Chris Benchetler is one helluva creative mind. Both on the snow and off it. And he’s obviously well connected in the mountain world and beyond. This week Benchetler and friends filmed in the backcountry around Mammoth for a new movie Benchetler is producing, “Fire on the Mountain.” This segment–as you might be able to tell from the lighting–is a tribute to the Grateful Dead. “To bring this team to the place I learned how to ski, on my favorite run @mammothmountain with the cast of all casts, and inspiration and support from the @gratefuldead – has still been hard for me to process…,” he wrote after. “I’ve worked tirelessly to bring this dream to life, and everyone involved went above and beyond.”
Benchetler is working with Sweetgrass Productions on the film, which if you recall, put together this viral piece of night riding a few years ago of which Benchetler had a part in. And I, like most riders of snow, am a big fan of their work. Aside from the cast of mountain all-stars that included Michelle Parker, Danny Davis, and Jeremy Jones among others, Rob Machado was also riding on set–Chris and Rob are good friends. Chris mentioned that the crew was pretty shot: he told me they filmed at night–dressed head-to-toe in LED lighting–and rested during the day. There are a few sneak peeks on the ‘gram I’ve embedded here (check their stories, too). The film already looks interesting and judging by the diverse cast (some of the best in freeride snow and ski), the athleticism alone will create serious buzz for next fall.
Benchetler, being the woke soul that he is, apologized to Mammoth hardcores in a social media post for closing off one of their “honey holes.” “Dear Mammoth community and visitors,” he wrote. “I’ve been working tirelessly with @mammothmountain to bring a childhood dream to life. The stars have aligned to bring that dream to fruition, but requires the hemlocks (sic) to be closed for today. I know better than anyone how much of a bummer that is for a bluebird pow day.”