountain,” Fostvedt said. “Teamwork is such an important part of brap skiing.”
“Brap Ski” showcases the talent of McKenna Peterson, Collin Collins, Harlan Collins, Dirt Franco, Matt Guyer, Barrett Cincotta, Lexi Dupont, Thayne Rich, Blaine Gallivan, and Olympian Chase Josey.
Josey is the token snowboarder of the group.
“My favorite part really is just the time spent with the crew,” Josey said. “The constant banter between everyone ensures we’re all having a good time and ready to go. Then the hard work starts: Setting up a game plan, building features, shuttling snowmobile laps, hiking, landing tricks and then repeat.”
Another local skier in the film is WingTai Barrymore, whose grandfather is Dick Barrymore, a ski filmmaker of the 60s and 70s revered by Fostvedt. Other influences on Fostvedt include Bruce Brown, who made the surfing classic “Endless Summer,” and Greg Stump who made the “Blizzard of Aahhh’s.”
“I definitely have aspirations to create films that will go down in the history books like those guys have,” Fostvedt said. “That may or may not happen. But shoot for the stars, right?”
Fostvedt was there for every step of the filmmaking process: working with sponsors, organizing different crews and getting funding.
“I was really amazed by the local support I was able to get,” Fostvedt said.
Hank Minor of Apples Bar and Grill was one of the first people to endorse the film and help make it happen. He told Fostvedt, “Stop talking about it, and start doing it.”
Working with various production companies over the past decade, Fostvedt used his connections from Teton Gravity Research, Matchstick Productions, Poor Boyz Productions and Sweetgrass Entertainment to build the best crew possible.
During the shoots, Fostvedt would pick out the mission for the day and figure out the logistics of getting in and out safely.
“It is not always easy going, day in and day out, grinding, just trying to make a passion project happen,” Josey said. “I have a lot of respect for Karl for stepping up and taking responsibility for his goal of finishing the movie.”
“Brap Ski—Volume One” plays at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets bought in advance cost $15. Tickets at the door cost $20. Tickets can be purchased online at theargyros.org.
“If the people are excited about it and want to see more, we’ll definitely make another one,” Fostvedt said.
This winter, Fostvedt looks forward to competing in the King and Queens of Corbet’s in Jackson Hole, where he’s a past champion. At age 31, he says he’s at the perfect crossroads of vitality and experience.
“I think these next few years are really going to be my opportunity to go out and see what I’m really made of and put my best work out there.”