Loved by skiers and fans of extreme sports, ski movies are great any time of the year. They are action-packed, with a climax that will keep you at the edge of your seat.
The following are excellent films with storylines that feature skiing as a central theme. From the classics shot with low-quality cameras to feature films taken at stunning locations, they will tide you over while waiting for the first snowfall of the season.
At A Glance: The 3 Best Ski Movies of All Time
Limited time offer: Get one audiobook for free by starting your free 30-day trial on Audible.
The Blizzard of AAHHH’s
This 1988 masterpiece of director Greg Stump is considered a timeless legend – one of the greatest ski movies. Check Price on Amazon
Mike Hattrup, Glen Plake, and Scot Schmidt are a trio of extreme skiers attempting to map the terrain of some of the world’s most spectacular ski destinations.
Wearing football-sized helmet cameras and neon ski suits, they document the edge of the edge, charting the steep slopes and tight chutes of Telluride, Colorado and Squaw Valley, California, before the finale at France’s Chamonix Valley.
The movie features Plake, a US National Ski Hall of Famer and one of the pioneers of extreme skiing in the country. You will recognize him with his colorful Mohawk and punk rocker persona.
A friend of Plake, Hatrrup was one of the most influential skiers of the late ’80s and ’90s. Schmidt, meanwhile, is a professional extreme skier. His cliff-jumping prowess was showcased in the film.
Running at 75 minutes, “The Blizzard of AAHHH’s” popularized the concept of extreme skiing, launching a whole new generation of skiers.
With a strong storyline, breathtaking cinematography, and thumping rock’ n roll music, it is the quintessential ski movie you have to watch in your lifetime.
A sports documentary film released in 2013, “McConkey” is a tribute to skiing legend Shane McConkey and his passion for extreme skiing. Check Price on Amazon
The movie follows the life of McConkey, starting from when he was growing up in Truckee and Tahoe city up to his days as a professional freeskier.
It also focuses on McConkey’s untimely death in 2009 during a ski base jump and his enduring influence over the sport of skiing.
One of the most influential skiers to ever exist, McConkey is known for many extreme feats, from his exile from Vail Mountain to skiing a steep Alaskan peak wearing a pair of water skis with bindings.
The movie features McConkey’s innovations, including the reverse camber skis and rocker equipment. He was also the catalyst behind the invention of the powder ski.
You will see the interviews of McConkey’s friends and famous athletes, including Tony Hawk, JT Holmes, and Travis Pastrana.
Showcasing both the beauty and dangerous reality of the extreme sport, “McConkey” is an honest portrayal of an athlete who pushed his limits too far and the terrible price he paid.
Hot Dog…The Movie
Directed by Peter Markle, “Hot Dog…The Movie” is a cult classic that is an automatic shoo-in to anyone’s list of best ski films. Check Price on Amazon
The movie revolves around Harkin (Patrick Houser), a farm boy from Idaho who resolves to join a ski competition at Squaw Valley resort in California. On the way, he meets a hitchhiker named Sunny (Tracy N. Smith), a musician who becomes his love interest.
Harkin finds himself at loggerheads at the slopes with Rudi (John Patrick Reger), an arrogant skier from Austria and Harkin’s main rival.
Harkin is determined to defeat Rudi and bag the prize with help from a former professional skier Dan (David Naughton).
He also has to convince Sunny she is the one for him and not Sylvia (Shannon Tweed), a gorgeous blonde skier who keeps on pursuing him.
Released in 1984, “Hot Dog…The Movie” features skiing scenes that are filmed beautifully. The term “hot dog” in the ski world means freestyle skiing.
If you are looking for light-hearted fun with lots of snow and ski town antics, this is the one to watch.
“Aspen Extreme” is an American drama film shot in Aspen, Colorado, featuring Paul Gross and Peter Berg. Check Price on Amazon
The movie focuses on the story of two ski buddies, T.J. Burke (Gross) and Dexter Rutecki (Berg), who decide to move from their hometown Brighton, Michigan, to Aspen, Colorado, seeking a better life.
TJ wants to become a ski instructor and urges his friend, Dexter, to join him. Together, they quit their jobs and descend upon Aspen, right when the tryouts for ski instructors are about to begin.
While T.J. quickly becomes a hotshot trainer, Dexter is not as lucky. He is left in the bunny hills with kids and novices. Later, he becomes involved with drugs.
Between TJ’s dream to join the Powder 8 ski competition and women problems, the two men struggle to keep their friendship alive.
“Aspen Extreme” features beautiful ski footage of the slopes. Most of the backcountry and bowl skiing sequences were shot at Aspen Highlands.
Charting the real-world ups and downs of the ski bum life, it deserves to be on your list of the best ski movies.
This 2011 sports documentary explores the challenges of big mountain skiing vis-a-vis the tribulations brought about by global climate change. Check Price on Amazon
“All.I.Can.” features the world’s best skiers like Mark Abma, J.P. Auclair, and Ingrid Backstrom as they render inspiring performances filmed on six continents for over two years.
Expanding your vision of the natural world, the movie’s groundbreaking cinematography will take you on a grand journey, from the impressive desert peaks in Morocco to the icy fjords of Greenland.
Other majestic locations include Chile’s volcanic craters, Canada’s unspoiled backcountry, and Alaska’s massive spine walls.
Along with jaw-dropping shots of nature is a message about the realities of climate change.
“All.I.Can.” highlights the connection of the skiing community to the environment, invoking skiers to protect it so they can keep on enjoying the sports.
It explains the cruel reality that the beauty embraced by skiing is under duress due to climate change and its environmental effects.
One of the most thought-provoking movies ever created in the action sports genre, “All.I.Can.” is a standout you cannot afford to miss watching.
Better Off Dead
“Better Off Dead” is a 1985 dark teen comedy featuring John Cusack as a high school student whose two main interests are skiing and his cheating girlfriend. Check Price on Amazon
When Lane Myer’s (Cusack) ladylove Beth (Amanda Wyss) breaks up with him shortly before Christmas, he falls into depression. His pain multiplies tenfold when he learns that she dumped him for the captain of the ski team.
Roy (Aaron Dozier) is an obnoxious bully who snubbed Lane during tryouts.
After several unsuccessful attempts of winning Beth ending his life, Lane meets a French foreign exchange student named Monique (Diane Franklin).
Monique develops a crush on Lane and helps him build his confidence. An accomplished auto mechanic, she also lends a hand in fixing his Camaro.
When Roy insults Monique, Lane dares him to race the K-12, the highest peak in town. The one who wins will take the captaincy of the ski team.
Packed with black humor and the exploits of an angsty adolescent, “Better Off Dead” is a ski movie worth your time.
#7 Deep and Light
Beloved by many extreme sports enthusiasts, “Deep and Light” by American ski and snowboarding filmmaker Warren Miller accurately captures the beauty of winter sports.
The short film was released in 1949 and was one of the first ski movies written. It features a blind skier determined to conquer the rope tow hill at Squaw Valley.
Set to church music, it captures the joy of the early days of skiing in Yosemite and Sun Valley. Miller said he drew inspiration from the ski footage he grabbed in those nascent ski towns in the 1940s.
The movie is equal parts documentary, live performance, and comedy. Created with a budget of just $600, it is cracking and grainy but still sincere and fun in conveying its point.
Miller himself narrated the film. Since then, he has directed more than 50 movies centered on the thrill of winter sports and skiing.
“Deep and Light” created an entirely new film genre and has set the stage for the next decades of feature-length ski movies.
After more than 70 years, it remains an icon among all the ski movies and documentaries created.
Hilarious with just the right amount of drama, Damian Lee’s 1991 box office has it all – sex, alcohol, parties, and above all, skiing. Check Price on Amazon
“Ski School” stars Dean Cameron, who plays Dave Marshak, a skilled skier in a fictional ski school. Together with his friends, they reign the slopes as “Section 8” until a pack of snobs threatens their reputation.
Reid Janssens (Mark Thomas Miller) has no love to give to the ski school’s party animals. When he and his cronies challenge Section 8 for an end-of-season downhill competition, all hell breaks loose.
If Section 8 is defeated, the members will lose more than bragging rights. They also stand to lose their jobs.
To stop this from happening, Dave recruits hotshot newbie John Roland (Tom Bresnahan), so they can win.
Dave has no qualms about going all out if playing riotous pranks on Reid and his snobby pals get them the coveted victory.
“Ski School” has a sequel released in 1994, which also stars Cameron. In the follow-up, Dave returns to Ski School to stop the wedding of his ex-girlfriend.
If you are a ski fan, this film is worth watching.
Swift. Silent. Deep.
“Swift. Silent. Deep.” is a documentary film about a secret society of skiers in America known as “The Jackson Hole Airforce.” Check Price on Amazon
One of the crucial pieces in modern ski history and culture, the movie captures the exploits of the legendary pack of rebel skiers who knows no boundaries when on the slopes.
The Jackson Hole Air Force men and women made a name for themselves, ducking boundary ropes and breaking laws in western Wyoming in pursuit of incredible thrills and adventure.
Founded in the 1980s by Captain Benny Wilson and Howie Henderson, the group played an essential role in the birth of extreme sports.
Aside from the two founders, “Swift. Silent. Deep.” stars other well-known faces in the action sports world, like Scot Schmidt, Warren Miller, and Doug Coombs.
It was nominated as one of the best documentaries at the X-Dance Action Sports Film Festival in 2009.
As the first historical documentation of hardcore ski culture in America, the film also explores the beginnings of the modern ski bum in the country.
It is a must-see film for every skier around the world.
Directed by Curt Morgan, “Out Cold” is a 2001 comedy film about a troop of snowboarders in Alaska foiling a tycoon’s plan of turning the town into a ski resort. Check Price on Amazon
The movie revolves around Rick Rambis (Jason London) and his friends, who live and work at a ski resort on Alaskan Bull Mountain. When the resort’s original owner died, the son Ted (Willie Garson) decides to sell it to a wealthy mogul from Colorado.
John Majors (Lee Majors) wants to convert the ski village into a first-class resort. He offers the managerial position to Rick to get him on board with his plans.
John also brings in his daughter, Anna (Caroline Dhavernas), who happens to be Rick’s summer love when he was in Mexico.
Rick agrees with the offer on the condition that all his friends will get to stay. John approves, then secretly orders Ted to dismiss the rest.
Ricks quits his job and goes after his friends. They plan to sabotage John’s festivities and save the town once and for all.
With terrific monologues and the occasional snowboarding scenes, “Out Cold” is the perfect movie to relax while waiting for winter.
The Art of Flight
This 2011 documentary by Curt Morgan pays tribute to the majestic mountain ranges of the world and the risky stunts the top snowboarders perform for the sake of the sport. Check Price on Amazon
“The Art of Flight” follows Travis Rice, Mark Landvik, Nicolas Muller, and John Jackson as they plan their next global adventures, traversing the slopes of Patagonia, Aspen, Andes, and Alaska.
Other known snowboarders who demonstrate their awe-inspiring skills are Gigi Ruf, Jake Blauvelt, Scotty Lago, DCP, and Pat Moore.
The movie’s cutting-edge cinematography captures the snowboarders from myriad angles, employing stunning POV shots. At the same time, it provides a breathtaking view of the expanse of locales visited.
While the stunts and vistas take center stage in the film, there is also a glaring notice of the ever-present danger of injuries and severe bodily harm attached to the extreme sport.
“The Art of Flight” is the successor to “That’s It, That’s All,” a 2008 documentary film about snowboarding, also directed by Morgan.
With a running time of 80 minutes, it is more than twice the length of most snowboard films.
Without a doubt, it is one of the best freestyle snowboarding movies ever captured.