Hammer '12 skis in "Wyoming Triumph"

By Sarah Scully | 11/27/11 3:07pm


For Max Ham­mer ’12, there is noth­ing bet­ter than a good day of ski­ing. It has been a major part of his life since he could walk, and will be until it is no longer phys­i­cally fea­si­ble, he said. Ham­mer re­cently shared a part of his ski­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with the Dart­mouth com­mu­nity at a movie screen­ing in Dart­mouth Hall. Ham­mer was one of a hand­ful of freestyle skiers to star in "Wyoming Tri­umph," a movie about ski­ing in Wyoming, where Ham­mer grew up.

KGB Pro­duc­tions made the movie in part­ner­ship with Trevor Hiatt, who had the idea for the film and or­ga­nized the group of skiers, in­clud­ing Ham­mer.

“It was a new ap­proach to some­thing I al­ready loved doing and I just got re­ally ab­sorbed in it,” Ham­mer said.

Un­like most ski movies, which fea­ture fast clips of ex­treme ski­ing, they wanted to cre­ate a more nar­ra­tive film about ski­ing in Wyoming. Every­one in­volved in the film had day jobs in ad­di­tion to their life as a skier, and they wanted to put to­gether a work not about pro­fes­sional ski­ing, but about reg­u­lar Wyomin­gites doing what they love.

Over half of Wyoming’s land is pub­lic and the group cap­i­tal­ized on these vast stretches of wild for un­touched snow and never-be­fore-filmed moun­tain areas.

On foot, ski and snow­mo­bile, they hiked into na­tional parks and wilder­ness areas through­out the state, some­times for days, be­fore reach­ing their ski des­ti­na­tion. Ham­mer de­scribed the un­par­al­leled feel­ing of ski­ing straight down an un­charted moun­tain. From the top he could not see the steep slope and rocky cliffs below, but had to guess where he was headed based on his mem­ory of the moun­tain from the bot­tom, he said. Ham­mer re­calls mis­cal­cu­lat­ing on his first run and get­ting lucky when he sped down the moun­tain and man­aged to avoid any dan­ger­ous sur­prises.

The film was shot over the win­ters of 2010 and 2011. Ham­mer re­mem­bers that dur­ing the first win­ter Wyoming had an un­usual short­age of snow­fall. Then one week in Feb­ru­ary the snow fi­nally came in full force, drop­ping a layer of fresh pow­der over ex­posed rock. Ham­mer ru­ined four pairs of skis over the next few weeks, but it was worth it - “ski­ing pow­der is ar­guably the best feel­ing in the world.”

Dozens of stu­dent came out for the screen­ing, which took place be­fore Thanks­giv­ing break, and cheered for Ham­mer as he glided down moun­tains on screen. Ham­mer is not sure where his fu­ture in ski­ing is headed, but said it will re­main a cen­tral part of his life.


Sarah Scully