Without risk...there is no adventure.
Thrilling and spectacular, Steep is a mesmerizing documentary in the Warren Miller mold about extreme skiing, but with more emphasis on the drive and psychology of the adrenaline-hooked athletes involved. A number of skiers are captured in archival and original footage braving the odds against surviving runs down astonishingly steep, dangerous slopes. Among the subjects is Bill Briggs, who climbed in 1971 to the top of Grand Teton in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and skied down, an unprecedented effort echoed by Europeans who later did the same thing down the French Alps in Chamonix. Doug Coombs, who twice won the World Extreme Skiing Championship, is also profiled and speaks honestly about the possibility of dying for the sake of living life to the fullest as a thrillseeker. Written and directed by Mark Obenhaus, a producer for several of the late Peter Jennings' television news specials, Steep is visually gorgeous, and literally breathtaking whenever a skier is seen barely outracing an avalanche nipping at his heels. Steep attempts, somewhat, to get inside the heads of the pros who do this sort of thing, but it is hard for many of the subjects to articulate what they feel. It's best just to be knocked out by their deeds and let the fantastic visuals in Steep speak for themselves. --Tom Keogh