Hot Dog vs. Ski School 
The epic inaugural battle that set the madness in motion.

“Ski School - it’s not about learning how to ski. For Dave Marshall and his gang, life is one big party. They’re the best at what they do, but the competition is fierce. With their backs against the wall, they’ll do anything to win. They’ve got style, class, and the perfect secret weapon. If they don’t win, they’ll lose the mountain forever. So, for the wildest, most outrageous ride of your life, check in to Ski School!” - promotional trailer voice-over

Ski School movie posterSki School is a low budget Canadian-made titty comedy loosely shot over a mere 18 days at Whistler/Blackcomb in lovely Whistler, British Columbia. The initial filming in Canada took place during the spring of 1988, followed by some set pieces across from Universal Studios back in Los Angeles. Due to some liberal script changes, subsequent additional footage was shot in 1989 on Mount Hood in Oregon, leading to fairly noticeable (but not really consequential) differences between several of the shots. While never in danger of winning an Oscar for editing, the movie still manages to capture the essence of the mid-80’s raunchy comedy as it died a slow death heading into the early 90’s, Ski School 2 (1994) notwithstanding. Director/producer Damian Lee had a deal in place to make a movie, and approached Dean Cameron (Dave Marshak) and Pat Labyorteaux (Ed Young), fresh off their success in Summer School (1987), to carry the ‘school’ concept over to the slopes. (Labyorteaux came up with another suggestion for ‘Scuba School’ while on set, and actually sold the script, eventually to be made into National Lampoon’s Last Resort, featuring the two Coreys.) Embracing the spirit of it’s ski predecessor Hot Dog, as well as a huge tip of the 2-drink party hat to Animal House, Ski School managed to assemble a likable young cast on a shoestring budget to deliver one of the era’s last blasts of powder, beer, and tits into the pantheon of R-rated party comedies, shortly before the first death rattle. 

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“They’re fast, they’re fun loving, they’re fearless, they’re nuts! By day, they’re the finest hot dogging freestyle skiers in the world. By night, they really take their chances. This is the motion picture comedy that’s proud to go downhill, fast; the movie that defies the forces of gravity, sanity, and good taste.” - promotional trailer voice-over

Hot Dog movie posterHot Dog… The Movie was released in January of 1984, during the height of the 80’s titty flick movement. Preceded that decade by the trendsetting Porky’s, and subsequently influencing Ski Patrol, Ski School, and even a South Park episode (ep. 603 - Asspen), Hot Dog was a lovable combination of gratuitous nudity, goofball comedy, stiff acting and dialogue (writer Mike Marvin fared much better as second unit director of the ski sequences, as well as producer of the ski sequences in Better Off Dead), stereotypical characters, sweet montages, cheesy, synthesized anthems, and some pretty rad-for-it’s-time hot-doggin’ freestyle ski footage, all filmed in Squaw Valley, near Lake Tahoe, California. Squaw was the hub of the US West Coast ski scene at the time, and the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, along with several of Warren Miller’s early 80’s ski films. It seemed a perfect location for filming the first R-rated extreme ski comedy. (Director Peter Markle must have had a sporting good time, as his next feature was the hockey flick Youngblood, with Rob Lowe.) With taglines such as “There’s more to do in snow than ski” and “Taste the sauce in… Hot Dog”, accompanied by a hot tubbin’, downhillin’, air blastin’, partyin’ promo poster, who wouldn’t have wanted to see this fuckin’ movie?!

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