Without risk, there is no adventure. Or, so they say. Witness the world's greatest skiers as they go beyond their wildest dreams in a chance to conquer the most rugged and outrageous runs the world has to offer. Spectacular and Steep is the terrain, extreme and impressive is the sport. Based on a factual story by William A. Kerig. (Tricia Spears)
Special features include commentary with Director Mark Obenhaus and Skiers Ingrid Backstrom and Andrew McLean; a 13-minute Q&A with Obenhaus, Backstrom, and McLean; a 17-minute Shooting Steep photo montage; a continuous photo montage of The Skiers Of Steep; a seven-minute interview with Doug Coombs; and previews.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD has a pleasing image quality, especially for a documentary, but noticeable compression artifacts and a somewhat soft overall look plague it. Whites can often look crushed, with little definition in the fields of snow. Black level is somewhat elevated, but it does not become distracting, as there are few dark scenes. Archival footage can look poor, understandably, as the filmmakers had little control over how it was shot and stored, but it doesn't seem to have been restored very well either. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc features many of the same problems as the DVD, with crushed whites and elevated black levels. Noise is apparent at times throughout, and even the new footage can look overly soft. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack features an impressive mix for a documentary, with each of the channels incorporated well for both atmospheric effects and music. Music fidelity is quite good, and the mix is expansive. Recorded voices sound natural as well, with good articulation. While the soundtrack is not overly exciting, it does a good job moving the story along. The lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack on the Blu-ray Disc provides more realistic-sounding dialogue—more full and with better dynamic range. Subtle noise can be heard underlying the dialogue. (Danny Richelieu)