It's one of the most memorable scenes in the James Bond film canon, that wild downhill ski chase (which was clocked at 65 mph) in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The man who choreographed and stunt-skied that segment, Willy Bogner, has just collaborated on his first film with IMAX, Ski to the Max, which opens in Riverfront Park this weekend.
Bogner's skiing prowess started early and has sustained a varied career including athletics, business, filmmaking and clothing design. By the time he worked on On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1968, Bogner had already competed in the Olympics and won several medals in his native Germany. It's no surprise then that a new generation of mountain daredevils has followed his example, in some cases, to the letter. Canadian John Eaves, who stars in Ski to the Max's incredible dream sequences, has also stunt skied on several Bond films, including a gig as Roger Moore's bobsled stunt double in A View to a Kill. Eaves has worked in other Hollywood features and has collaborated with Bogner on 16 ski films. A resident of Calgary, Alberta, Eaves is described as "movie star handsome" and in addition to skiing, viewers will see him paraglide, snowboard and kayak.
Typical in any Bogner film is a deep respect for the art of athleticism, the discipline of technique and the poetry of combining stunning action with affecting music. Ski to the Max demands all of these things and a few stunts worthy of the nation's five-story movie screens. While the scenery of Alaska, Colorado, the Himalayas and the Swiss Alps are no doubt stunning, we're looking forward to the highly-touted feat involving a "skiing" Audi Quattro that finishes its downhill run with a parachute jump. Very cool.
Ski to the Max opens at the IMAX on Friday, Oct. 26, and plays daily at noon,