By Renae Counter Explorebigsky.com Editorial Assistant
POLARIS – The world premiere of Cory Birkenbuel and Kevin Hilton’s film, Montana’s Sweet 16, is slated to premier at Maverick Mountain, Sept. 29.
As part of his internship through the University of Montana Western business program in Dillon, Birkenbuel skied all of Montana’s 16 ski areas in 16 days last winter, documenting the adventure to later turn into a film. He began on Jan. 1 at Big Sky Resort and ended the trip on Jan. 16 at Maverick Mountain, in the Grasshopper Valley outside of Polaris.
Hilton, a film major at Montana State University, helped Birkenbuel edit the footage into a feature length film.
“Kevin and I are really excited about the film,” Birkenbuel said. “This film is about Montana skiing, showcasing the people we connected with, and proving that anybody can ski Montana.”
Both Birkenbuel and Hilton learned to ski on the slopes of Maverick Mountain, and Birkenbuel decided to host the film’s premier there because “it’s our home,” he said. “It’s where our passion for skiing started.”
The doors will open at 4 p.m., with a barbeque dinner starting at 5 p.m. and the film set to start at dark. The showing will be outside, on the side of the mountain, on a large blow-up screen. Afterward, Birkenbuel and Hilton will conduct a Q and A with the audience.
All proceeds will go to the Cory Birkenbuel Scholarship at UMW. Since the trip was a not-for-profit, Birkenbuel decided to give all money raised back to the community.
“It’s so cool to help the Dillon community,” Birkenbuel said about the scholarship fund. “I’ll be able to help two Dillon kids with their dreams. My goal is to give back to the community that’s supported me.”
Birkenbuel also expressed his gratitude to the entire state of Montana, Randy Schilling, owner of Maverick Mountain for allowing him to host the film premier, and all 16 ski resorts that supported him.
“Montana has the best skiing in America,” Birkenbuel said.
There will be another showing of Montana’s Sweet 16 at the Beier Auditorium at UMW in Dillon on Oct. 5, as well as at the Cold Smoke Awards in Bozeman in February.