Snowboard Academy

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Snowboard Academy
Snowboard Academy.jpg
Directed by John Shepphird
Produced by Rudy Rupak
Written by Rudy Rupak
James Salisko
Music by Ross Vannelli
Distributed by Columbia TriStar
Release dates
October 28, 1997
Running time
88 min
Language English

Snowboard Academy is a 1997 independent slapstick comedy film, starring Corey Haim, Jim Varney and Brigitte Nielsen.

Plot summary[edit]

A competition is held between two brothers on their father's ski slopes one is a skier the other a snowboarder. The competition would determine if snowboarders could be allowed to be a part the ski patrol. Into the scene arrives Rudy James, played by Jim Varney[1] who stumbles his way into a job as ski patrol, entertainment host, and jack of all trades. What was cut out of the film was that Rudy James was hired by Mimi played by Brigitte Nielsen[2] to ineptly sabotage the ski hill so that she could win it in a divorce proceeding. The two brothers discover her plot to damage their father's ski hill (played by SCTV's Joe Flaherty) and further hilarity ensues.

While nearly uncommon today, there was a time when snowboarding was banned from many worldclass resorts resulting in the concept of poaching. Writer/producer, Rudy Rupak, who was an avid skier trying to learn how to snowboard, seized upon this interesting concept to mine it for its subversive comedic value. Subsequently though Columbia Pictures removed all references to poaching from the script.


Snowboard Academy was shot on location in Chantecler Ski Resorts, which is part of the Laurentides in the city of Sainte-Adele, Quebec. Shooting lasted 20 days. Additional stunt footage was shot in Squaw Valley Ski Resort, California. Stunts were shot and coordinated by Michael Roban[3]


Rudy Rupak was 25 years old at the time he produced this film, making him Canada's youngest film producer at the time. The project was meant to be both a video game and movie. The film was directed by John Shepphird of Teenage Bonnie and Klepto Clyde fame. Rudy credits Quebec producer Claudio Castravelli and his company, Taurus 7, for rescuing the film on the first day of pre-production when the initial bank rejected Columbia Tri-Star's contract because at that point the company was changing ownership from a US company to becoming a part of Sony. The script, written by Rudy Rupak and James Salisko, was considered too edgy and made reference to things like X games and extreme sports. Columbia Pictures however toned down what would have been a PG-13 movie into a PG one given the pressures of an election year when Bob Dole was bent on chastising Hollywood for its alleged immorality. Scenes like peeing onto skiers from a chair lift, and skating on a blunt (marijuana) shaped board were scrapped. Rupak's efforts to sell a video game based on Snowboarding never materialized. Rudy Rupak went on to produce two other feature films including She's Too Tall and The Final Goal which was directed by Paul Kassar, the director of the Keifer Sutherland "24".


Snowboard Academy was a rare Canadian feature film that was profitable even prior to its release. Rudy Rupak, the producer first got the script approved and greenlighted by Columbia TriStar Homevideo for a minimum guarantee that covered close to 90% of the shooting budget in exchange for all home video rights worldwide. To cover the large all-star cast Rudy licensed the Canadian rights to Allegro Releasing.[4] The balance of the capital came from both the Canadian Film Tax Credits and the Quebec Tax Credit System called SODEC and this paid for the financing costs and delivered a small profit prior to production. This kind of independent film finance is difficult as "the lucrative screenplay development deals of the ’80s are no longer easy to come by".[5] While Rudy was able to get funding for other films his experience with another snowboarding themed movie, Boardlords[6] left him to realize that he had "taste but not talent" according to Rudy.


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