Growing up among a bunch of creepy Mormons in Salt Lake City, doesn't entitle one to many bragging rights, but at least there's this: The snow there is awesome. Or so I hear, anyway, from friends and family members who ski and snowboard the shit out of Utah's kazillion canyons. I've never skied or snowboarded, myself; equipment was too expensive, and in the late '80s, when I wanted to pick up the sport, elitist skiers were still shunning snowboarding. Back then, snowboarding was dangerous, weird, and unusual; now, like skateboarding before it, the sport's become a staid, boring institution dependent upon corporate sponsorship.
At least, that's the impression one gleans from Christopher J. Scott's fantastically dull Snow Blind, an unfocused doc that attempts to cover every aspect of snowboarding and ends up covering none of them. Interviewing everyone from dumb teens on the mountain to dumb magnates of snowboarding companies, Scott's film eschews boarding footage for talking heads, and is so meandering that entire segments could be dropped. (Snow Blind's an hour and a half long; a good editor would have sliced it down to a quarter of that.) Most subjects Scott interviews have little to offer other than weak, surfing-inspired clichés about how "the jump is sacred," and then there's the clunky section on snowboarders with disabilities, or Scott's half-assed history of boarding. But the one unforgivable fault here is that there's so little actual snowboarding footage.
That said, there are a few cool parts—like the film's profile of "Banana George" Blair, a 91-year-old dude who spends his days snowboarding and/or barefoot waterskiing, or the section on 19-year-old gold medalist Hannah Teter. But then again, Banana George is kind of a novelty act, and Teter was featured—far more prominently, and alongside such great boarders as Shaun White and Shawn Farmer—in last year's First Descent, which paired truly jaw-dropping boarding footage with interviews that didn't make the audience roll their eyes. If you've got a jones for some snowboarding action, skip Snow Blind and watch First Descent. Well, that, or go to Utah. I'm going to recommend the former.