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Sort of a surfing documentary on ice, Mark Obenhaus' extreme-skiing movie follows a few seemingly insane skiers as they attempt descents — not at ski resorts, but on mountains in the wilds of Iceland, Alaska, and other spots not known for having ambulances and medics at the ready. The stakes are life-and-death (one skier died just days after being filmed), and the thrills, at least to hear these skiers tell it, are commensurate with the dangers.

Here's the thing, though: Where early extreme skiers seem at least nominally interested in staying alive, bouncing a few feet at a time down mountains that approach the vertical, latter-day showoffs race avalanches and hurl themselves off cliffs with parachute backpacks, mostly for the benefit of cameras. As a wintry travelogue, it's pretty enough, though how you feel about the recklessness may color how you feel about the view.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.

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