Snowboarder Kevin Pearce stars in film at Sundance

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2013 at 6:54 am •  Published: January 18, 2013

"The action snowboarding community is so eye-popping and has this incredible wealth of material," she said. "It's incredibly cinematic."

Not only that, but she had a dashing young actor with wavy, brown hair and black-rimmed glasses for the leading role.

Kevin Pearce, the movie star. It has a nice ring.

Although, he'd rather be Kevin Pearce, the snowboarding star. But those days are over as he comes to realize in the film. He only reaches that point with the help of his family, who even have a fireside chat to determine how best to intervene and tell him he's not ready — nor will he ever be ready — to drop back into the halfpipe.

He thinks he is, though, returning to the slopes last year with a run at Breckenridge, Colo., with his "Frends" entourage.

Later, he competed in a banked slalom event — on a slope, not in a halfpipe — without his family's knowledge. He meandered through the tricky course and said after finishing, "My snowboarding is bad right now. I was bummed out. I'm not good enough and not in the place I need to be to do really well."

These days, he simply rides for fun in powder.

Although Pearce has yet to see the film, he's checked out the footage of his fall. He caught it online when it was briefly posted, before it was taken down.

"I was like, 'That was gnarly,'" said Pearce, who will serve as an analyst at the Winter X Games next week in Aspen. "To the average person, you really can't tell how bad it is."

It definitely comes across in the film, especially after factoring in the chain of events leading up to the crash.

He and his buddies were originally going to snowboard in Aspen that week, but changed their minds because the halfpipe wasn't up to their satisfaction. They packed up the truck and went to Park City.

On the morning of the accident, Pearce rode his stationary bike to get ready and commented to the camera, "Today is only going to continue to get better."

Standing at the top of the halfpipe, Pearce went rock, paper, scissors with good friend Luke Mitrani to see who went first. Pearce lost and moments later over-rotated on his run and badly crashed.

"I started hollering for ski patrol, 'Hey, we're going to need a helicopter up here," Olympic bronze medalist Scotty Lago said in the documentary.

An intense moment.

Then again, this movie was filled with stirring scenes:

— Pearce being asked by a fan if he could take White and good-naturedly replying, "I'll get back at it soon and take him down."

— Coming out of a surgery filled with panic, only to instantly calm down once he grasped his mom's hand.

— Sarah Burke recounting her injuries while riding in a car with her husband, Rory Bushfield. Burke died in a training accident last year in the same Utah halfpipe where Pearce was hurt.

— His mom giving him a hug and crying before he took his first run after the accident.

— Pearce's dad reaching for his hand before Thanksgiving dinner.

— His brother David, who has Down Syndrome, pleading with Kevin never to snowboard again because he doesn't want to lose him.

"That's the wonderful thing about a documentary — you get a really intimate look," Walker said. "I think a lot of people will be very moved and inspired by this film."