Ski resorts out west are seeing their first major snowfall since spring, reminding us that the ski and snowboard season is just around the corner. And what better way to celebrate than with a new Teton Gravity Research (TGR) snowboard film, Flying High Again, in collaboration with legendary snowboard film director Mike Hatchett?
The film, which celebrates its world premiere Thursday in Reno, Nevada, is athlete-centered and features a mix of freestyle and big-mountain riding. Riders with parts include John Jackson, Bode Merrill, Danny Davis, Jason Robinson, Sean Fitzsimons, Dusty Henricksen, Brandon Davis, Elena Hight, Jeremy Jones, Antti Autti and more.
Filming locations include Idaho, the backcountry outside Lake Tahoe, Utah, Wyoming (TGR’s backyard) and more—showcasing the historic snowfall of the 2022 season and forever commemorating it on film.
Flying High Again is TGR’s ninth feature-length snowboard film, and viewers can expect to see the high standard for cinematography the media company has established along with Hatchett’s visionary style.
Hatchett, the founder of Standard Films, has had a relationship with TGR founders Todd and Steve Jones since 1995, when he met them filming in Alaska.
Hatchett first started snowboarding in 1987 at Donner Ski Ranch, where his brother, Dave, taught him. Though he initially expected to go into fashion and commercial photography, the lure of the mountains was too great and action sports became his focus.
Hatchett’s first film, in 1989, was Totally Bored, which would spawn a series of 10 films total. In 1992, TB2 was the first to be released by Standard Films, which Hatchett co-founded with Mack Dawg. By the time Hatchett met Todd and Steve Jones, he was on TB5.
The founding principles of Standard Films are still on display decades later in Flying High Again.
“The original goal was to make the best snowboard film we could, and really focus on the athletes being the stars,” Hatchett said. “We wanted to make a movie about the riders that was rider-based and let the athletes do the talking. It was always a mix of freestyle and big-mountain riding, trying to mix all types of snowboarding in one movie. It was all about backcountry, big-mountain riding and backcountry freestyle and just as badass as we could film.”
Another key focus? High-quality cinematography, which makes the collaboration with TGR a no-brainer.
Davis, a former halfpipe rider and Olympian who has transitioned to a career filming in the backcountry, in part credits Hatchett—or “Spike”—with the shift in his career.
“I have been lucky enough to get in the mountains with Spike over the years. He is one of the people who welcomed me into the backcountry here in Tahoe and lured me out of the halfpipe,” Davis said.
“Dave Downing and Mike’s brother, Dave Hatchett, have turned into some great riding partners out here,” Davis added. “Seeing Mike and John Jackson working together this year felt like dream-come-true stuff for me. I used to watch White Balance when John and Mike worked together to make John’s part in that—long before I could call myself a ‘professional.’”
Last season, Davis served as executive producer on the snowboard film ARK. It couldn’t be a starker contrast than simply filming a part in someone else’s film—he had to handle such duties as seeking out sponsors to set a budget, licensing music rights and planning helicopter trips.
“I definitely like being able to just show up, ride, and get some shots,” Davis said. “Building ARK and having some creative input was really fun but a ton of work. Working with Mike and TGR has been so rad, just getting to focus on the riding and the moments we can capture out there.”
As the film premieres to the world, what will mark its success in Hatchett’s eyes?
“If people enjoy the tour and the riders are stoked and the movie’s good, and the sponsors are stoked and they feel it, maybe we can do another one,” he said.
The film’s tour will run through November, with stops in Southern California, Vermont, Utah, Colorado and more. A full schedule of screenings can be found on TGR’s website.