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November 4, 2008
Produced by Digital Dreams Pictures, a Jim Phelan Film
Team Thunderstruck combines high horsepower sleds, majestic mountain chutes, fearless riders and the remarkable cinematography of Jim Phelan to once again raise the bar for the snowmobile movie-making industry. Thunderstruck 7 features Brad Story on his amazing 2007 Arctic Cat 1200 turbo, which he built. Brad flies—not rides—that turboed Cat up the most insane chutes ever caught on camera. Slow is definitely not in this man’s vocabulary. Then there is Randy Swenson. Wow, what a skilled rider. In the words of Cam Hicks’ on-film interview, “ I’m telling you, Randy Swenson this year, if he keeps going on like this, eventually he’ll just start climbing straight up the rock. It’s absolutely ridiculous.” Randy is definitely one of the most skilled riders to be caught on film, and he has very good chance of being crowned Sledder of the Year for 08-09. He climbs, carves, and isn’t afraid of getting a little air. One of Randy’s best was watching him throttle up a chute that the Thunderstruck riders call, “The Super Chute.” To give you a little taste of what this chute is like, it is 3220 feet to the top with a 2468 vertical rise, and it is only 7 feet wide near the top. The climb took 1 minute and 14 seconds on Randy’s Apex Turbo, and the cameras let you see the ascent from every angle. Using a GPS attached to the rider, Phelan added the stats on each of the big climbs in Thunderstruck 7, which was a really nice feature and irrefutably confirms that the Thunderstruck riders are the chute-climbing kings. There is not trick photography here.
True to any good vertical ascent sledding film, what goes up, or in this case, what doesn’t make it up, must come down. While it is fun to watch one sled roll down the mountain, two at one time is better. Brad Story, Dan Bush, Lyle Sinden, and Wes Little setup this carnage-fest by all heading up two side-by-side chutes at once. The two riders on the left make it up, but the other two are not as lucky. Phelan gives all the destructive stats in rolls, endos and crash durations. After it’s all over Dan Davidoff comments, “it was one of the craziest things I have seen in my life,” and that’s saying something coming from the Krazy Canadian. Then there is Trennis Baer… this man’s sled sees the bottom of the hill without a rider more often than it finds the top of the hill with a man attached. Let’s just say you need one of these guys for every film to keep things interesting. Along with his pretty sweet wrecks, Baer does have some awesome climbs.
Thunderstruck 7 is packed with non-stop action. Phelan not only catches all the action, but skillfully combines that action with unbelievable scenery shots. Amongst all the action, you’ll get to see awesome lookouts over valleys and awesome riding places that few people have ever set foot on… or track. The music in this film was all rock. There were some songs that were a little different than you might expect, but they weren’t all that bad. Most of the audio was very good and the music was matched to the riding, rather than just sledding footage cut together to fill the time of a song.
Nothing bad to say about this film. It runs at about 1 hour and 20 minutes. PG rating.
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