This week, Patagonia launches a new film discovering the lives of skiers and snowboarders finding their place in the snow.
Riding powder is a useless pursuit—yet people across the globe devote their lives to earning their turns. The Meaningless Pursuit of Snow follows five such characters, united by their search for the same essentials: a connection to nature, the joy of the struggle and a backcountry community they call home.
“All of us behind the lens have dedicated an obscene amount of calories to the pursuit of wild, backcountry, snow,” explain the filmmakers at Sweetgrass Productions, Michael James Brown, Nick Waggoner, and Zac Ramras. “The ‘Meaningless’ is an extension of that obsession, mixed with a bit of curiosity, and a question; why do we do this? By pursuing something so ridiculously useless, how have our lives, and the lives of the five in this film, gained so much meaning?
“In the making of, this beautiful thing happened where we got to explore this life we love so much. We got to ask all these questions of people with wildly different stories, dive into how and why we start sliding on snow in the first place, and what keeps us there, insatiably craving more and more of it. Even after more than 35 years in the mountains, the snow, it’s still…teaching us.”
The Meaningless Pursuit of Snow follows a cast of far-flung characters all united by a backcountry culture so deep it spans languages and generations, and all chasing the same essentials: a connection to nature, the joy of the struggle and to find community in the mountains they call home. Watch the full film here.
About the Characters
Vanessa Chavarriaga Posada – Jackson, Wyoming
Vanessa Chavarriaga Posada didn’t spend her childhood skiing; as an undocumented immigrant born and raised in Colombia, it was too expensive, exclusive and risky. Then, as a college student, she tried backcountry skiing—and found a sense of belonging deeper than she’d imagined.
Viki Fleckenstein Woodworth – East Burke, Vermont
Viki Fleckenstein Woodworth grew up skiing the forests of the East Coast, traveled the world as an Olympic ski racer and eventually settled down in Vermont, where she taught her daughter Tasha to ski race. Decades later, Tasha returned the favor and introduced her mom to the backcountry.
Gomyo Atsushi – Hokkaido, Japan
Atsushi Gomyo started snowboarding when he was 10 years old, and riding powder has been his purpose since he took up powsurfing in his mid-20s and began making his own boards. Two decades later, Atsushi spends his winters living out of his van, chasing snow across Japan with friends.
Melissa Gill – Salt Lake City, Utah
Melissa Gill and her partner Joe Lohr united around a shared love of the mountains. Then, while touring in Wyoming’s Teton Range, Joe lost an edge and slid to his death in front of Melissa’s eyes. Her story is one of recovery and finding joy in the backcountry after it’s taken everything away.
Aurélien Routens – La Grave, France
Aurélien Routens and his partner Agathe Margheriti purchased a 400-year-old off-grid village above the town of La Grave, France, using salvaged materials to restore the buildings and selling eggs from their 200 chickens to pay the bills—all while riding some of Europe’s most dramatic mountains.
Header image: Credit: Garrett Grove