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November 1, 2008
DVD Review: Boondockers AliVe
A film by Dan Gardiner and Andrew McCarthy
When the new sled films start rolling into the office in the late summer, they're met with as much anguish as anticipation. It's not that we don't love sitting down with a bowl of trans fats and a can of greenish-yellow liquid caffeine to watch one of these epic powder and extreme riding documentaries; it's sitting down to watch 12 of them that's the hard part. Fall is the time of year when the stuff hits the fan, from snow shows to magazine deadlines. For the snowmobile enthusiast, it's utopia. For the snowmobile industry employee, it's dental work in slow motion.
So was our anxiety as we sat down with remote in hand to watch the fifth offering in the Boondockers series. But we were pleasantly greeted with a feeling that is foreign to this time of year: relief. Relief from anticipation of an annoying soundtrack: AliVe's music is unique, fresh and befitting of the footage. Relief from repetitive footage; there's plenty of stand-alone footage to go around in this one. Relief from hating fall. For a brief, fleeting moment, we were filled with adrenaline, reminded of the thrill of rolling through aspen trees in four feet of crystallized powder, with the faint scent of snowmobile exhaust, the rumble of an HPS can and the feel of having no ties to what's behind you and no tracks to follow before you. Maybe it was sheer timing, but Boondockers AliVe reminded us why we're in this sport in the first place.
Some of our favorite segments include producer Dan Gardiner working a line through the trees—something he's very talented at. We love watching Gardiner fly off of rocky cliff bands the way he did in his younger years (life before 27), but watching him ride the trees is surprisingly intriguing. And don't worry, Gardiner launches off his fair share of cliffs in AliVe, too.
In a world filled with professional powder riders, Ryan Nelson is a standout. Why? We're not sure. When Nelson carves down a soft slope in his typical finesse fashion, you find yourself on the edge of the recliner, leaning back and forth as he cascades down the mountainside. Another reason not to watch this film in public.
Geoff Dyer makes riding a Ski-Doo XP look like “riding an
Air Chair” in the middle of
Some say that 10 percent of all Canadians give the rest a bad name. Dan Davidoff is safely in the 10 percent. Purely crazy, purely Canadian, purely motivated by adrenaline. Davidoff has some of the best scenes in AliVe, from his over-the-top exuberance to getting pinned between an Arctic Cat and a hard place. You can't help but be entertained by Davidoff, and his best antics are captured on this film.
There are other fresh, fun segments on AliVe, like Jenn Berg's skiing and sledding footage (she's a much better skier, but nobody's perfect), Anthony Oberti's yard sale on the mountain and other wrecks and spills. The helmet cam shots are magical (ride along with Gardiner as he tosses himself off this cliff) and the scenery is notable. We never thought going downhill could be that much fun.
Boondockers AliVe is safe for sledheads of all ages and moral preferences. All Boondockers AliVe DVDs also include a 60-page magazine featuring rider bios, info on where the Boondockers crew rides, great photos and other fun information.
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