What you'll see in The Sky Piercer is quite literally the stuff of legend. Snow athletes Sam Smoothy, Xavier De Le Rue, Nadine Wallner and Fraser McDougall take on the challenge of skiing down New Zealand’s highest mountain, the notorious Mount Cook (Aoraki). Will extreme weather and icy conditions defeat them? Aoraki mightn't be the world's tallest mountain, but it is one of the youngest, and still growing by about 7mm a year, though in the last few decades erosion of the ice cap means it's 30m or so shorter after massive falls of rock and ice. Where it differs from bigger mountains in the Himalayas or European Alps is that it's exposed to whatever westerly weather systems the Tasman Sea throws at it, meaning strong winds, heavy snow, and thick cloud that can make visibility a serious problem, and this goes for the eastern side, too, if the wind changes.

The Sky Piercer director Hancox has mentioned that there has to be an understanding between the protagonists and the crew that cuts both ways, and that The Sky Piercer works so well is a reflection of the mutual respect. """"The film maker needs to understand that the athlete isn't an actor,"""" Hancox has said in interviews. """"The athlete also needs to understand that it takes more than just skiing or 'action' to create an engaging film.""