Posted on 17 March 2011.
An abundance of man-ass highlights the film G.N.A.R. (Photo courtesy of UnofficialNetwork.com)
Blame it on primal caveman instinct or maybe it’s just plain boredom, but I think we can all agree that there’s something about hanging with your friends that makes you want to beat them at everything. It’s basic human nature. Whether you measure up to your friends in seemingly meaningless areas like movie trivia, fishing, daffy offs, chili-offs, biathlons, ping pong, beer pong or an Old Country Buffet marathon one thing will always be a constant: no competition is ever too mundane. This basic principal is what keeps good peer-to-peer relationships grounded, and it is also why the film G.N.A.R. might be one of the greatest ski and snowboard films ever created.
A few months back people were constantly telling me about G.N.A.R. and I was a little nervous when my girlfriend mentioned to me that she was in the film (which features a section filmed here in Mammoth). Thankfully, when I finally got around to seeing the clip I was relieved to see that all she did was look into the camera and say “1500 points!” My nervousness was justified because in the very next scene, one of the skiers in the film leans over and motor-boats a random chick at Hyde Lounge.
G.N.A.R. (which stands for Gaffney’s Numerical Assessment of Radness) is a game turned film based upon Rob Gaffney’s book “Squallywood,” depicting differing variations and difficulties of Squaw Valley’s terrain. So, taking notes from the book the late-great skier Shane McConkey and his pals adapted it into a game called G.N.A.R. The concept is simple, it’s a competition that never ends and allows you to earn monetary points by riding “gnarly” runs based on how well you execute them.
However it’s not just about shredding huge lines. You can also earn extra credit points (ECPs) for things like pole whacking before a run, riding in the nude, calling up your mom mid-run, peeing mid-run, cooking breakfast in the lift line, snowlerblading, wearing a fart-bag (aka a one-piece suit), claiming before a run, “I’m gonna rip the sh*t of out this!,” stopping a random skier and stating “Just so you know, I’m the best skier on the mountain,” and for a ton of points, approaching a pro and saying something along the lines “I can’t believe you’re a pro! I’m so much better than you.”
With the complete set of rules for anarchy in place, Gaffney and www.unofficialnetworks.com
decided it was best to shoot a film that showcases an on and off the hill competition between 20 skiers and snowboarders. Shot over 10 days in March of 2010, the competitors went head-to-head to see who lives the life of G.N.A.R. to the fullest while competing for a beefy cash prize of $25,000.
To put things in perspective, the film starts out with the disclaimer, “In this movie, the word “sh*t” is said roughly 79 times, often with authority. If the word “sh*t” offends you, turn off the volume. Of course, you’re probably pissed off already because you just read the word “sh*t” twice–no, three times. On top of that, you may be offended by the abundance of man-ass and the occasional ball sack, so you may also want to turn down the sharpness of your TV or turn off the picture altogether. Shane McConkey, however, thought these kinds of things were funny, so they’re in this movie. So sip away at your Zima and live with it.”
This warning is more than appropriate considering most of the film is based around nude skiing, binge drinking and a healthy amount of sailor language. Essentially a perfect homage to McConkey.
The first day of shooting went exactly as you would expect, i.e. Squaw Valley put an end to the competition after numerous complaints of copious man-ass were spotted bombing all over the hill. So, unraveled and determined to press on, the crew loaded up a couple of RV’s and hit the road taking G.N.A.R. to neighboring ski resorts, including Mammoth Mountain.
The Mammoth section starts off with the competitors road tripping south via U.S. 395 and ultimately spending the first night partying at Hyde Lounge. As previously mentioned, it went exceptionally well. The following day was highlighted by a lengthy snowlerblading session in Main Park (set to the tune of Ween’s “Boy’s Club” which performs the film’s entire soundtrack) and a sauced up tailgating party in the Main Lodge parking lot. Which, by the way, features one of the best scenes in the film where one of the skiers, dressed as McConkey’s alter ego Saucer Boy, walks up to Mammoth team rider Mason Aguirre as he’s sitting in his Audi:
Saucer Boy: Mason Aguirre!?
Aguirre: What’s up man?
Saucer Boy: Oh sh*t! (Laughs) Dude I can’t believe you’re a pro, I’ am so much better than you.
Aguirre: (Visibly pissed) You f*ckin’… look at you man. Have another sip of your whiskey. Nice knee pads you f*ckin’ kook!
Saucer Boy: Hey come on! (as Aguirre peels off)
He then motorboats some chick in the parking lot, and of course shortly after is arrested by MLPD. That must have been worth a ton of points.
Personally, ski and snowboard movies as of late are monotonous and have been overwhelmingly cookie cutter. Very rarely does a film come around that truly revolutionizes the industry. I’m content in admitting that I’m completely numb to shot after shot of repetitive “snow-porn.”
However G.N.A.R. is a refreshing take on a tired genre. It’s raw, and doesn’t need fancy equipment, an expensive soundtrack or even name-brand riders. It isn’t about how “sick” someone is, or even about far off exotic locations. It’s about what’s missing in today’s ski and snowboard films, fun (and maybe gratuitous amounts of man-ass). I’m not condoning the actions of anyone in the film but I will say watching G.N.A.R. reminds us of why we like skiing and snowboarding in the first place … one upping your buddies to the fullest.
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