We’ve all been there. Sat in the cinema, happily munching on popcorn, when you suddenly lean forwards. You recognise that chairlift. That hut looks vaguely familiar. You even know that precise set of moguls. Yes, the ski resort you visited is in the movies!
We’ve rounded up some examples beneath. A note, we’re not including any documentaries about skiing, apologies to The Art of Flight and hundreds of movies like that. We’re specifically focusing on films that aren’t about skiing… until they suddenly are.
Spectre – Sölden
James Bond is possibly more of a skier than you or I. Numerous iterations of 007 have taken to the slopes over the years – Roger Moore did it in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and A View To Kill. Pierce Brosnan also took a trip up the mountains in The World Is Not Enough.
The most recent outing of Bond up a mountain came courtesy of Daniel Craig in the rather forgettable Spectre. One of the film’s rare highlights was a plane and car race that took place through picturesque Sölden in Austria. Head up there now and you can visit 007 Elements – a cinematic installation focused on James Bond, but in particular that daring chase in Sölden.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason – Lech Zürs am Arlberg
Everyone’s favourite romcom disaster took to the slopes with her usual grace and finesse in Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Yes, I’m being a tad sarcastic – Bridget loses control on the mountain, accidentally snow ploughing through the middle of a slalom race.
Often skiing scenes on the silver screen are given a fake location with one resort posing as another (see the next entry for example). That didn’t exactly happen in Bridget… the skiing scenes are set in Lech, and the film definitely shot there, but apparently there was also some additional shooting in Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Dumb and Dumber – Breckenridge
Top tip. Don’t lick metal poles on cold mountains. Actually, scratch that. Don’t lick metal poles anywhere. That mistake is just one of many gags in the skiing portion of 90’s comedy Dumb and Dumber.
As mentioned previously, often movies aren’t actually shot at the resort they claim to be. That’s the case for Dumb and Dumber, which is set in Aspen but filmed in Breckenridge. The one thing that’s undoubtedly accurate about this film? Jeff Daniels’ character wearing that lurid orange ski suit. Ahh the 90’s.
Eddie the Eagle – Garmisch-Partenkirchen
While lots of these movies feature skiing, Eddie the Eagle is all about the sport. The real story of a Brit desperate to make the Olympics, he decided to become a ski jumper to try and qualify for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. The film did shoot at a former Olympic host, but it was Germany which held the 1936 Olympics, not Calgary. Specifically shooting took place in Garmisch-Partenkitchen.
Interestingly this is the rare movie that shot some skiing scenes in the UK, at Bracknell Ski Centre. You’re out of luck if you’d planned on visiting that location, it closed permanently due to the pandemic.
Bonus, The Grand Budapest Hotel – Jungfrau (sort of)
A slightly offbeat bonus one. The Grand Budapest Hotel does have a skiing scene, and once again another disastrous slalom sequence. However, it’s unclear where that was filmed – perhaps it was done in house at a studio, although that doesn’t really seem like Wes Anderson’s authentic style. If you know where it was filmed, please do get in touch.
However, another ski resort does sort of feature in the movie. The titular hotel has an observatory nearby. This wasn’t filmed at, but was based on, the real Sphinx Observatory in Jungfrau in Switzerland. You can visit the real observatory and take in panoramic views of the Alps.