"Want to be in a movie?" Tom Meyers of Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton asked more than a year ago.
"Sure," I replied, "what's involved?"
Meyers explained that Jack Turner was in the process of filming Cheap Ski Movie at ski areas across the United States.
The plot involved two cardboard cutouts that traveled from area to area, looking for sponsors, and having adventures.
Turner expanded the thumbnail description: "Basically the story in Cheap Ski Movie is that our two heroes, Jonny Van Easle and Lou Irons, want to make a movie, but it's not too long before they decide they can't afford to go anywhere, so they make cardboard stand-ups to go on the road and make the movie for them.
"It's a suspension-of-belief movie," he said. (He may have meant suspension of disbelief, a la Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but that's what he said.)
Anyway, in the movie, the advantages to this approach are immediately obvious to the two young filmmakers: Travel costs are negligible, since the cut-outs hitchhike or are mailed. Plus filming can occur at multiple sites simultaneously, as there can be any number of cut-outs at work independently.
Turns out Turner's dimensionally challenged movie stars hit 15 resorts, including Wachusett.
That's the locale for my cameo as a mountain guide, engaged to help the two stars get in some East Coast heli skiing on the highest peak south of New Hampshire and east of the Connecticut River.
Those familiar with the region's geography will understand that's a very small area, making Wachusett the big fish in a tiny pond.
For the record, there is no heli skiing on Wachusett.
That did not deter Jonny and Lou from trying, however.
My specific role was to get the two cutouts safely on and off the helicopter, with their gear. (I may be biased, but believe I did a bang-up job. The cardboard stars did not get sucked into the engine, at any rate, or shredded in the blades.)
John Stimpson, a talented independent filmmaker, produced and shot the Wachusett footage.
The result is available now, making the rounds of ski resorts, and on DVD.
Also for the record, Turner calls it "the worst ski movie ever made."
He may be exaggerating.