XC ZONE, the producers of the revolutionary x-country action flick High Velocity, are making a unique contribution to our sport, particularly in North America, where it has become imperative that we evolve nordic skiing from its the image of knicker-wearing, granola eating, bird-watching, snowflake studying preocupations that has, unfortunately remained ingrained in the minds of many (no offense intended for those of you who routinely partake in any of the aforementioned activities). A skier can be both cool and love the outdoors. Namely, XC ZONE are helping to make cross-country cool. Cool as in the kind that a skinny kid wearing untied Airwalks, jeans big enough for Boss Hogg, and t-shirt that would offend Larry Flynt would be after.
Think about it. Does snowboarding have a funding problem? Does mountain biking? And how different is mountain biking from cross-country skiing? Somehow or other, these sports are what we will call, for lack of a better word, cool.
Cross-country skiing, no matter how great a sport we in our eclectic little clique think it is, has not managed to create mass cultural appeal. This is where things like alternative types of racing, such as sprints, mass starts, pursuits, and duathlons are attempting to make an impact. This is also where XC ZONE is making its presence felt in a big way.
Their work presents cross-country skiing, and more recently, aerobic sports in general, as something with aesthetic appeal, something the French might call "flash". They are in a perpetual search for the ultimate ride, and they want to bring it to your living room. The DVD released last year, High Velocity, included spectacular and innovative footage of all kinds of cross-country skiing in unique and diverse locations. I particularly liked the World Cup coverage from Soldier Hollow, but it has been known to make people motion sick with its almost too-realistic portrayal of what it is like to try the 80km/h downhills there.
XC ZONE gave me a sneak preview of Unlimited, to be released next year. This production links all-types of oxygen-fed sports, including kayaking, trail-running, in-line, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, triathlons, rowing and adventure racing. It will be XC ZONE's most thorough production to date, and I for one, am looking forward to it. It includes footage of some of the absolutely best athletes in these sports in North America and personal interviews including incredibly insightful commentary.
Highly recommended is the new XC ZONE Beckie Scott CD Rom, filmed in Bend Oregon, and including Beckie's advice on skiing and life. She is Canada's best, and she takes the time to provide her thoughts about ski racing and life in general. All the proceeds go to Beckie. It would make a perfect gift for every aspiring young Canadian skier, or for all the old die-hard fans of the sport.
XC ZONE has numerous other videos , DVDs and CDs on the market, all with their own unique twists, including On Snow, Tao of Skiing, and The Fundamentals of XC Skiing Technique.
Here's to XC ZONE and everyone else out there still searching for the ultimate ride.