There is something gloriously incongruous — and almost incomprehensible — about a risk-averse, non-athletic, native Rwandan DJ finding the real meaning in his life by pedaling across Canada to its frozen Arctic Ocean shore in an attempt to break the record for the longest, continuous, fixed- gear bike ride. Through the course of this unlikely adventure, the protagonist, Jean-Aime Bigirimana, also finds that the truth about escaping is not as black and white as, say, his spandex silhouette against the cold Canadian snowscape.
Aaron Rice was a couple years out of college, ski bumming through winters and scraping together work over summers, but getting sick of resort crowds and feeling a little aimless, like he needed to pick a direction. The direction he eventually settled on: Up. Rice set out to become the first person to ski 2.5 million human-powered vertical feet in a year, which is the equivalent of climbing from Everest Base Camp to the summit over 200 times. Through fatigue and injuries, excursions to South America and storms, he climbed and skied. Along the way, he learned a lot about self-determination, grit and what’s possible if you set your mind to it.
From the boredom of the backseat of his parents’ station wagon, a young skier imagines the passing front-yard snow piles and sloping roofs as suburban ski terrain. His daydream suddenly springs to life as freeskier Tom Wallisch flies over Airstreams and garbage cans, and down the steps and rails of Nelson, British Columbia, sparks flying when his skis meet pavement. Imagination is an homage to the late Canadian freeskier J.P. Auclair’s iconic street segment from the film All.I.Can. (Mountainfilm 2011), which proves with a little snow and creativity anything is possible.
A ski movie in its purest form, Numinous showcases the fluffy pillows, tree runs and sunlit, dazzling ridgelines of British Columbia. Long and beautifully crafted drone shots take us into the action with big mountain skiers Kye Petersen, Pep Fujas, Callum Pettit, Tatum Monod and others as they race slough down spines, play around on a Whistler powder day and throw effortlessly fluid 720s off cliffs. There is no need for intrusive dialogue or a narrator to tell this story. Just the basics of the awe-inspiring mountains, athleticism of the skiers and a thumping soundtrack make Numinous a divine experience.