Let’s hearken back to the early days of the 1990s, in which we were treated to not one, but two legendary (or legendarily bad?) films of the skiing persuasion. Of course, we’re talking about Ski Patrol and Ski School.
Ski Patrol (1990) follows the misadventures of a ragtag group of ski patrollers at the struggling Snowy Peaks Ski Resort. When the resort is threatened by a rival developer, the quirky team must use unconventional methods to save their beloved mountain. And you better believe hijinks ensue!
Ski School (1991) takes us to the Horizon Ski School, where the instructors are as skilled at partying as they are at carving down the slopes! The party animal section of the school must face off with the buttoned-up bro section in an end of the season competition. And you better believe hijinks ensue!
Both feature evil villains, eye-popping ski stunts, and neon snow suits galore…but which frosty flick is the true king of the slopes? We’ve consulted with leading scientists in the field. Read on to see how each film scores across these five categories: Style, Acting Skills, Skiing Skills, Villainy, and, of course, Best Party!
If neon snow suits are your thing, both of these movies are a veritable feast for the eyes! Let's take a peep at some of the highlights and lowlights:
Ski Patrol: A neon highlighter bouquet of fun, yet functional looks!
Ski Patrol: These looks are solid, yet unremarkable.
Ski Patrol: No, you're not seeing triple! This, ahem, "innovative" look is indeed, a headband with two additional faces affixed to it. We're giving this look a WTF out of 10.
Ski School: Here we see a variety of ski ensembles, exemplifying the best of the era, from neon extravaganza, to slim sporty silhouette, to dirtbag.
Ski School: Now this look is fierce, no shade!
Ski School: I demand an explanation for this white turtleneck/perplexing hair shape situation. However, we would like to nominate these bold brows as best supporting actors.
Ski Patrol: 7/10
Ski School: 8/10
Ski Patrol: Roger Rose "stars" as the largely forgettable and uncharismatic ski patroller, Jerry Cramer.
Ski Patrol: NGL, we love to watch Leslie Jordan do, well, anything! Here he plays head ski patroller Murray, and survives a cavalcade of pranks.
Ski Patrol: Sean Sullivan plays Suicide, described elsewhere as "one of the worst characters in one of the worst motion pictures of all time." While his gonzo slapstick stylings fall flat on their face(s), we'll tip our ski cap to the technical undertaking of performing prop comedy while skiing.
Ski Patrol: Paul Feig (who would go on to direct Ghostbusters, Bridesmaids, and other hit films), takes a somewhat interesting turn as Stanley, whose performance includes an unforgettable dance scene, and this Tina Turner inspired ensemble. We'll award him an honorable mention out of 10 based on enthusiasm alone.
Ski School: Dean Cameron, as totally awesome skiier-slash-party-animal Dave Marshak, gives a performance as nuanced as it is deep. Take that as you will.
Ski School: One discerning critic described Ski School as a "brain-cell-destroying debacle," and we tend to agree (we are also quite discerning here at FIC). However, what the critic failed to mention, is that destroying brain cells is typically a whole lot of fun.
Ski Patrol: 4/10
Ski School: 2/10
It's incredible how much the performances improve when the actors stop talking, and start skiing! This goes for both vehicles. Let's zoom and enhance, shall we?
Ski Patrol: Shot across the snowy slopes of Park City and Snowbird, Utah, Patrol offers us some flips, a hot dog stand on the loose, and a rather lackluster chase scene.
Ski School: Primarily filmed against the majestic backdrop of Whistler Mountain in B.C., this film was directed by Damian Lee, a former member of the Canadian Olympic Ski Team! And he's got the stunts to prove it. In our humble opinion, Ski School could out-ski Ski Patrol any day of the week.
Ski Patrol: 6/10
Ski School: 10/10
Ski Patrol: As everyone knows, businessmen are very evil. This businessman, Sam Maris (played by Martin Mull) is also a real estate developer, making him the most evil type of evil businessman that exists.
Ski Patrol: If we've learned anything, never trust a guy who looks like this! Leader of the evil sweater brigade, Lance (played by Corby Timbrook), aids and abets Maris to thwart the patrollers and take over the mountain.
Ski School: Hmm... looks familiar! Again, we'd like to reinforce: never, ever trust a guy who looks like this! Reid Janssens (played by Mark Thomas Miller), is the leader of the preppy part of the school, and challenges the party dudes to a race to rule the school. And you know they've got to fight for their right to party!
Ski Patrol: 6/10
Ski School: 4/10
Ski Patrol: Ever seen a karaoke inner tube party set on a mountainside? This actually looks very fun-slash-wholesome.
Ski Patrol: If you'd like to attend another karaoke party where only one person gets to sing, and also does impressions, well, here you go.
Ski School: Sleep in, Ski, Party all Night, and Repeat. This is pretty much the entire plot of this film. In the immortal words of Fitz Fitzgerald (played by Stuart Fratkin), "Skiing is partying, partying is skiing." In a possible product placement deal, we see gallons of Labatt consumed, as well an endless supply of hot tubs.
Ski Patrol: 5/10
Ski School: 10/10 (for sheer persistence)
We've carefully analyzed all the data points, crunched the numbers, tabulated the research, cooked the books, and the results are in! The winner, and official king of the slopes is Ski School, with 34 out of 50 points. Congrats to Dave and the gang on making this unforgettable masterpiece!!!
Ski Patrol: 28/50
Ski School: 34/50
Can't get enough? Well here are a few hot tips on some more frosty flicks:
Ski School 2: That's right friends, Ski School was such a hit, they made another one! Dean Cameron as Dave Marshak is back and badder than ever in this 1994 sequel, which features snowboarding (gasp), more partying, and even more hijinks!
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia did a tribute episode to Ski School (Season 11, Episode 3), including a cameo by none other than Dean Cameron himself!