With the world’s greatest Alpine skiers descending on the Austrian town of Kitzbühel this weekend, we got to thinking about whether or not the movies have ever managed to replicate the excitement of the real thing. This lot got pretty close…
Before we go any further, we should probably clarify that the films on this list are not necessarily masterpieces. It's just that they feature some cracking snow chases. Take this Roger Moore-era Bond flick for example. It’s by no means the best in the series - in fact, it’s probably situated somewhere between Octopussy and Quantum Of Solace at the lesser end of 007’s greatest adventures – but it does contain one hell of a pre-credits sequence. James kicks it all off with some pre-ski sexy time, goes for a downhill jaunt, kills a few baddies and jumps off a cliff before unravelling a Union Flag parachute. As movie openers go, it’s hard to beat. In terms of Bond prefaces, it’s one of the best.
No, not Cockney rhyming slang for self-abuse, but in fact an early-Noughties, kiddie-friendly action flick starring that young lad out of Malcolm In The Middle. While the plot about a boy secret agent who goes undercover to follow the daughter of a renowned scientist is pure bunkum, there are actually some pretty damn cool rocket-powered snowboarding scenes in there. Yep, that’s right, we said rocket-powered snowboard – interested now?
Yep, it’s your man James Bond once again. As you may have realised, snowbound action sequences are two-a-penny in 007 flicks but this one stands out simply because Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang manages to somehow find time in amongst all that baddie-killing and lady-loving to invent the sport of snowboarding. Turns out he doesn’t need the Q department at all - what a credit to the British Secret Service that fellow is.
Robert Redford plays a gifted skier in this old-school classic about the uphill struggle that is downhill racing. Gene Hackman joins the fray as the gruff trainer who tries to get the arrogant athlete ready for the Winter Olympics, but it’s the skiing cinematography that remains the true star.
As Vin Diesel’s muscle-bound, extreme sports-loving secret agent Xander Cage says: “There’s nothing like fresh power.” That may be true, but few of would consider snowboarding down a mountain, taking out cadre of bad guys and causing an avalanche to achieve a clean canvas – guess we’re just not xXx enough.
Director Christopher Nolan may have spent a lot of his budget on slo-mo explosions and bendy cities, but he clearly remembered to put a few dollars aside to pay for this brilliant snowy scene. Skiing backwards while firing off a few machine-gun rounds and then clotheslining some bad dudes on a snowmobile, these few minutes instantly confirmed Tom Hardy’s status as an action god. Click here to watch the scene.