Beautiful scenery, beautiful people, and drama galore nestled in the slopes of Whistler, British Columbia. Sound intriguing?
MTV’s latest documentary series Peak Season, surrounded by much buildup, debuts Monday night (Oct. 19).
So what’s all the hype about?
First, it’s a bold new approach to Canadian-focused television. It’s also unscripted, raw, and features personal stories that hit closer to home.
MTV Canada has ordered 10 episodes of this fresh series which follows the lives of a tight-knot group of people in Whistler, British Columbia. Peak Season offers an up-close look into their personal struggles and achievements, ranging from a tearful break-up in the first episode, to the distinct possibility that you will always run into that certain someone you were avoiding at the bar. This tight-knit group consists of Dre Morel, Lauren Horton, Amanda Scheller, Ian Ross, Matthew James, Stephanie Just and Elle Hetherington. Each 20-something-year-old has their own story to tell, and all is revealed in the long days, and even longer nights, in the town of Whistler.
Stephanie Just and Dre Morel are ambitious Whistler locals, while others such as Scheller (Morel’s ex-girlfriend) moved to Whistler when she started dating him.
“It was the perfect time and perfect place, and just the right situation,” says Morel, who was in Toronto for the show’s premiere.
In Horton’s case, the process took a bit longer.
“I filled out an application form and went through the process of doing three filmed auditions over the span of 2007,” explains Horton, in Toronto last week for the show’s premiere and launch party. “They called me when I got back for the New Year and were like, ‘yeah, we want you to be part of the show.’”
The cast brings the perfect mix of business, pleasure, friendships and relationships to the set. And unlike reality shows like The Hills and The City, Peak Season has an air of refreshingly authentic situations and people.
“The thing that this show really brings to the table is that it’s not a reality television show; it’s a documentary series. We would just give the crew our schedule, and they would just show up and follow us,” explains Morel, whose genuinely nice and approachable personality will make him a favorite on the show. “It’s not scripted, not at all. It’s just our everyday life.”
“I think a lot of people think of reality shows along the terms of scripts, and with cast members being told to ‘say this’ or that.” Horton, a wise-cracking brunette firecracker, elaborates. “With Peak Season, what you see is what is actually going on with our lives.”
And what you see is a lot. From a tough relationship discussion for Dre in the first scene, to vodka-spewing antics on the slopes, Peak Season holds nothing back from the audience. Another nice touch is that there is genuinely good snowboarding promoted on the show. With the premiere on Monday, and the first episode available online, this show is sure to gain a dedicated fan base from the get-go. Peak Season encompasses a variety of situations, from an inner look into the nightlife, the hilarious conquests of Ross’s crew, international visitors, Morel’s impressive DJ skills, Horton’s burgeoning promotion company to the aspirations of a female boarder (Just) to make it pro.
“We’ve basically said, here’s our lives and our souls, do what ever you want with it,” laughs Horton.
The beauty of Peak Season is also in its location. Whistler, a long-touted tourist spot in Canada, sports pristine mountains, log cabins, and breathtaking scenery. “Growing up, though I have nothing to compare it to, I’m pretty sure I was spoiled with that environment,” says Morel. “From the mountains in the summer, the lakes, there’s endless things to do. It’s unfortunate that people only see the winter season, because all of it is amazing.”
“I’ve sat on the beach with my bikini and seen people snowboarding and skiing on the mountain,” adds Horton.
With such an enclosed environment, relationships are bound to get complicated. Fans can expect a trail of sticky messes concerning the cast members, which ultimately result in everybody’s favorite addiction: drama. Punches are thrown, curses are uttered, hearts are broken, and yes, girlfriends are forgotten at the bar.
“It’s non-stop,” says Horton, who’s feisty side makes an appearance in the first episodes. “From what I’ve seen, they’re using everything. There’s never a dull moment. Personally, I’ve always stuck up for myself, and I’ve always been aggressive, but people can expect to see another side of me as well.”
“Honestly, it gets better and better and better,” affirms Morel, whose relationship with Scheller is largely focused on in the first episode. “I will say that there is a crazy roller coaster ride with my relationship in this season.”
What will truly draw people to the show is the raw element of its production. There is an air of spontaneity that keeps the audience engrossed and guessing, while feeling a real connection to the cast in Whistler. People will root for the ever-unpredictable Horton’s promotion company, appreciate Morel’s love and passion for music (he hopes to begin producing, and recently did sets in Toronto last month), watch the ups-and-downs of relationships on the slopes and become attached to so much more within the bubble of Whistler.
“It’s going to get crazy, believe me, just stay tuned,” promises Morel.
If you miss out on catching the first episode online at mtv.ca, be sure to catch the series premiere of Peak Season on MTV, airing on Monday, October 19 at 10 p.m.