On the edge with Arc'teryx: Sennheiser presents "A Skier's Journey"

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Pushing the boundaries of sound and sport: Sennheiser and rugged outdoor brand Arc'teryx are presenting a documentary film series by filmmaker Jordan Manley. Screened in Sennheiser's subterranean SoHo theater, "A Skier's Journey" gives cultural context to the sport and lifestyle of skiing across the world.

  • Author: Abby Carney

When Sennheiser’s pop-up store opened on Prince Street in SoHo just one block away from the beloved outdoor brand, Arc’teryx, it was only a matter of time before the two highly technical, design-obsessed companies would collaborate.

Arc’teryx, the Vancouver-based outerwear and technical equipment brand, is beefing up their presence in the US market, and raising brand awareness in New York City, where an insulated mid-layer Atom LT jacket with wind and moisture resistance or merino wool gloves you can text with make a whole lot of sense for no-nonsense city slickers who demand quality outerwear to get them through the often harsh elements during northeastern winters.

The outdoor brand recently teamed up with Sennheiser to screen a series of documentary films about skiing — written, produced, and directed by filmmaker Jordan Manley, an Ontario native who spent most of his life in Vancouver skiing and documenting the sport. He’s been creating films in collaboration with Arc’teryx for over 10 years, exploring the cultural and travel aspects of skiing as a lifestyle, traversing slopes across the globe to provide context to ski travel- from China to Japan to the vast wilderness of British Columbia.

In Sennheiser’s subterranean theater, in collaboration with Arc’teryx, a crowd of a few hundred athletes, outdoor enthusiasts, and media showed up to view the first film in the series, “A Skier’s Journey,” following Manley’s subjects, Chad Sayers and Forrest Coots on a three-week trek across British Columbia through “interior plateau, steep chutes, and over the Homathko Ice-field, to the lush, carpeted coastal inlets of the Pacific coast,” exploring the concept of home.

Gear heads, outdoorsmen, and dedicated enthusiasts poured over the Sennheiser headphones they were distributed for the “silent theater” event, deep in thought and observation, inspecting every gadget and piece of equipment with care and fascination. Viewers sat rapt throughout the film, dazzled by the sweeping cinematography of the Canadian wild and likely questioning what home means to them, hearing a cast of Canadian natives and transplants reflect on the concept. As one of the interviewees in the film said, “Home is hard, but you know when you’ve found it.” Several viewers even purchased the personal headphones they’d been using to take in the documentary.

„In making these films, I’ve put a lot of effort into the sound design and sound quality.“

At the second viewing, “China,” a film following the fairly fledgling sport of skiing in China, follows the ancient practice of skiing as a means of survival and contrasts the burgeoning middle class skiing-as-hobby market with the rapidly disappearing ski culture of rural Chinese. Also shown in the downstairs theater, it drew an equally impassioned convoy of expansive-minded detail devotees.

Manley used Sennheiser products all throughout the production process, like the boomed MKH 50 for the talking head interviews throughout the series, a MKE 400 to create ultralight scenarios, and an ORTF arranged matched pair of MKH 8040s for sfx/foley and environmental ambiences . He said, “I think the two companies [Sennheiser and Arc’teryx] have some similarities and they pay high attention to detail and quality, even though they have different products. I think they have that baseline goal. In making these films, I’ve put a lot of effort into the sound design and sound quality.”

Manley pitched Arc’teryx on the film series in 2010, and he said, “The idea was to do a series about skiing but also cover the cultural and travel side, visiting these places around the world, providing context to ski travel.”

Some of the locations visited throughout the series are popular ski destinations, but most of them are not necessarily where you’d think of taking a winter holiday. Manley said, “We went to Japan, a fairly popular place to ski, but not typically where we think of skiing. I call it taking it to the edge of the margins with skiing with this series.”

For the film screenings, Sennheiser and Arc’teryx have partnered with OvRride, a company that organizes ski trips across the world, to give away ski trips, as well as select gear items like the aforementioned Atom LT jacket, and state of the art headphones to recreate the crisp sensory experience attendees get of swerving and flying through the snow at the SoHo space.

The partnership is ongoing, so stay tuned for the next screening. Learn more about Sennheiser’s two NYC stores and keep up with events like this one, here: Sennheiser New York City