September 18, 2011
The Gathering Returns to the Valley
This weekend brings the second installation of the coolest music and movie festival in town, The Gathering. Serving as the official kick-off party for the 2011-2012 ski season Sun Valley Company is hosting ski movies, music and parties from Thursday, September 22nd to Sunday, September 25th.

Returning this year to join filmmakers from around the country will be Level 1 Productions and Teton Gravity Research (TGR) as well as Smith Optics. New for this year are Eric Iberg and Tanner Hall’s movie Rettalack, 4bi9 Media, Burton Snowboards, and skier Sammy Carlson’s new movie. This year the Gathering will also be blending with Marley in the Mountains, “Harvesting The Vibes”. The rest of this year’s musical line-up includes Old Death Whisper, Taylor Brown and the world-renowned reggae band, The Itals.

Other highlights of the weekend include Teton Gravity Research’s “One For the Road” featuring local skier, Griffin Post on Friday night at Apple’s Bar and Grill, Level 1’s newest ski movie, “After Dark” on Saturday at the Opera House, the Amateur Film Competition, and Snowboarder Magazine’s “Insert Video” at Ketchum Town Square on Thursday. A complete schedule of the action can be found at

To get ready for this weekend’s Gathering we talked to last year’s first place winner in the Amateur Filmmaker’s competition, 15-year old local skier, Ben Parker. We asked him about his most prized possessions (his skis, his camera and his skateboard), where he learned how to shoot wicked videos and what ski movie he can't wait to see this year.

Ben Parker filming from the bushes. (Photo by Mark Oliver.)Sun Valley Mag: How did you start making movies?
Ben Parker: I started when I took a filming/editing class in 7th grade taught by Mark Oliver, who is one of my inspirations. Now I help teach that same class.

SVM: How long did you spend shooting your film last year? What was the best experience of that shoot?
BP: I spent six months last year shooting and editing for the Gathering and I think the result was awesome. There wasn’t as much skiing in the video because I was on the ski team and with all the training, traveling, and competing, I could never really fit in filming. But one of the coolest things about the experience was flying tandem with paragliding pilot, Walter Neser. We fly from Baldy almost all the way to Stanley.

SVM: Are you always shooting something? Are you entering the Gathering comp again this year?
BP: I take my camera almost everywhere I go, I’m always doing little jobs. In the past I have made music videos, skate films and even a little shooting for Level 1. So yeah, of course I am entering again this year, it was such a great experience. How could I ever pass it up?

SVM: What movie are you most excited to see this year?
BP: Definitely Level 1’s “After Dark.” They always produce such great work and last year I had the experience of helping them and shot a little bit of the jump on Dollar Mountain when they were here.

To get you hyped for Ben’s entry this year and all the other films, here is Ben's winning film, as well as runner up, Stephen Siegel's, from the Amateur Filmmaker's Competition at last year's Gathering.