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Your favorite Tahoe bartender could be a secret ski movie star

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A skier in “Home, Sick! Too Good to Leave” jumping over state Route 89 in Lake Tahoe.

Trevor Semmens

Another winter, another ski movie premiering in Lake Tahoe. 

But “Home, Sick! Too Good to Leave” is a little different. The Tahoe-based filmmakers shot all the winter ski scenes in the Sierra Nevada during 2023’s massive winter, which brought more than 750 inches of snow to the region. According to the filmmakers, that made the snow not just too good to leave, but also too deep to leave, with many roads and highways closed for days on end. 

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Like most ski movies, the impressive film is packed with drone shots of athletes hucking enormous backcountry lines, backflipping off high-elevation cornices and carving picture-perfect lines on Tahoe’s deepest backcountry steeps. But unlike most ski movies, the stars aren’t the professional or sponsored athletes you’d recognize from the Olympics or big-name ski events: They’re the dudes who serve drinks, maintain vacation homes and keep Tahoe’s tourism industry humming along. 

“We’re all local workers,” says Josh Anderson, filmmaker and bartender at Tahoe City’s River Grill. “Brandon is a server and chef, and Jed is a real estate agent. Shugz is a handyman, a do-it-all kind of guy.”

“Home, Sick!” is the second movie from the group of friends, who call themselves “Ski for the Love.” Anderson says the name sums up their main motivation for putting so much time and effort into making ski movies — because they love the sport. “We all got together and it was like, well, we’re going to be out doing this anyway, so let’s try to make our own cool thing while we’re out there,” he says.

The movie was shot during Lake Tahoe’s heavy winter, enabling the group to shoot on terrain that would normally never be skiable. That includes steep slopes next to Tahoe’s main roads, and the former Hilltop Ski Slope behind Truckee’s Cottonwood Restaurant, famous for installing the first mechanized ski lift on the West Coast. 

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One of many big lines skied in the upcoming film “Home, Sick! Too Good to Leave.”

One of many big lines skied in the upcoming film “Home, Sick! Too Good to Leave.”

Jed Kravitz

But the heavy snow was a “Catch-22,” Anderson says, when it came to filming. “There’s so much snow, it’s like, you’ve got to be getting after it. But it’s harder work for us, too. Cameras getting wet, sleds getting stuck,” he says. He estimates they spent at least 150 hours shooting to collect enough footage for the roughly 40-minute film.

Anderson says while they shot some scenes at Tahoe-area ski resorts, including Palisades, they did most of the shooting in sled-accessed backcountry terrain. That was partially to show what it was like to live somewhere with such amazing backcountry access, and partially because the movie was a budget operation. 

“We’re not TGR, [Teton Gravity Research] who’s going to come in and hand them $50 grand to shoot,” Anderson says of Palisades Tahoe. While he and his fellow athletes have appeared here and there in major ski movies — and fellow featured skier Jed Kravitz spent a season competing on the FreeRide World Tour — he says “Home, Sick!” is more about the passion of locals who dedicate their lives to the sport. “It’s not like we’re going to be professionals in two years,” he says. “We’re the locals who are maybe close to being able to go pro, but probably never going to be.”

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The group’s first movie, “Ski for the Love: Season 1” premiered locally in 2023 at Alibi Ale Works Public House in Truckee and is now available online. “Home, Sick!” will have larger screening parties at the Tahoe Art Haus Theatre in Tahoe City on Dec. 10 and San Francisco’s Faight Collective on Dec. 15. It will eventually be available to stream online via Airtime Streaming, a platform for independent ski and ride films. 

A scene from the upcoming film, shot in sled-accessed areas of the Sierra Nevada backcountry.

A scene from the upcoming film, shot in sled-accessed areas of the Sierra Nevada backcountry.

Connery Lundin

Anderson says his current goal is to recoup some of the team’s expenses. Sponsors like Mountain Gazette, Flylow, Praxis Custom Skis and ON3P Skis helped pay some of their editing and production costs, and the profits from raffles at the premieres go to offsetting their out-of-pocket costs.

“We have definitely not made any money yet,” Anderson says. “We’re still building our following and all that.” The Ski for the Love crew also gets paid for streaming on Airtime, but so far, it hasn’t brought in enough to offset costs like cameras or gas for the sleds. “It’s not very much per stream, a couple cents,” he says. “We’ve so far made one dollar.” 

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A skier in “Home, Sick! Too Good to Leave” jumping over state Route 89 in Lake Tahoe.

A skier in “Home, Sick! Too Good to Leave” jumping over state Route 89 in Lake Tahoe.

Trevor Semmens

Another winter, another ski movie premiering in Lake Tahoe. 

But “Home, Sick! Too Good to Leave” is a little different. The Tahoe-based filmmakers shot all the winter ski scenes in the Sierra Nevada during 2023’s massive winter, which brought more than 750 inches of snow to the region. According to the filmmakers, that made the snow not just too good to leave, but also too deep to leave, with many roads and highways closed for days on end. 

Advertisement

Article continues below this ad

Like most ski movies, the impressive film is packed with drone shots of athletes hucking enormous backcountry lines, backflipping off high-elevation cornices and carving picture-perfect lines on Tahoe’s deepest backcountry steeps. But unlike most ski movies, the stars aren’t the professional or sponsored athletes you’d recognize from the Olympics or big-name ski events: They’re the dudes who serve drinks, maintain vacation homes and keep Tahoe’s tourism industry humming along. 

“We’re all local workers,” says Josh Anderson, filmmaker and bartender at Tahoe City’s River Grill. “Brandon is a server and chef, and Jed is a real estate agent. Shugz is a handyman, a do-it-all kind of guy.”

“Home, Sick!” is the second movie from the group of friends, who call themselves “Ski for the Love.” Anderson says the name sums up their main motivation for putting so much time and effort into making ski movies — because they love the sport. “We all got together and it was like, well, we’re going to be out doing this anyway, so let’s try to make our own cool thing while we’re out there,” he says.

The movie was shot during Lake Tahoe’s heavy winter, enabling the group to shoot on terrain that would normally never be skiable. That includes steep slopes next to Tahoe’s main roads, and the former Hilltop Ski Slope behind Truckee’s Cottonwood Restaurant, famous for installing the first mechanized ski lift on the West Coast. 

Advertisement

Article continues below this ad

One of many big lines skied in the upcoming film “Home, Sick! Too Good to Leave.”

One of many big lines skied in the upcoming film “Home, Sick! Too Good to Leave.”

Jed Kravitz

But the heavy snow was a “Catch-22,” Anderson says, when it came to filming. “There’s so much snow, it’s like, you’ve got to be getting after it. But it’s harder work for us, too. Cameras getting wet, sleds getting stuck,” he says. He estimates they spent at least 150 hours shooting to collect enough footage for the roughly 40-minute film.

Anderson says while they shot some scenes at Tahoe-area ski resorts, including Palisades, they did most of the shooting in sled-accessed backcountry terrain. That was partially to show what it was like to live somewhere with such amazing backcountry access, and partially because the movie was a budget operation. 

“We’re not TGR, [Teton Gravity Research] who’s going to come in and hand them $50 grand to shoot,” Anderson says of Palisades Tahoe. While he and his fellow athletes have appeared here and there in major ski movies — and fellow featured skier Jed Kravitz spent a season competing on the FreeRide World Tour — he says “Home, Sick!” is more about the passion of locals who dedicate their lives to the sport. “It’s not like we’re going to be professionals in two years,” he says. “We’re the locals who are maybe close to being able to go pro, but probably never going to be.”

Advertisement

Article continues below this ad

The group’s first movie, “Ski for the Love: Season 1” premiered locally in 2023 at Alibi Ale Works Public House in Truckee and is now available online. “Home, Sick!” will have larger screening parties at the Tahoe Art Haus Theatre in Tahoe City on Dec. 10 and San Francisco’s Faight Collective on Dec. 15. It will eventually be available to stream online via Airtime Streaming, a platform for independent ski and ride films. 

A scene from the upcoming film, shot in sled-accessed areas of the Sierra Nevada backcountry.

A scene from the upcoming film, shot in sled-accessed areas of the Sierra Nevada backcountry.

Connery Lundin

Anderson says his current goal is to recoup some of the team’s expenses. Sponsors like Mountain Gazette, Flylow, Praxis Custom Skis and ON3P Skis helped pay some of their editing and production costs, and the profits from raffles at the premieres go to offsetting their out-of-pocket costs.

“We have definitely not made any money yet,” Anderson says. “We’re still building our following and all that.” The Ski for the Love crew also gets paid for streaming on Airtime, but so far, it hasn’t brought in enough to offset costs like cameras or gas for the sleds. “It’s not very much per stream, a couple cents,” he says. “We’ve so far made one dollar.” 

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