Vertical Integration’s self titled film chronicles the history of a group of Utah skiers who are drawn to the Wasatch backcountry and free heel skiing. Over the years, this group sets themselves apart through their passion for filming, photographing, and writing about their exploits. Theses endeavors allow them to travel the world in pursuit of knee-dropping good times; while they quietly and consistently keep themselves relevant in the small world of telemark publications.
The film is interesting in that it shows how a group of friends can take their passion for floppy binding skiing and elevate it into an ongoing project, which acts as an outlet for their creative and intellectual pursuits. By being bold enough to share their craft, and partake in a bit of self promoting, the smelly tele skiers create a meaningful legacy, as well as friendships across continents.
The movie is a bit lengthy, and the really great skiing, like that that goes down during their trip to Austria, is spread somewhat sparsely over the hour and fifteen minutes. But, the Vertical Integration crew does a great job of painting a picture of how a lifestyle dedicated to sharing skiing with others can be achieved without buying in to the commercial forward nature of popular skiing media outlets. There’s no attitude or flash in the history of V.I. Just a collection of skiers immersed in their craft. For this reason Vertical Integration is a very worthwhile watch, and an excellent example for anyone passionate about skiing.