Trax Uprising Film Review
Mountain Sledder | On 25, Oct 2017
Trax Uprising doesn’t exist for the sake of a film dedicated to snow bike riders. It’s about so much more than that. It’s a film about sharing a love for riding snow bikes and growing the sport. The film features a variety of top athletes from many different places, including mountainous Western Canada, USA, Quebec and Eastern Canada, and even as far away as Russia. The athletes come from different backgrounds including sledding, snowboarding, skiing and freestyle mx, of course; though their perspective and style are influenced by their roots, they all share the same love of their burgeoning sport. These riders are on the forefront of the snow bike movement, and they are a special part of the reason why it’s catching on like crazy.
Trax Uprising Film Review
Directed and Produced by Jaya Lange. Runtime 47m.
The third in the series, Trax Uprising features the undisputed top snow bike riders in the world, including Reagan Sieg, Brock Hoyer, Cody Matechuk, Morgan Kaliszuk, Josh Stack, Ronnie Renner, Brock Buttars, Remi Voyer, Steel Cutter, Sergey Terentyev and Timofey Kvleshov.
First up is Brock Hoyer. Although the racing number plate on his bike displays the number 2, we know that when it comes to actually racing his snow bike around a track he’s the undisputed number 1. And he’s no slouch in the mountains either, where he pushes his bike off cliff drops, natural hips and backcountry cheese wedges. Hoyer goes big in his opening segment, which looks like it was primarily filmed in the deep snow of Revelstoke.
Next up is Cody Matechuk, and you can tell that he is hungry. Cody pushes the limit on some very big drops, completely airing over pillow stacks. Not only does he go big, but you can see that he tries to add some style to his airs most of the time as well. He’s not just hanging on for dear life on some very big airs. The balls on this kid.
Matechuk’s segment also shows off a little woods riding, which is where snow bikes really shine for the average rider. Cody rides logs and pops off mushrooms without breaking a sweat. But for these guys, the freeride aspect of snow bike riding is where the limits are being tested, so that’s mostly what you get here. Case in point, at ten and half minutes in you get your cover shot as Matechuk fully commits on a gap jump over a no-nonense chute.
Reagan Sieg does everything with such style in the next segment. You can tell he spends his summers performing freestyle MX, because it translates over to snow perfectly. On top of hucking his meat all over the place, Sieg’s got some sweet re-entry maneouvres in his arsenal and he’s really great at getting his bike tweaked out in the air. His segment also offers a little POV action, which is a neat perspective through the trees. Kinda like Star Wars.
Snow Bike at X Games
Due to the nature of our sport, it can be a struggle for backcountry athletes to reach a mainstream market. Yes, they’d probably rather be popping off pillows on some remote mountainside than getting hammered with roost on a track in front of a crowd. But events like X Games create an opportunity for athletes in a periphery sport to vastly increase their exposure to snow sports enthusiasts from a wide array of backgrounds. It’s what makes events like X Games so important to their professional careers. X Games is a huge deal for backcountry athletes.
We see Hoyer again, this time in Colorado preparing his lungs and body for competition at X Games Aspen on a high-elevation motocross track. Matechuk and Sieg find their way to Colorado as well for the event. There’s some footage from the practice runs and the event itself, as well as some celebratory shenanigans for the winners.
Ronnie Renner and Brock Butters head out with a pack of buds for a rip to a backcountry cabin. You can tell ‘Rendawg’ isn’t nearly as comfortable on the snow bikes as the other guys, on account of not having logged nearly as much time aboard one. But he’s got star appeal in the freestyle MX world for his numerous X Games medals and notable step-up records. It makes sense that the snow bike industry would tap his legion of followers in an attempt to draw more dirt riders into the snow scene.
Riders from Different Backgrounds
In his segment, Morgan Kaliszuk uses his snowboard background to look at fall lines a bit differently than the most other riders. And, like Sieg, he brings a freestyle mx background into the backcountry, which he draws on to throw down big tricks like tsunami and lazyboy. He’s got a fast, hard charging style.
Michelle Salt, Canadian Paralympic snowboarder and above the knee amputee, goes for a snow bike rip. In case you didn’t get it yet, Trax Uprising is really about pushing the love for the sport and showing how accessible it can be for everyone, and this segment really shows that.
Like Kaliszuk, Josh Stack comes from a fall-line snow sport—skiing—which influences his particular style. You can see it in things like a tree-tap air. In his segment, Stack hits a lot of the same features that the big 3 hit earlier. Stack has got a pretty sweet re-entry in his arsenal, and though his riding is tight, he might have actually missed his calling as a professional GT racer freestyle athlete.
Trax Uprising Heads East
The film crew heads east to visit Remi Voyer. The mountains may not be as tall, but it looks like there is some pretty sweet riding terrain for a snow bike there. For a snowmobiler used to the open alpine of the west, it looks a lot of tech sidehill tree lines that only guys named Burandt would have interest in. But snow bikes eat that terrain up for breakfast, and there is plenty of it.
Also from our east comes Steel Cutter. Like others in the film he’s originally a freestyle mx guy who has embraced the snow bike scene. His segment follows his attempts to backflip a snow bike, which he determinedly practices on a snow ramp with a hard and icy landing. After some success, he attempts to take the move into the backcountry. I won’t spoil it for your here how it turns out.
From Russia With Love
They guys from Snowrider build snow bike kits that offer the freedom to explore the vast terrain of Russia. The bike kits look very capable, and the guys use them to shred up the deciduous forests of the Motherland. Riding Russia would surely be a blast, and we suspect it would almost be just as much fun simply soaking in the foreign culture there.
In the final segment, Brock Buttars proves that even a lack of snow can’t keep a snow bike down. In it, he takes his bike to the sand dunes for some water skipping and fun in the sand. We’re not sure what that will do to a set of sliders, but hey! It looks fun.
And so does the film in general. For snowmobilers, it’s a chance to see what snow bikes are capable of, and gives us a taste for the potential of the sport. For dirt riders, it’s an insight into a way to enjoy their machines year-round. And while there isn’t a lot of time spent talking about the passion these guys have for riding snow bikes, it just comes through the film.
In terms of the production value, the film looks great. Director/Producer Lange has paid careful attention to the editing and cinematography. Editing-room wizardry has been applied to cuts and transitions, and the colour and exposure are dialled in. The audio tracks consist of mostly dubstep variations with a little heavy/indie rock mixed in. The camera shots are steady with a nice variety of angles from super-wide to aerial shots. And holy man, did they ever film in a lot of deep snow last winter!
Reagan sums up Trax Uprising nicely at the end when he says, “It’s just mind-blowing to watch this sport growing, it just seems like everyday there’s something new in the snow bike industry.” Whether you come at it from a sled, snowboard, ski or dirt bike background, it doesn’t matter. Trax Uprising is fun to watch, and through it, we get to be part of the early days of a special movement in snow sports.
Trax Uprising can be purchased at thetraxfilm.com and watched on iTunes.
Here are the rest of our full sled and snow bike film reviews from this year.