Courtesy Red Bull Studios & Adventure Entertainment

There is something really invigorating about watching extreme sports. It’s very easy to get caught up in what humans are capable of accomplishing, and extreme sports highlight those boundaries better than most things do. In 2021, I saw three documentaries that pushed those boundaries in even more satisfying ways. The first one I saw was The Rescue, the now infamous story of the Thai soccer team trapped in a cave, surrounded by water and the world’s best cave divers that saved them. The other was the acrophobia-inducing The Alpinist which covered the spectacular exploits of young free climber Marc-André Leclerc. I now get to add a third to my list, LA LISTE: EVERYTHING OR NOTHING.

Jérémie Heitz and Sam Anthamatten are two great friends who have so much in common, but especially their main passion, which is freeskiing. Freeskiing sometimes involves tricks, flips but can also mean skiing at high altitude and in dangerous terrain, also commonly referred to as freeriding. Heitz and Anthamatten are all in for the speed and high altitude part. Heitz is regarded by his friends as one of the fastest freeskiers they know. In this documentary, the two boys push one another to their ultimate goal of 6000m, which is a little over 19,600 feet. Yeah, very high.

LA LISTE: EVERYTHING OR NOTHING mostly reminds me of The Alpinist, largely due to dangerous climbing being the only way to get to the top of the mountains involved, obviously. The other similar feelings came from the anonymity, I suppose. Not many outside the climbing community knew who Marc-André Leclerc (The Alpinist) was, and not many people outside the skiing community know the duo of Heitz and Anthamatten. The primary difference between the two is the boys in this documentary used equipment for the climbing, and yet none of this made watching their journey any less stressful. Gazing at the view from the top is absolutely beautiful, there’s no question about that. You could be forgiven for thinking that it’d be smooth sailing after the climbing, however, new and dangerous obstacles are always presenting themselves.

This documentary is broken up into 3 expeditions. The first chapter being in Peru, and the other two in Pakistan. As for any documentary, the viewer is always honed in on the main subject matter that we sometimes forget that other people are also part of the project. Artesonraju was the first mountain in their travels and once at the top was deemed ‘un-skiable’. What comes up, must come down, and moving back down the mountain proved to be extremely dangerous. One of the crew members took an almost fatal tumble down the mountain until Heitz was able to stop his body from rolling any further. This goes to show how precious life can be and how something can alter your life at any moment, with the drop of a dime. Extreme sports are inherently about pushing the limits, and as spoken in the documentary “Go where nobody has been, but you cannot go safely,” really puts things into perspective. It is everything or nothing.

The director Eric Crosland showcases just how beautiful the world is by sending drones over Laila Peak and Biafo Glacier in Pakistan as well as the previously mentioned Artesonraju in Peru. Places that one may not have known to exist, not unlike these skiers. The trip that Heitz and Anthamatten planned was absolutely a trip of a lifetime that tested and pushed boundaries but begs the question of how far is too far and how much can one push themselves? We won’t know until someone tries it, and in the world of freeskiing, I can almost guarantee it will be the duo of Jérémie Heitz and Sam Anthamatten. Their accomplishments in the skiing world could not have been achieved alone, which makes their comradery inspiring and their talent otherworldly. They are the definition of the phrase: ”If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try, again.”

LA LISTE: EVERYTHING OR NOTHING will be available on VOD on February 15, 2022.

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Nightmarish Detour

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