Featured Image: Reuben Krabbe | Skier: Carson Hilderbrandt
In early October, Salomon’s Quality Ski Time Film Tour rolled into Salt Lake City to kick off the ski season and premiere a slate of new flicks from the Blank Collective, Cody Townsend, Mike Douglas and others from its stacked athlete roster. But it wasn’t movies from these ski film legends that generated the most buzz. No, that hype came courtesy of a trio of teens donning purple suits to celebrate their debut film: “A Little Rogue, A Little Rowdy.”
While that evening in SLC might have marked the culmination of their first film, the Jackson Hole-bred triumvirate of Tucker Carr (17) and Luke (18) and Wyatt Gentry (15) can trace their big screen debut back to a fateful carpool ride shared by Salomon North American Alpine Marketing Manager, Joe Johnson, and Salomon Alpine Epicenter Lead, Dakota Wright.
“It was the summer of 2021, we had just added Luke and Tucker to our Junior MTN Collective Team. We were trying to figure out where these kids, along with Wyatt [who had already been on the team], fit into the bigger picture,” Wright said. “We were driving back to Salt Lake from the office in Ogden [UT] and tossing out one-off ideas like Instagram takeovers and photo shoot locations when Joe had a carpooling moment of genius. He looked over at me and said, ‘What if we just give these boys a bunch of money and tell them to go make a ski film?’ That was it—it started out as a joke, but it ended up being a rad idea.”
So cool, in fact, that the final product earned an iF3 award nomination—for the boys’ first-ever movie. While the idea for the film might’ve been harvested in Johnson’s car traveling down Utah’s Interstate 15, the seeds were carefully sown a few years prior.
Names like Mike Douglas, Cody Townsend, Alexi Godbout, Chris Rubens, Greg Hill and Leah Evans have dominated freeskiing, some since the 2000s. Furthermore, these athletes have helped shape the Salomon alpine brand for a decade-plus. A few years back, Salomon took a close look at that brand to explore ways to continue the evolution these legendary athletes helped to establish.
“The longevity of our freeski team is pretty unheard of—the vast majority of our skiers have been connected to the brand for 10-plus years,” Johnson said. “I think skiing has looked pretty similar for Salomon for some time and the creation of the Junior MTN Collective was intended to cast a new light on it—new ideas, a fresh look, different skills and different thoughts on gear to drive the category forward.”
The Junior MTN Collective
Thus, the Junior MTN Collective was born during the 2019/2020 season with a handful of young rippers on the team. Salomon tapped into its network and relationships with resorts, sales reps and freeride coaches in key territories like Tahoe, Salt Lake City, Colorado, Whistler, Revelstoke and New England to find this next generation of athletes.
One of those initial team members was Wyatt Gentry, who Wright found by way of former Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Brand and Content Manager John Bowers, now with Protect Our Winters. Wright and Bowers caught an edit of a young Wyatt Gentry sending it deep off an iconic hit in the Jackson sidecountry called Smart Bastard. Bowers knew the Gentry boys’ mom and made the introduction.
“Hitting the Smart Bastard cliff kind of put the light on me for a minute there,” Wyatt Gentry said. “Salomon reached out, and I’d been sponsored before, so I figured they’d just send me gear and stuff, but it wound up being much more. They had me down to Utah to meet with the team, I got introduced to Drew Petersen, who taught me a lot about skiing and filming in the backcountry, and they really wanted my input on gear and other things. From the start, I knew it was a relationship that would last for a long time.”
Wyatt Gentry’s initial experience with the Junior MTN Collective is no outlier. The brand has been deliberate in building a program that benefits both Salomon and these young athletes. Whether it’s giving them exposure to product development and prototyping, providing opportunities to create content like “A Little Rogue, A Little Rowdy,” or helping to foster mentorship with its legacy athletes, Salomon hopes the intention they’ve put into the program pays off for the team members and the brand alike.
“We’re really looking to continue to build legacy athletes—guys and girls that want to stick around with the brand and are proud of the direction we’re heading,” Wright said. “I think everything around the Junior MTN Collective stems from that.”
Possibly the most valuable part of the team for the young athletes is the relationships they’ve been able to foster. Whether that’s with Salomon’s legacy athletes or with Junior MTN Collective teammates as the team has grown to over 20 athletes this season.
Salomon has also set aside classroom time with the likes of Douglas, Godbout and Rubens to teach these teens what it’s like to be a professional skier today if they choose that path. A lot has changed in the professional ski world since Douglas was first sponsored by Whistler’s Sushi Village; these Salomon athletes are happy to provide the wisdom they wish they had when navigating the industry years prior.
“Being able to meet and learn from our heroes like Mike Douglas and Stan Rey, it has been amazing,” Luke Gentry said. “They’re essentially telling us, ‘I wish I had known this when I was trying to become a professional skier.’ Many sports have feeder teams and training sessions—like football and soccer—but this is relatively new territory for the ski industry.”
A Little Rogue, A Little Rowdy
For the supported project, Salomon asked the boys from Jackson to make a film about what it’s like to be a junior freeskier. There was no big producer or production company, just a film budget and three teens are given free rein to show their season on snow through their own lenses.
Johnson and Wright felt comfortable giving the trio a shot based on previous social edits they’d produced and thanks to Luke Gentry’s filmmaking pedigree, which he earned working at Teton Gravity Research in the summer of 2021, creating digital video spots and other online assets.
“Luke’s time at TGR definitely gave us the confidence to give it a shot,” Johnson said. “But also from a skiing perspective, they’re phenomenal. They’re like cats—they always land on their feet. They look at things differently. They approach lines differently. The way that their heads work and the confidence that they have in their abilities, especially at their young ages, is mind-blowing.”
The film features segments from their home mountain of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort along with Mt. Baker, Whistler, Revelstoke and competition footage at Snowbird and Big Sky. It also showcases fellow Junior MTN Collective athletes like Maddi Adams, Delila Quinn, Danny Garringer and more.
The boys are particularly proud of the Jackson segment as they feel it showcases their home resort as well as any film has in recent years. Other highlights include a road gap at Mt. Baker and an epic road trip to hit backcountry pow with Chris Rubens in Revelstoke. Since they were under 18 at the time of filming, they needed notarized statements from their parents to cross the border into Canada.
“We crossed the border wearing matching Jackson Hole onesies and towing the snowmobiles behind the truck,” Luke Gentry said. “I still can’t believe they let us in.”
Following their whirlwind season of comps, travel and filming, Luke Gentry went through 47 versions of the film this past summer leaning on his family along with tenured Salomon team members Mike Douglas and Alexi Godbout for feedback. The sold-out show in Salt Lake City in October and a standing ovation following the Jackson Hole premiere later this fall made all the hard work worth it.
“The moment that we signed our first posters is one I’ll always remember,” Luke Gentry said. “I’ve had hundreds of posters signed by athletes. To be in that chair and have a kid want my autograph—that was incredible. A nine-year-old came up to me and said ‘Your movie made me want to go skiing.’ That’s the goal. All the hard work was validated at that moment.”