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Tracing Skylines
January 4, 2014 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Detroit urban skiing. Poor Boyz Productions takes advantage of Detroit's abandoned buildings and spaces.
posted by HuronBob (29 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Whoa! The ramp jumps around the 8:00 mark—from top of building to tip-top of building—were skillsy. (Ballsy, too. No way would I trust those old rooftops.)
posted by heyho at 1:06 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


What do they use to pull themselves for momentum? Just tie the rope to a truck, or are there devices do that for them?
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:09 PM on January 4


What do they use to pull themselves for momentum?

Looks like a bungee to me. At around 7 minutes, you can see the skier's friends stretching it out for him.
posted by aubilenon at 1:18 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Although it would be great news if Detroit only had one abandoned building, rumor has it there are at least several of them. Any mod that would like to add an "s" to that word would have my gratitude and will be the recipient of a glass of wine if ever in my neighborhood.

Nope. It's just the one. They have a bunch of different facades for it and they move it around on this really awesome system of underground tracks with a pulley system. Totally recommend checking it out if you get the chance.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:20 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


The I'm Alive song is a Johnny Thunder track for those as taken by it as I was.

Nice post.
posted by fullerine at 1:25 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


The video is cool, but "I'm Alive" is the hottest track I've heard in a long, long time. God damn.
posted by Sokka shot first at 1:37 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Ironically I learned about this video listening to WDET's " Ann Delisi's Essential Music" this afternoon because she was talking about the "I'm Alive"track.
posted by HuronBob at 1:41 PM on January 4


Nope. It's just the one. They have a bunch of different facades for it and they move it around on this really awesome system of underground tracks with a pulley system.

it's called the "rubble mover"
posted by pyramid termite at 1:44 PM on January 4


That skiing is some serious badassery, but what really strikes me about that video is the sheer scale of the desolation of Detroit. I've surfed quite a few urbex decay sites, but something about the settings of that video really struck me. I mean, we got some world-class blight around here in Akron and Cleveland, but that video just illustrated to me the severity of what's happened in Detroit.
posted by slogger at 1:53 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


Something about this video isn't sitting right with me. I can't put my finger on it. But, there it is. Discomfort.
posted by jeanmari at 2:07 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


jeanmari, the video isn't exactly sitting right with me, either. it seems, after contemplation and re-watching, that maybe for me the discomfort comes from a sense that these kids are pretty well-to-do? i put a question mark at the end of that sentence because i don't know how much their various equipment costs, but have always perceived skiing as a more expensive sport--is that true, or a misconception? because that's my perception, true or false, the whole video feels like poverty tourism to me.
posted by miss patrish at 2:29 PM on January 4 [5 favorites]


I'm usually a bit grouchy with Detroit apocalypse porn, or whatever the latest term is for showing landscapes of abandoned factories and houses. Partially because it's been done to death (exactly how many pictures of Michigan Central Station does the Internet need), partially as many of the locals and residents there making a go of the place are fed up of it, and partially as the good things that are happening there are under-reported, or not reported at all (a cursory search online gives the impression that all of Detroit is decaying and abandoned, and that's not true, and this is propagated by simplistic media).

And also because I lived there for a long summer in 2009 with my ex- and fell more in love with Detroit than any other big US city (sorry Seattle, SanFran, Chicago and New York; you were all pretty but on investigation Detroit provided many more unexpected surprises and good times).

But yeah, giving this video a pass and a thumbs-up for the endeavor and opportunity, the positive aspects, for not relentlessly running Detroit down in a "no hope for the future" manner, and for the soundtrack.

And for a bit of balance; yes, the city obviously has significant problems, but there is positive stuff going on. Random sample:

- The HYPE Makerspace in Detroit Public Library, and a bit of 3D printing there.
- Woodward Corridor Initiative.
- Pictures of urban farming.
- Quantifying Downtown Detroit's Comeback.
- Run a half-marathon to Canada and back.
- Travel guides here, here, and here.
posted by Wordshore at 2:47 PM on January 4 [10 favorites]


Ha, I came here to praise I'm Alive as well. Any one found a legit place to buy a digital copy? Thunder is still alive, so I'd like him to pay him for the song if I can.
posted by Ian A.T. at 4:07 PM on January 4


that bit in the middle about being stared down by dudes in ski masks, followed closely by shots of their teenager mustaches, made me really think "Kid, you're pretty dumb"
posted by rebent at 4:59 PM on January 4 [1 favorite]


And there was the first track, Apollo Brown & Guilty Simpson - Reputation, if you're into that. Pretty dope song, I love the older motown vocal samples. Between Detroits history of motown and electronic music if anyone knows rap production that uses elements of that I'd be very interested in hearing about it.
posted by yeahwhatever at 5:22 PM on January 4 [2 favorites]


My initial reaction watching the first few minutes was very "Mom," ie YOU ARE SO GROUNDED YOUNG MAN! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! YOU COULD HAVE BROKEN YOUR NECK! WHERE WAS YOUR HEAD?! But then after that I just enjoyed their industriousness and athletic prowess.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 5:29 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


They picked a pretty low-snow time to try and go skiing. They should have gone, well, tomorrow.
posted by kiltedtaco at 5:45 PM on January 4 [4 favorites]


Urban skiing is the latest and greatest thing in ski movies and it's pretty hard to find a place that will allow you to do this stuff, or at least not care that you are doing it. Abandoned buildings and industrial areas feature heavily. I think that has a LOT more to do with Detroit featuring heavily than any kind of poverty tourism.
posted by fshgrl at 5:55 PM on January 4


I felt a discomfort as well. I think it's because they turned abandoned areas of a city they don't even live in into their own personal playground and tried to disguise their real reason for being there saying "I'm just here because I see incredible potential in the city" and then featuring a few generic statements about the city from some of the people they probably saw on their way to the abandoned buildings.
posted by sevenofspades at 5:55 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


The visuals and soundtrack are great, but the bit about how dangerous the city is, and how they feared for their lives due to the locals, not the stunts didn't sit well with me.
posted by peppermind at 6:06 PM on January 4 [3 favorites]


Did you all hear the bit about the dudes hanging out in the truck wearing ski masks? I would probably jump to the same conclusion they did.

I thought it was a fun video, and I especially loved the music.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:40 PM on January 4


I really fucking hate assholes who think they "own the turf" so they can kick out, harm, or shoot lilly white guys (or whoever) are just doing their thing.

If they're so "brave" why do they have to wear masks?

I wonder what would have occurred if these guys would have offered to let the "owners" try out the slopes they made.

We in the USA have to find SOMETHING productive to do with our inner cities. It would be much better if the police stopped firing on and hassling locals and the locals stop trying to kill any foreigner "moving in on their turf."
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:49 AM on January 5


Something about this video isn't sitting right with me. I can't put my finger on it. But, there it is. Discomfort.

It is an ad. It was sponsored by Red Bull and ski tracks were built with dump trucks.
posted by phoque at 3:49 AM on January 5 [1 favorite]


I don't care if it was an ad. It was an interesting and challenging thing that they did and I enjoyed watching their video. Good for Redbull for funding their cool experience. (Even the credits were pretty!)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:42 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


The visuals and soundtrack are great, but the bit about how dangerous the city is, and how they feared for their lives due to the locals, not the stunts didn't sit well with me.

Yep, that right there is what really irritated me about this vid. Sure, the stunts were cool, but do we REALLY need to perpetuate the nonsense that no one is safe in Detroit? Dammit, people, knock that shit off.

I spend a lot of time in Detroit, and have done since I was wee. (The joke when I was a kid was that Toledo was just a suburb of Detroit anyway, what with the auto industry down here.) I don't feel unsafe there, and I've never felt anything but warmth from the locals. 'course, that may well be because I don't act like a fucking ruin porn tourist, but whatever. In spite of its problems, Detroit has a lot going on, and is no more dangerous than any other place as long as you're not acting like an asshole.
posted by MissySedai at 9:57 AM on January 5 [2 favorites]


yeah, my sole recent venture within the city limits was john king books on lafayette, downtown and that seemed pretty safe to me
posted by pyramid termite at 10:32 AM on January 5


Hah, I call John King the most dangerous place in town! Dangerous to my wallet, anyway. I'm not allowed in there without an escort and a set budget any more. Add the fact that it's so close to Slow's...yeah.
posted by MissySedai at 1:44 PM on January 5


I don't care if it was an ad. It was an interesting and challenging thing that they did and I enjoyed watching their video.

Very good. I still have mixed feelings ... a bit too artificial / superficial or something ... but here is one they were involved with of Sebastien Toutant snowboarding in Montreal on Mont Royal (the mountain / park in the middle of the city). And this gives some background of snowboarder with xgames cuts and shows some shots of bungee and winch use in making these films and riding other urban stuff around the city.
posted by phoque at 2:08 AM on January 6


It is an ad. It was sponsored by Red Bull and ski tracks were built with dump trucks.

Thick with hyperbole. Built with hands with imported ice rink shavings(!) from a regular non-dumping pickup and non-dumping trailer unless I looked away when they pulled the lever or something. It stretches it to call it an ad as well: no logowear, no banners, no product placement. If that's an ad, then NPR has 'em beat on a regular basis, the Superbowl is a long-form ad for cars, beer and chips and the Olympics is one big ad for Omega.

Urban riding always strikes me as a little weird, but I'm and old downhiller from the Warren Miller legacy days where it was all long shots of empty pistes on virgin snow. From a purist aethetic, riding the urban landscape isn't much different than catching a helo to ride the unridden not just because its there but because no one else has. Since the ascendancy of snowboarding there's a lot more trick riding with street skateboarding influences: the rail slide and halfpipe are clear cousins in both disciplines even though there's less cross-discipline riders now it seems. Its a short trip from that to riding similar, sometimes more challenging terrain around town and its a thing unto itself. Hell, even Uncle Warren's spawn features guys doing it as does nearly everyone's collection of young semireckless hotness. Compared to a ticket, its cheap and convenient and fits in nicely to apres-ski type stuff. I doubt that the trailer rental would have covered tags for two guys on a daily basis.

Its true that decayed Detroit is a tired trope, but if you're a cat who is into that sort of urban riding its hard to deny it'd be something of a destination. Feature rich, at least conceptually not a lot of local hassle compared to non-abandoned locales (though yikes). The idea of going to a place purely for urban riding is kinda novel and I liked the opportunities and what they did with them. A for effort.

Previous urban riding on the blue.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 3:09 PM on January 6


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