Boondockers Fourteen Film Review
Mountain Sledder | On 17, Oct 2017
Boondockers Fourteen showcases a season’s worth of grand sledding adventures, loosely grouped together by the time of year—early season, deep January storms, mid-winter bluebird and the long days of spring. The film’s chronological order is part of—but not primarily—what sets it apart from most other sled films. Warren Miller-sytle narration by Andrew McCarthy adds a touch of storyline, and establishes the tone for each segment of the film. But it’s the style of riding that stands out more than anything else.
The stars of Boondockers Fourteen include athletes Aaron Case, Kris “Smasher” Kaltenbacher, Dan Gardiner, Justin Cowett, Geoff “Phatty” Dyer, Rick Barker, Shane Kynaston, Nick Reedy, Erik Woog, Anthony Oberti, Matt Entz and Adam Onasch among many others. The film is produced by Dan Gardiner, Nick Reedy, Andrew McCarthy and Geoff Dyer. Dave Napier is the Executive Producer.
Boondockers Fourteen Film Review
Lately, the Boondockers crew have established a trend of pushing it up tight, log-filled, bouldery, open-water creek beds. They’re adventuring through very technical terrain, and by the looks of it, your average sledder bro isn’t going to make it far on a day out with the Boondockers tribe.
Some of the POV angles in Boondockers Fourteen give the viewer a really good feel for what it’s like to crawl up through the tight terrain chased by the crew in the film. At each impasse, the viewer can’t help but ask, Where is he going to go? Which way would I go? It’s the kind of exploratory riding that we like to attempt as well, and it’s fun to watch. You can get right into it, so much so that it’s easy to imagine that it’s you there, casting your head side-to-side looking for a way out, breathing heavy, sweating and squinting through foggy goggles.
The film starts out with epic early season riding that doesn’t look like the guys are too concerned about a shallow snowpack. They get after it! Shortly after, the Boondockers dive headlong into the bread-and-butter of their riding, which is the aforementioned creek bashing. It’s anyone’s guess as to how many A-arms were lost in the making of this segment.
Later, the fellas open it up with a deep-pow segment that is almost hard to watch, only because it makes us want those days sooooo bad. Bluebird pow days don’t often come as deep as we see them here, but when they do…it’s the stuff of legend.
Come February, the skies crack blue after a month of storms, and the crew decides to go bucknuts—hucking their meat into the deep snowpack of the snowy month prior. Aaron Case launches a huge double drop but doesn’t quite stick it, so in good spirit he goes back up and does it again. Dan Gardiner, Smasher and Justin Cowett get in on the cliff drop action as well, pointing it off a variety of burly cliffs.
It can’t be all intense, all the time
Interspersed throughout the film are some lower-key tracks that are well-mixed with cruise-y, dreamlike footage. The combination succeeds in temporarily taking the edge off some of the more tense moments. For variety, there are also a number of cliff-drop-gone-wrong outtakes peppered throughout. It’s an entertaining opportunity to listen to the fellas rib the hell out of the poor guy who just wrapped his sled around a tree. And through these little character reveals, we learn fun things like the fact that Phatty loves to buzz by stuck victims and snake their lines on camera. But who doesn’t.
The Boondockers don’t hit cheese wedges (rarely anyway) and they don’t do whips. But they do push themselves hard. Case-in-point, Shane Kynaston, who at 50 years of age is the oldest member of the Boondockers crew. Kynaston is the only rider who gets his own short segment, and it’s inspiring to see him working on his re-entries and airing out his Polaris over double drop lines that would make much younger men think twice.
Late Season Fun
Later in the season, the fellas make the most of long days by climbing some chutes, sidehilling corn snow and playing in the evening light. The riding season stretches into June for the luckiest of the bunch, but all good things must come to an end eventually—including the film and this review.
The soundtrack is a healthy mix of mostly rock with some punk, alternative, indie, and even a rockin’ country track for good measure.
The filming is very good, especially considering that so many of the crew had their hands on a camera at any given point. There’s some really cool aerial footage of the guys riding through a spectacular canyon, and elsewhere in some big, open terrain.
Boondockers Fourteen is full of great riding, highlighted by some edge-of-your-seat technical creekbed POV footage. These don’t to a lot of fancy freestyle jumps, but they ride super hard and it’s really fun to watch them navigate their way through some sticky situations. It’s this aspect that helps Fourteen stand out from the crowd of films based on quick-cut, one-off shots. If you like being impressed by talented riders pushing their skills in challenging terrain, then Boondockers Fourteen deserves a place in your library.