Arts & Entertainment

Athletes Giving Back to Youth

All proceeds from Level 1 Production’s new ski movie “Romance” premiere will benefit Whitefish Freestyle Inc.

From steep lines in France and Montana to urban rails in the Midwest, Level 1 Productions is premiering its 20th and final ski flick, “Romance,” in Whitefish for one last time.

The Remington Bar will host the film on Thursday, Oct. 24 for a night of raffles, prizes and athlete appearances.

But with help from local athletes and coaches, Level 1 is doing something a little different at this year’s premiere.

The production company is giving all proceeds, instead of only a portion, from the evening to Whitefish Freestyle Inc. (WFI), the nonprofit partner to the Whitefish Mountain Resort Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Team.

“This is a unique movie in that it’s all going to the kids,” WFI coach Andy Connelly said.

Connelly says historically about $1,000 in film funds would go to WFI, but this year the organization hopes to get around $4,000 from tickets alone, not including raffle tickets.

With competitive skiing becoming more and more expensive, local Level 1 athlete Chris Logan and Connelly worked with the company to send all of the proceeds to the youth. They wanted to get people excited about the season with a movie while giving back to the freestyle team at the same time.

“We’re trying to make it more affordable for people that can’t,” Connelly said.

Connelly says the goal is to use the funds to pay every competition entry fee for the young athletes. In addition to extra fees and traveling costs associated with the sport, funds would also go to a scholarship program for kids who otherwise can’t afford to participate on the team.

“The idea is to take away some of those burdensome costs,” Connelly said. “They don’t have to worry about the money. Go ski, have fun and stay out of trouble.”

Both Logan and Connelly agree that Whitefish has produced a lot of talent over the years, and Connelly says many of those athletes come from the freestyle team.

“For such a small town, there’s an absurd amount of pro skiers and snowboarders that come out of here,” Connelly said.

Olympian freestyle skier Maggie Voisin and professional skier Tanner Hall are among the biggest homegrown names. “I figured there must be something in the water,” Logan said.

With the local talent and smaller ski community of Whitefish, it was a no-brainer for Logan to move up to Whitefish two years ago after living in Colorado and Mammoth Lakes over the past decade.

“I was getting turned off to the big resort skiing,” he said.

Whitefish has been a positive change of pace for Logan, and having been more focused more on filming in the past few years, he’s noticed the ski film industry is changing. He says people aren’t as excited about ski movie premieres every fall because they’re constantly exposed to shorter ski clips on Instagram and social media.

But Logan and Connelly don’t doubt that they can bring back the stoke for “Romance.”

Logan and other athletes will be at the premiere, including Hall, who is showing an eight-minute teaser for his new film, “In the Meantime.”

Doors open at 6 p.m. to meet the athletes on Thursday, Oct. 24 with the film showing at 7 p.m. Raffle winners will be announced in between shows, and prizes include a season pass to Whitefish Mountain Resort, skis and gear from Rossignol, Armada and more.

Tickets are available at Sportsman & Ski Haus, Stumptown Snowboards and Great Northern Cycle & Ski.

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