Skiing Magazine has an article on the Meatheads and their Jackass style climbs of Mansfield, Marcy, Mount Washington, Katahdin and Greylock.
The company's website has some great photos particularly of Mansfield (the pix above is on Camels Hump.
Say hello to the meatheads, an upstart film company making east coast ski movies—that don't suck.
Meathead Films was born from a Jackass-style student-cable-access television show called Ed's Corner that McDonald and Rooster produced during their sophomore year. "We were just a bunch of guys with a camera, doing stupid stuff," explains McDonald. By the time three episodes aired, the boys had received precisely 26 citations from the school for, among other things, promoting violence, threatening students, and smoking in dorm rooms. In one episode, a narrator asks the burning question, "What do you get when you combine fluorescent lights and people's heads and asses?" Then, for three full minutes, the narrator proceeds to smash lightbulbs over heads and asses both. In another episode, Rooster tries to decide whether his masturbatory fantasies will be best served by a pornographic centerfold or a ski magazine. He chooses the ski mag. Eventually the charges against the boys were dropped, but rather than operate under tighter censorship, they canned the show and turned their cameras to the hills.
The Meatheads' first ski movie, A Natural Force, was released in 2002; it was followed a year later by Elevated, a full-length feature that showcases, among other things, Rooster's bare ass. Rooster's butt and the Meatheads are, in fact, inextricably linked: On their website, there's a photo of him buck-naked, furiously thrusting his crotch into the snow-covered summit of Vermont's Camel's Hump. Humping Camel's Hump. The joke is as juvenile and obvious as acne. In other words, the Meatheads find it hilarious.
Man-ass footage notwithstanding, Elevated was a hit for its impressive production quality and unique focus on a region that's often stigmatized by the larger skiing community. There's all the to-be-expected stuff-eastern jib sequences set to angry music, bloody faces, and an ambulance-but also a section on telemarker Mark Courville, a Stowe ski bum of some renown, that is so finely crafted it can only be described as elegant. Viewers are responding. In what seemed like a rotten twist of fate, the UVM premiere was the same night as game seven of the Red Sox-Yankees American League pennant race. "I figured we'd be lucky to get 50 people," says McDonald. Instead, 250 showed. In Montreal, they brought in 400 viewers. Local shops quickly burned through their initial shipments; in all, some 300 copies-at $20 a pop-were sold.
"I think people are interested in East Coast riding, but no one else is doing it justice," McDonald tells me as we down pints of Irish Stout at the Vermont Pub and Brewery. As they discuss their art, McDonald and Rooster are wearing green plastic hats and trying to figure out if they have enough money for a keg. It's Saint Patrick's Day.
The Meatheads' idea of doing the East justice is to document its gritty reality. Sure, there are plenty of deep powder lines in their films, but there's also ice, rain, and disappointment-things any easterner understands. "All those heli trips, people can't relate to that shit," says Rooster, who has never looked so much like a male chicken than he does right now, preening in that silly hat. "Look, the stuff we're doing is hard shit. Yeah, it's true that you can only show so much terrain in the East without repeating it, but I think we have a lot left to cover."
Which brings us back to the 3:15 a.m. wake-up call that began this story. The project is titled Epoch. It's McDonald's brainchild, a quest to document ski ascents (and descents) of the highest mountains in the five Northeastern states that have mountains worth documenting. The working cover note McDonald e-mailed me invites viewers to "Join seven young skiers on their quest to conquer five of the Northeast's highest peaks in a single season. Witness their struggles, laugh at their antics, and enjoy incredible backcountry skiing in places you've never seen before."