140: Greg Stump/Legend of Aaahhs

Greg Stump, November 2020. Photo: Tozer

I’m going to come right out and say it: this week’s guest Greg Stump is as influential a guest as I’ve yet had on the show.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Greg’s oeuvre (and in recent years his achievements have been shamefully overlooked) this might seem like a fairly wild claim. But when you consider the success of an era-defining smash like his film The Blizzard of Aahhhs, and look seriously at the lasting impact of his work, who can really doubt it?

Photo: Tozer

Greg, a skier, snowboarder and film-maker, first came to prominence with low-key ski film hits such as Maltese Flamingo and A Fistful of Moguls. But the success of 1998’s Blizzard changed everything. Here was a genuine pop cultural crossover success that redefined the ski film for a new generation, gave snowboarding a new platform, saw stars Glen Plake and Scott Schmidt appear on The Today Show, and set the ‘extreme’ agenda that still resonates to this day.

On a personal level, Greg certainly changed my life. My first viewing of Blizzard as a skate and snow-obsessed Mancunian teenager in 1990 introduced me to a new world, where dirtbag skiers and snowboarders chased the snow in beguiling sounding-locations such as Telluride, Squaw Valley and Chamonix. For me, it was as exotic as the smooth Californian pavements I wished I could skate, and it put me on the path I am still following to this day.

All of which goes some way to explain why, when I sat down to speak with Greg in November 2020, excitement levels were high – on both sides of the Zoom call. After all, it isn’t often you get to chat to a legit hero and tell them what an impact their work had on your life.

Photo: Owen

The resulting conversation was a riot – funny, warm, extravagant and shamelessly vain; a little like those films that changed so many lives. Hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.

Listen to the episode here:

Connect With Greg

Show Notes

  • Life in Prineville
  • The post election landscape
  • ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’
  • The 808 State connection
  • The ZTT story – “A match made in heaven”
  • Seal and ‘Groove: Requiem in the Key of Ski
  • Almost killing Seal in Whistler
  • Spotting and embracing the potential of snowboarding early
  • Fat skis; a godsend for film makers
  • Whistler snowboard scene
  • Greg’s relationship with Craig Kelly
  • Greg’s background as a competitive freestyle skier
  • Working with Warren Miller and Dick Barrymore
  • Greg’s calculated approach to the ski film market
  • Competing with Warren Miller
  • How Greg established his relationship with ZTT
  • Evolving from linear soundtracks and online editing to offline editing
  • How European music was a driving force behind Greg’s work
  • Being inspired by The Impact Zone for his trademark narration
  • Greg’s view on his narration now
  • Moving to Whistler and taking time off
  • Using advanced camera gear for a cinematic look
  • Groove Requiem blowing up
  • Realising the dangers involved in making these movies
  • Shane McConkey
  • Re-cutting The Blizzard of AAHHH’s
  • Predicting the impact of Blizzard
  • Post Blizzard commercial career.
  • Splitting up with Glen
  • The Squaw Valley Shootout
  • How it was working with Glen Plake
  • The traditional culture of extreme skiing
  • The backlash to Blizzard in Chamonix
  • “You didn’t invent extreme, but you sure poured a lot of gasoline on the fire”
  • Chamonix Days
  • Murray Ball
  • Scott Schmidt and The Yellowstone Club
  • The influence of Blizzard at Big Sky
  • Stand out memories – powder in the Magic Forest. Meeting Willie Nelson

Names Mentioned

  • Brad Pitt
  • Trevor Horn
  • Graham Massey
  • Liam Teeling
  • Jill Sinclair
  • Seal (Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel)
  • Heidi Klum
  • Tony Hawk
  • Warren Miller
  • Grace Jones
  • Gary Nate
  • Craig Kelly
  • Dick Barrymore
  • Holly Johnson
  • Steve Lipson
  • Luis Jardim
  • Jonathan Weston
  • Steve Winter
  • Shane McConkey
  • Scott Schmidt
  • Glen Plake
  • Lynn Wieland
  • Bruce Benedict
  • Carl Labbe
  • Patrick
  • Bruno Bouvet
  • Jackson Hogan
  • Murray Ball
  • Mark Shapiro
  • Ace Kvale
  • Gary Bingham
  • Bill Gates
  • Willie Nelson
  • Karen-O
  • Lukas Nelson
  • Chris Hall

Brands/Companies Mentioned

  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Powder Magazine
  • Stiff Records
  • ZTT
  • MTV
  • Swatch
  • Top of the Pops
  • Solomon
  • Downtime Podcast
  • Zencastr

Books/Films/Music Mentioned

  • Wild Wild Country, directed by Chapman & Maclain Way
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, directed by Quentin Tarantino
  • 808 State
  • Act
  • Propaganda
  • Maltese Flamingo, directed by Greg Stump
  • Siberia, directed by Greg Stump
  • Vagabond Skiers, directed by Dick Barrymore
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood
  • Blizzard of AAHHH’s, directed by Greg Stump
  • The Impact Zone, directed by Jacques Achsen, Christopher Spain & Jonathan Weston
  • Dr Strange Glove, directed by Greg Stump
  • Groove: Requiem in the Key of Ski, directed by Greg Stump
  • Legend of Aahhh’s, directed by Greg Stump
  • P-tex, Lies and Duct Tape, directed by Greg Stump
  • Siberia, directed by Greg Stump
  • Fistful of Moguls, directed by Greg Stump

Places Mentioned

  • Central Oregon
  • Prineville
  • Portland
  • Maine
  • Manchester
  • London
  • Whistler Blackcomb
  • Vancouver
  • Hook End
  • Chamonix
  • Winchester
  • Snowbird
  • Utah
  • Squaw Valley
  • France
  • Annecy
  • La Clusaz
  • Les Arcs
  • Revelstoke
  • Vermont
  • Jackson Hole
  • Yellowstone
  • Big Sky
  • Montana