Local skiing master “Crazy” Karl Fostvedt earned his moniker and its associated reputation for his physics-defying daring-dos, especially by carving up the backcountry and including a famous run down the notoriously challenging Corbet’s Couloir in Jackson Hole.
His exploits have been captured on film by both professionals and amateurs alike, and it is safe to say that many a Sun Valley resident and vacationer has seen a run or two of his on film. Another opportunity to do so will present itself this week on a grand scale.
On Friday, Oct 18, the Argyros Performing Arts Center will host two showings of Matchstick Productions’ latest ski film, “Return to Send’er,” which chronicles the backstories and accomplishments of four elite free-skiers: Mark Abma, Sam Kuch, Logan Pehota and, of course, Crazy Karl.
“Growing up in the area, I watched ski movies at the Sun Valley Opera House and the nexStage Theatre,” Fostvedt recalled. “Matchstick Productions has been coming to Ketchum and Sun Valley for more than 20 years now, premiering movies that inspired me in my childhood to shoot for the stars in skiing.
“This is my first year working with them. It’s been a hugely productive year and exceeded my expectations by a longshot. I just want to try to create that same experience I had at the nexStage Theatre and inspire people to ski.”
While the nexStage no longer stands on Main Street in Ketchum, the new Argyros Performing Arts Center has taken its place, and in screening “Return to Send’er” will hopefully capture the feeling of wonder that helped put Fostvedt on the path to skiing glory.
Despite his nickname, Fostvedt is an outspoken advocate of safety and caution, acknowledging the potential for extreme danger in the mountainous backcountry, which is why all proceeds from the screenings at the Argyros will be donated to the Friends of the Sawtooth Avalanche Center https://www.sawtoothavalanche.com/donate.phpand the Sawtooth City Volunteer Fire Department http://sawtoothcity.org/firedistrict.html
“I want to raise as much awareness for them as I can,” he said. “When I was a kid, I wasn’t aware of the resources the Avalanche Center provides, I wasn’t properly educated and I did a lot of dangerous stuff in the backcountry. I want to inspire kids to ski the way I was inspired, but I also want to show them how to do it safely.”
In the film, each of the four subjects gets a segment of about 15 minutes in which they are the sole focus. Then, in a final climax, they come together for what Fostvedt described as “one of the most insane heliskiing trips of all time.”
“It’s a trip you dream of as a kid. That segment is the highlight of the film.”
While the death-defying stunts displayed during the heliskiing climax promise to wow audiences, Fostvedt again stressed the importance of safety.
“You’ll see me do some pretty crazy stuff, but when you’re working with that many experienced people, you feel a little more comfortable taking risks. I took way more risks then than I normally would in the backcountry. You’ve got an evacuation vehicle, some of the most experienced skiers in the world—working with a group like that, well, I did stuff on that trip I would never consider doing normally.”
The film was shot on location in British Columbia, Jackson Hole, Wyo., Squaw Valley, Calif., and locally in Sun Valley, featuring, as Fostvedt so humbly put it, “Mark Abma and comparatively three rookies.”
“Crazy” Karl Fostvedt will be in attendance at both screenings, the first of which is at 6 p.m. and the second at 9 p.m. He will present the film and, afterward, discuss it with the audience, sharing his experiences and speaking on the importance of the work performed by the Avalanche Center and the Volunteer Fire Department.