“There is nothing more pointless than walking uphill, putting on some wooden sticks, and going back downhill.” This quote from one of the five individuals profiled in The Meaningless Pursuit of Snow sums up the film’s premise that snow pursuits may be “pointless” or “meaningless” according to the narrow definition—but are exactly the opposite to the people who live them.
“Riding powder is a useless pursuit,” says director Nick Waggoner, “yet people across the globe devote their lives to earning their turns.” The film, global in scope, dives deep to find perspective on the essentials: connection to nature, community and “meaningless” powder-chasing up and down mountains.
As with every other Sweetgrass production, the film lands off-centre from the standard ski-film escapades of breakneck hucking and insane lines (though there are plenty of those). The five characters form a cross-section of “snow people” united by a backcountry culture so strong that it spans language and generations.
“Bringing the band back together with the original, often imitated, never duplicated Patagonia, this beauty is about the ridiculously trivial activity of climbing mountains and sliding back down them on snow. And in that pointless pursuit, the incredible depth, purpose, life, death, and beauty that is experienced by our five folks.
In the Tetons. And La Grave. Hokkaido. The Wasatch. Cooke City. And East Burke, Vermont. Though they come from distant places with vastly different backstories, they are all chasing the same essentials: a connection to nature, the joy of the struggle, and a community in the mountains they call home.”
Another character in the film drops another (meaningful-not-meaningless) nugget that lands close to the heart of the film’s message: “Learning how to navigate all that we have to navigate out here…it gives me the tools that I want to be able to navigate life.”
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