It's no secret that Central Oregon has more than its fair share of stellar athletes in many sporting categories—including a host of awesome snowboarders who live for nothing more than a steady diet of fresh powder in the backcountry.
Some of those athletes will be on display in the new all-Oregon backcountry snowboard film—the first of its kind—which debuts tonight at the Tower Theatre. The film, "Low Pressure," features sights and sounds that backcountry enthusiasts live for—those sweeping mountain views, killer sunrises and sunsets, burned-out forests and hidden gems you won't always find by riding the chairlift.
But according to filmmaker Pete Alport, a Central Oregon local, the film also delves into the sometimes-harsh realities that athletes like this face when seeking that backcountry high. The film has a definite "blue collar feel," Alport told the Source Wednesday, showing how the riders juggle regular jobs and manage personal relationships, all in the name of their beloved sport.
Central Oregon filmmaker Pete Alport, who shot and edited "Low Pressure."
That juggling extended to the filmmaker himself, too—who had to contend with a season that started out less than stellar. Alport started shooting the film in November—at the start of a season that turned out to be one of the lowest-snow years in recent memory. That forced the crew to hit it hard when the flakes did start flying—sometimes with 3 am—or earlier—wake-up calls.
"I didn't mind being pushed, but, I got no breaks but when it started snowing," Alport said.
"It's called 'Low Pressure,' but it was a tremendous amount of pressure. There's shots where... you didn't have a second camera person on board, so if I screwed it up, especially on big lines—jumps, you can go and try to get it back—but pretty much anything either landed or rode out is a one-off shot. You can't go re-create it," he said.
Alport says he approached Oregrown, the Bend-based cannabis brand sponsoring the film, about collaborating on photography last year, but that conversation quickly morphed into talk about creating an all-snowboarding film. Shooting started right after, with a sometimes-grueling schedule. Not only that, but unlike some places, where it's more feasible to use a snowmobile to access backcountry spots, Alport and the athletes hiked to all of the locations featured.
"What we did is not easy and I would say 99 percent of these viewers will never do it," Alport said. "It's almost insanity in some ways. It's fun, but it's hard."
The film debut tonight, a benefit for Oregon Adaptive Sports, is sold out, but another showing is planned for Nov. 10 at Bend's 10 Barrel East pub.
Low Pressure Bend Premiere
Thurs., Sept. 27
6:30 pm doors, 8 pm film
835 NW Wall St., Bend
Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)