Have you ever wanted to enter the mind of an extreme skier riding a fresh line? What about the internal motivations that move athletes to continue to push the envelope in the outdoors?
All questions will be answered this Saturday afternoon, when Teton Gravity Research premieres its newest film, “Stoke The Fire,” at Walk Festival Hall in Teton Village.
The prewinter party includes screenings at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Before each showing there will be athlete poster signings, Sierra Nevada beer, Tincup Whiskey drinks and music cranking from the TGR Stokemobile outside Walk Hall. The late screening includes an intimate set with Portugal. The Man afterward. The night wraps with an after-party at TGR Continuum Hotel with a Jerry Dance Party featuring mind-bending lights and video set to Grateful Dead DJ tracks.
And as always, there will be giveaways throughout the evening, with prizes from Sierra Nevada, Yeti, The North Face, Atomic, Volkl, OnX and more.
Shredding the mountains of Seward, Alaska; British Columbia; Cooke City, Montana; the North Cascades; and yes, Jackson Hole, TGR’s newest installment allows viewers to get inside the minds of an impressive group of athletes, including Kai Jones, Caite Zeliff, Griffin Post, Jim Ryan and Veronica Paulsen. Exploring concepts of self-love, joy and “stoke” conjured by the mountains, “Stoke the Fire” will look in depth at the fuel that keeps the most passionate winter thrill seekers moving through blood, sweat and tears.
“The title itself refers to stoking your internal fire and doing the things that make you feel alive and happy,” said Teton Gravity Research’s lead editor, Charlotte Percle.
Discussing the broad concept of “stoking one’s internal fire” brings a different meaning to mind for each and every athlete.
“Stoke is a lust for life. ... an unbridled enthusiasm in what [someone’s] doing,” said featured athlete Post, in his 10th year filming with TGR. “A fire fueled by not only the activity itself but the people that you’re doing it with.”
“Stoke is similar to happiness, something we chase as athletes, and something we find in the mountains with our closest friends,” said Zeliff, in her second year with TGR.
Percle, a former TGR intern, recently moved into the role of lead editor in place of Blake Wilson. Following her debut in that position in “Make Believe,” from 2020, “Stoke the Fire” marks her second film at the helm of the creative team.
“I got a job as an assistant editor on the first HBO film that we did about Lindsey Vonn,” Percle said, “and then moved on to assistant edit the film ‘Winterland,’ which actually turned into a co-editing role with Jill [Garreffi], who had been at TGR for 11 years at that point. [Garreffi] basically just taught me everything she knew.”
While Percle offers a new perspective on the mental aptitude it takes to conquer new challenges in the mountains, the project also offered unique challenges to film around, including one that no editor could have seen coming: a pandemic.
Filming scenes between January and March 2021, TGR producers worked safely with health precautions while not losing the company’s innate sense of naturalism.
While the pandemic added unusual obstacles to filming, Percle said the challenges actually ended up offering inspiration for the concept of the film, with viewers needing a release from the stresses that the lockdown lacquered over their lives.
“After a year of the pandemic and things being hard for most people, we wanted to focus on fun and try and make a film that was going to make people laugh and leave feeling really positive,” Percle said. “Stoke the Fire” is “basically just about finding your passion and motivation to do what you love.”
Instead of taking its own crew out to filming locations, TGR worked with local teams based in each area.
“Everyone kind of pulled together as a team, and somehow we managed to pull it off,” Percle said. “It was definitely scary at first because I was not expecting any of the other stuff that happened last year to happen. I don’t think anyone was.”
Presenting a roadblock to their adventure, the pandemic challenges presented an opportunity for a positive spin to inspire some of the athletes, as well.
“With travel super limited, it was a unique challenge to find those zones that we may have overlooked over the years,” said Post. “It turned out there were plenty.
“It was a great reminder that one need not go to the end of the earth to find a new adventure,” he said. “There are plenty right under one’s nose if you’re willing to look. Looking forward, while I’ll still try and seek out those far-flung adventures, I have a newfound appreciation for those closer-to-home objectives and will continue to look out for the low-hanging fruit in the backyard.”
Ushering in a new opportunity, Percle is looking to bring the heat in her second film.
“I’ve just been watching a lot of TGR films and trying to bring that vibe and energy to this one,” Percle said about her editing style.
Got to TetonGravity.com for information and tickets. In addition to general admission, VIP passes are available. Masks will be required. All proceeds will benefit Coombs Outdoors and the Friends of the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center.