Now there’s a sci-fi movie about snowboarding, and when one of the characters showed up at Comic-Con International in San Diego this year, staffers told him it was kind of a first. descent.
“They had never really seen a snowboard character before,” said the film’s writer/director/producer, who goes by the alias Trailer Tom.
Some confusion over how to categorize her costume accessory resulted.
“They don’t like anything with metallic edges,” Trailer Tom said. “But it was approved.”
The film “The Battle for First Chair, Opening Day Dreams” was made available on Prime Video this month. It’s about a robot and a human battling to be on the first lift of the season in North America, otherwise known as the “first chair”, a prize up for grabs each season.
Trailer Tom knows full well what it’s like to be in that first chair and how the celebratory atmosphere of the event creates the perfect dramatic setting for the movies. Following the opening of the first chair of the season at the first resort, each ski area will hold its own first chair celebration on opening day.
Trailer Tom is a Summit County resident and frequents the first wheelchair with his longtime friend Nate Dogggg; the couple have been riding the first chairs for decades. Here in Vail, Cesar Hermosillo has become the face of the First Chair over the past decade, and Hermosillo is also featured in “Battle for First Chair.”
Hermosillo and Trailer Tom will tell you that the vibe of the first chair is more about camaraderie than skiing. Getting on the first chair usually involves camping the day before, or even several days before in the case of the first chair of the season.
Over the years, Tom began to realize that the time-consuming phase of the first chair quest could be put to good use.
“There are a lot of queues, it can last several days, it can last more than a week,” he said.
Years ago, Tom began to think about what it would take to go from directing non-fiction snowboard films to writing/directing a fictional film.
Being a lifelong comic book reader and space opera fan, a sci-fi movie was his obvious choice. His previous snowboard movies also featured something for the gamer cult, as Trailer Tom is known for bringing a pinball machine with generator on his first chair camping sessions.
Filming for the film began in 2019, but the final product was not completed this spring. That’s why, says Trailer Tom, in recent years, Denver TV stations have featured numerous appearances of his character Redice covering the first chair at Arapahoe Basin. Redice wears a red leather hooded cape and carries a dagger.
“I would be in full costume interviewing, and sometimes I would try not to break character,” he said.
After shooting the film, Trailer Tom set about producing and distributing it with a little help from his friends. This is an area in which he already had a lot of experience thanks to his previous snowboard films. In one of his earliest filming experiences, Trailer Tom showed up to the very first X Games at Crested Butte, camera in hand, without any credentials, and was welcomed to the competition venues with no problems.
“We just talked to people and said, ‘Hey, I want to film my friends,’ and they just set you up next to the big air jump,” he said.
He said the experience made him crash Comic-Con.
“Everything has to be approved well in advance,” he said of Comic-Con. “I’m learning that as I go.”
Not to be deterred, Trailer Tom showed up anyway and managed to get Redice approved for entry, in full costume. But that was just the beginning; by the end of the event, a “The Battle for First Chair” table had been set up at Comic-Con, with posters and DVDs available.
“All the staff wanted to come by and take pictures with (Redice) and get the posters,” Trailer Tom said.
Now available on Prime Video, Tom said if you like the film, he hopes you give it a good review. And, in Redice’s character, he also said if you don’t like the movie, “don’t leave a review under any circumstances.”
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach Rob Bak plays a snowboarding role in the film, and Vail local Taylor Paris also makes an appearance.
You can stream “The Battle for First Chair” for as little as $0.99 by renting the standard definition version, with options up to $4.99 to purchase the HD version.