[We are giving out awards to some of our favorite new ski movies. This is the final part of the series (check out the rest here). This is your last chance to place your vote on our Fan Voting page. Results of our Fan Favorites will be announced next week.]
If you've never heard of big-mountain skiers Todd Ligare or Griffin Post before this fall, you should know their names now. Here's why: The two under-the-radar athletes threw down some of the sketchiest and boldest lines in this year's Teton Gravity Research film, "One for the Road." And this is the just the beginning for them.
While waiting for an early tram at Jackson Hole last January, I bumped into Post. He was uncharacteristically quiet, uttering a subdued "hey" and shuffling around awkwardly like he had someplace better to be.
"Sorry I was so weird the other morning," he told me later. "It was my first time filming with TGR and I was really nervous."
Post moved to Jackson, Wyo., last winter in part to film with TGR. He'd been primarily a big-mountain competition skier before -- competing on the Freeskiing World Tour and the Freeride World Tour for the last few years -- and this would be his first real foray into filming. Despite that, he slayed Alaskan and Wyoming faces like he's been on camera for a decade. His performance would be stellar even for the film crew's most seasoned veterans, but when you factor in Post's rookie status, it's even more impressive.
"Griffin quickly took to filming," says TGR co-founder Todd Jones. "He is focused, knows what looks good on film, and knows how to keep the level high. You can expect to see Griffin on the big screen for years to come."
Post, humbly, admits it was a good season for him. "To say that the stars aligned for me this year with TGR would be a bit of an understatement," Post says. "I started off shooting B-roll in Jackson and ended up getting to go to AK. I could never have imagined my rookie year with them going that well."
And then there's Todd Ligare, who has filmed with TGR for the past four years but always blended into the background. This year, he steals the opening scene and many others. In the film, you watch as Ligare gets his first invite to Alaska, the promised land of big-mountain film stars. In Alaska, Ligare says, "I had a moment before dropping in where I kind of just gaped at where I was standing; I had this sensation that things had really come together for me."
Sage Cattabriga-Alosa described Ligare's riding in the film as the "super gnarly big mountain kind of riding that TGR is known for."
Jones agrees. "Ligare hit full stride this year and threw down one of the more memorable film seasons I have seen an athlete have in a long time," Jones says. "He came into AK warmed up and ready. He progressed into big lines as quickly as any athlete I have seen in recent history."
It's not that other athletes don't ski equally striking big-mountain lines in other films -- they most certainly do. It's just that when you aren't expecting someone to come out of the gate charging that hard and then they do, it's a nice surprise. Which is why we're awarding Post and Ligare a shared title in this final installment of ESPN's Ski Movie Awards: Breakthrough Performance by a Skier You May Never Have Heard Of. Now, of course, you've heard of them.