'Legend of Aahhh's' shows at Mammoth Lakes Arts Center

Greg Stump spotlights legendary filmmakers, skiers in new film

Ahhhh ... one of the sounds made when watching ski movies, whether evoked by incredible landscapes and vistas, or by skiers launching off improbable precipices to land far below in the snow.

Greg Stump’s “Legend of Aahhh’s” is a ski movie about ski movies, the people who made them and those who skied in them.

It will be screened at the Mammoth Lakes Arts Center Saturday night, March 12.

Former championship freestyle skier turned filmmaker Greg Stump spent three years chronicling the breath-catching, awe-inspiring footage of skiing’s outer limits.

“The movie gives the viewer a real interesting perspective,” Stump said from his Los Angeles studio – from ski movies in Germany in the late 1930s to Otto Lang, the pioneer ski instructor turned film producer, and more recent ski filmographers John Jay, Dick Barrymore and Warren Miller.
“The movie has first-hand, intelligent conversation, taking people from the early years up to the present,” Stump said. In fact, he said, he has the last interview with Barrymore before he became ill.

Stump was a championship freestyle skier in the late 1970s, when he happened to meet Barrymore and auditioned to be in one of his ski films.

“The rest is history,” Stump said.

“He was a single guy with a camera and would whistle when he wanted me to go. I was inspired by the simplicity of it.”

Stump’s first ski movie was “Maltese Flamingo” in 1984, followed by “Blizzard of Aahhh’s” in 1988, which launched the concept of extreme skiing. Called a “rockumentary,” the movie combines ski footage with rock music.

Good music was the element Stump found lacking in other ski movies and he infused the action with the equally exciting sounds of rock.
“Blizzard” featured cliff-jumper Scot Schmidt, extreme skier Glen Plake and precision skier Mike Hattrup, and caught wild ski action from France’s Chamonix Valley to Squaw Valley.

“Stump’s bold integration of radical terrain free-riding, punk antics, and thumping sound-tracks did much more than electrify the sagging sport of skiing and inspire a generation. It gave birth to all-American Extreme, with a capital E,” said Ski Magazine.

“Blizzard” was ranked the number one ski film of all time by the Ski Channel.

Stump stopped skiing and making films about extreme skiing because of the danger and fear factor. He turned his energy to interviews for “Legend,” among which are Dave McCoy, the late skier and base jumper Scott McConkey, John Clendennin and Klaus Obermeyer.

Stump quoted Obermeyer as saying “forget extreme and get back to beauty.”
Both the beauty and risk that live at the sport’s edges are part of “Legend of Aahhh’s.”

Stump, who in 1999 was honored by Skiing Magazine as one of the 25 most influential people in skiing of all time, also makes commercials and music videos, including a soon-to-be-debuted video of Lucas Nelson.
“Legends” will be shown exclusively at the Mammoth Lakes Arts Center, at 7 p.m. Saturday night, March 12. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance at the Booky Joint, $15 at the door. Proceeds benefit Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra.