• Alaska footage, Homer artists’ work featured in all-girls ski movie
By Hannah Heimbuch
Pretty Faces is a film about adventure. It’s a ski movie. It’s a sports documentary geared for girls. But it’s more than that.
“Honestly, we hope to transcend skiing, and really make this a message about following your dreams,” said Lynsey Dyer, the professional skier behind “Pretty Faces;” an all girls and women skiing film.
It’s also about identity, she said, about being yourself and showing young girls and women how to pursue their passions. For her — as well as the women she’s filming — the key to that driven life has been skiing. And that’s the story she wants to share.
“I just felt like there was a whole group that wasn’t being talked to,” said Dyer, who has been a professional big mountain skier for 10 years.
“Our goal is to use this as an educational tool to take into school and workshops to really inspire more girls,” she said.
Despite sports participation at a younger age, Dyer said, it’s common for girls to start dropping out of sports activities in their early teen years. She wants to help change that.
“Put simply, I wanted to create something little girls could look to and use as proof that, ‘if she can do it, then so can I,’” Dyer wrote on her Kickstarter page.
This is just one of the reasons she helped create “SheJumps,” an organization that promotes girls active in the outdoors through community events, education and youth activities.
Dyer said skiing has enriched her life so much, she wanted to find a lasting way to pay some of that passion forward; to offer young girls and women active role models. She has collected a lot of mountainside film in Alaska, and is now pushing to finish a Kickstarter campaign to allow her to continue work on the project. She has a week left to reach her $60,000 goal.
Dyer said that, while she’s found support and encouragement in the ski industry, she hasn’t found it in financial form. That’s where the crowd-sourced funding comes in.
“What’s been really cool is watching the community get behind it and push it and support it,” she said.
According to Dyer, most of the more than $30,000 she’s raised so far has come from small, individual donations. That tells her there is a market for the film, and she is hoping to find enough people who believe in her message to help her see it through to the screen.
While women and girls make up 40 percent of the skiing public, Dyer said, and 30 percent of adventure sports film viewers, only 14 percent of ski film athletes the past two years have been women — and that’s a record participation rate.
But Dyer said it’s not where it should be, and she aims to give young women role models that offer an alternative world to the one dominated by fashion magazines, reality TV and skinny jeans.
The film will tell a story about skiing as a lifelong endeavor; something a girl can grab hold of at a young age and make a part of her identity throughout the stages of her life. One of the girls she has already filmed is a 3-year-old named Katie.
“I think we can all relate to her experiences learning how to ski,” Dyer said, “both the good and the bad.”
The audience will watch Katie as she explores her skis and the outdoors. The youngster’s experiences take place alongside those of teenage girls, college-aged women, pro skiers, working professionals, grandmothers and many other recreation skiers — women who live a full outdoors life.
It’s a story about the confidence and independence that athletics have to offer, and how those things relate to the human experience, Dyer explained.
Several Homer residents contributed to aspects of film development thus far, including photographer Scott Dickerson and filmmaker Daniel Zatz of Zatzworks.
“We shot in the Chugach Mountains, as well as up in Hatcher Pass,” said Dickerson, whose still shots Dyer is using in her fundraising and promotional efforts. Zatzworks donated aerial film taken near Alyeska.
Dyer will also be partnering with other ski resorts across the country to get high quality footage of professional and recreational skiers hitting the slopes.
Sydney Schoepke Thielke grew up in Homer, and now lives in Palmer. As an avid outdoors explorer herself, she’s excited to see a ski film that showcases female role models, and recalls the times that exposure to adventure film sparked her interest as a kid.
“I can remember my parents taking us up to Soldotna when I was little to see a Warren Miller ski film,” Thielke said. “My sister and I already loved skiing, but watching that film led to a love of ski films. We left with dreams of growing up to be pro skiers.”
Now, Thielke is happy to see those same experiences offered more specifically to young girls.
“Lynsey and I met in college,” she said of Dyer. “She was a woman on a mission to change the face of women in skiing, and I thought it was so motivating. I look at women like Lynsey, and Libby (Bushell Veasey) with Howl, and am just in awe of their ability to see their dreams benefit kids in the outdoors.”
Dyer is collaborating with many professional skiers and filmmakers to bring this story to life, including Ingrid Backstrom — eight-time Powder Magazine reader poll female skier of the year, and professional skiers Rachael Burks and Elyse Saugstad.
She has also worked with a behavioral specialist to explore the relationship between girls and sports.
Proceeds from the Kickstarter campaign will go toward equipment rentals, camera operators, post production work and hardware. To donate, visit kickstarter.com and search for Pretty Faces.
Dyer would also like a portion of the film to include a montage of clips submitted by the skiing public. She said this helps tell the story of the everyday skier; the women who are able to make snow sports a part of their active, everyday lives.
To submit clips, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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