Sam Kuch is no stranger to big air and comes by it naturally—his mother, a gymnast and black belt in karate, schooled Sam and his siblings at the gym and on the trampoline. Growing up in the Selkirk Mountains, Sam competed for Whitewater Ski Resort’s freeride team but after a crash prevented him from qualifying for the Freeride World Tour, he ended up guiding for a film crew in 2018. He never looked back.
Within one season, he went from his job as a roofer to one of the most celebrated big-mountain freeskiers on earth, winning loads of Best Of awards. Amid all the hubbub, the oft-airborne Kuch remains surprisingly down to earth, working with his father as a carpenter when he can.
His latest film Space Craft explores even more gravity-busting frontiers, seeking parallels between freeskiing and space travel. Recently we sent him some questions about the film and he was kind enough to come down to solid ground long enough to answer them…
ML: Sam, can you share some backgrounder about the inspiration behind this project?
Sam Kuch: For this project, I collaborated with longtime friends and amazing filmmakers, CK9 Studios. CK9’s Producer, Simon Shave, has a young son who was obsessed with space and astronauts at the time, so Simon was constantly having his mind geared toward space and would often bring up the idea of making a ski/space film. And we would always spitball on how to make a film like that happen.
ML: Could you shed further light on how the concept came to be?
SK: The concept really took off when we managed to get the rights to use a huge library of old archival NASA footage. We spent some time looking through that old footage and began seeing all of the relevant parallels between skiing and space travel. Things like training, adventure, teamwork and the constant pursuit of defying gravity. Filming the skiing with these parallels in mind made for some really fun and creative days.
ML: What was the best part for you about filming the space sequence?
SK: Filming for Space Craft was really fun. The spacewalking segment was my favourite part to make. We wanted to make it appear that I was floating in space, Doing that required me to throw disorienting tricks off of a jump into the darkness. It was certainly the hardest part to ski for of the whole film but the shots looked so unique and it kept me motivated. Clay Mitchell and Ty Theoret did a fantastic job of filming, making it look truly like I was floating through the darkness of space. I’m pleased with the fact that segment turned out exactly as I was envisioning.
Space Craft is presented by Arc’teryx and features Sam Kuch and Cole Richardson. Directed by: Clay Mitchell & Simon Shave. Edit: Ty Theoret. Cinematography: Clay Mitchell, Simon Shave, Ty Theoret. Producer: CK9 Studios.
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