Jack Turner is making a ski movie for the times.
"The hard times," he explains.
Turner set out to spoof the ski movie genre and his effort appears to be gathering size and momentum like a snowball rolling downhill.
"As Austin Powers was to the James Bond series, we're going to be to the ski movie," Turner said.
"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.
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.
"The first half of the movie, they're just two plain guys. Then after the X Games they're wandering aimlessly and end up in Las Vegas, at the Trade Show, and decide they want to get sponsored. The second half, they're all sponsored." Turner said.
Turner wants to keep the 10 locations under his hat. He said that while some resorts in the project are major destinations, most are not. "But they are all the heart of skiing," he said.
"The budget is undisclosed," Turner said, "but the title - Cheap Ski Movie - tells it all."
The film is sponsored in part by the company that makes the cardboard stand-ups - Cardboard People - which also supplied a raft of extras for the filming, Turner said.
"They're totally into the concept of the movie, and have also given us other cut-outs of celebrities to use as extras. You might see a bar and see Homer Simpson or Hillary Clinton or the Terminator in the background," he said.
So far filming has taken place at the X Games in Aspen, with full cooperation of the resort and the Games, and willing participation of athletes and various celebrities who walked into cameo walk-ons.
"We have a lot of stars doing cameos for this, including famous athletes, X Games athletes, current athletes, well-known-from-before athletes, well-known ski industry personalities. Everyone gets the joke," Turner said.
"Everyone we asked to be in this movie eagerly said yes. In some ways it's like the Muppet Show or the Got Milk campaign; you have to be famous to be in it," he said.
He closed on this cautionary note: "It's a little premature to do too much about Cheap Ski Movie because it could be the world's biggest flop. I tell resorts we have a 40 percent chance of an OK movie, a 40 percent chance of a good movie, a 15 percent chance of outright disaster, and 5 percent chance of an outright hit. Which is better than most of the ski business."
Turner, a member of the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team in 1976, involved in U.S. Olympic planning, and inspirational speaker, is probably best known for creating Snow Monsters, a program to entice tykes into safe, sound and fun skiing and snowboarding. He is a fifth-generation resident of Durango, Colo., and has a daughter, 18, and a son, 16.