Thursday, August 16, 2012

RI Skiers Face Tuckerman Ravine in "Rite of Spring"

Photo: Ben Jacobsen Photography
Rite of Spring introduces a group of seven intrepid skiers – six of whom live in Rhode Island – who prepare for a run down the daunting Tuckerman Ravine on Mount Washington in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. The highest peak in Northeast America, Mount Washington is one of the top 10 most dangerous – and, therefore, most thrilling – places to ski, climb, or hike. Snowy for more than half the year, Tuckerman Ravine is on Mount Washington's east side, and is known for its spectacular scenery, deep snow, and challenging terrain.

As the skiers prepare for their backcountry trek, filmmaker Sheri Miller Bedau of North Attleboro, Massachusetts, narrates a retrospective on the sport of skiing, including the formation of the volunteer ski patrol, the Appalachian Mountain Club, Special Olympics at Yawgoo Valley in Exeter, Rhode Island, adaptive skiing by disabled veterans, and treacherous winter weather monitoring at the Mount Washington Observatory.

Photo: Ben Jacobsen Photography
The film also shows the training, extensive equipment, and mental preparation needed to successfully face and conquer the challenging trail. We travel with the group to Tuckerman Ravine in the fall as they observe the lay of the land and capture a sense of its majesty before winter snows transform the landscape. Finally, after the worst of the avalanche season has passed, the skiers make their run in the spring, earning bragging rights for accomplishing their goal.

Watch for these Rhode Island skiers in the film: Norm Lambert of Smithfield, Jamestown native and South Kingstown resident Ben Jacobsen, retired Cranston fire fighter Tom Gregory, Josh Kroll of Narragansett, and Warwick residents Kyle Vrendenburg and Jeff Clare.

Rite of Spring makes its television debut on Thursday, September 6 at 9 P.M. on Rhode Island PBS. It is preceded by the popular Alone in the Wilderness at 7:30 P.M., Dick Proenneke's simple, yet profound, self-filmed account of his solitary 30-year adventure in the remote Alaska wilderness.