The pioneers of a famed ski zone in the West Kootenay lock their heels and spin their wheels in a new film by local media company CK9 Studios. By Malia Joy
Forever Young is a seven-minute film, directed by Clay Mitchell and Simon Shave, that offers a glimpse into the ski culture of Nelson, British Columbia, where daily snow reports are consumed before coffee and age has no bearing on off-piste adventures.
Shot at Whitewater Ski Resort for car company Mini Global, Forever Young showcases Joan Harvey, Bud Stoll, Michael Brewster, and Ken McClennan, four skiers in their seventies and eighties who are members of an informal group known locally as the Silver Sliders. It was created in the 1990s by a dozen enthusiastic skiers who were “the epitome of Whitewater pioneers,” says Shave, 38, who grew up in the community. He goes on to say they were the “first to steer [the resort] to the powder and slackcountry Mecca on the backside,” taking turns driving a vehicle down the road to pick each other up after a run. The area is now serviced by the Glory Chair, installed in 2010. The name Silver Sliders refers to the silver Volant skis the members favoured back in the day, but “at some point, our hair colour defined our name,” says Brewster in the film. He’s been skiing for over 75 years.
This isn’t the first time the Sliders have appeared on film. In 2007, director Bill Heath cast them in his movie Nine Winters Old, which won multiple awards on the film-festival circuit that year. Shave is hoping for the same thing when Forever Young is entered into festivals. The movie serves up slo-mo turns in coldsmoke snow and scenes of easy camaraderie between the friends. In one clip, Harvey jokes, “Life’s no fun if you don’t have any,” and in another she tries to catch snowflakes in her hands while beaming like a small child. Indeed, Forever Young is perfectly named.