Professional skier Drew Petersen has been living a much different reality than ski films, magazine covers, and Instagram likes have shown. Following a near-death accident in the mountains, Petersen went into a dark tailspin of mental health struggles.
Making this film, telling my story, and sharing myself with the world has been a journey in and of itself. But what I’ve learned more than anything is that there is infinite power in changing our entire culture surrounding mental health. The number of people that have reached out to me and opened up with their own stories continues to amaze me. All of these struggles—all the way to my struggles with suicidal episodes—are truly normal. I didn’t fully believe that until now, but if I could have known that when I was at my worst, I would have felt much less alone. – Drew Peterson
In the following years, he has privately navigated an arduous journey of PTSD, bipolar disorder, brain injury rehabilitation, and suicidal thoughts. Told through the lens of ski touring, “Ups and Downs” is an introspective look at the mountains and valleys along his path, and how his mental health journey is ultimately lifelong—both from well before Petersen’s accident and for the rest of his life moving forward. His story is truly one of finding the light, healing both in the mountains and in therapy, and how giving voice to his struggles ultimately saved him.
If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support, you can find resources at: drew-petersen.com/upsanddowns
Starring: Drew Petersen
In association with Sweetgrass Productions
Directed by Michael James Brown and Drew Petersen
Produced by Drew Petersen
Cinematography by Michael James Brown, Bobby Jahrig, and Adam Clark
Edited by Michael James Brown and Margaret King
Color by Theo Muse
Sound by Avery Sandack
The Dead Tongues – “Road to Heaven”
Tom Rosenthal – “To You Alone”
Gregory Alan Isakov – “San Luis”