No, Andrew Munz Doesn’t Ski.

26 Mar 2021

Winter 2021

Written By: Melissa Thomasma | Images: David Bowers

He does, however, have an inimitable knack for using the lens of Jackson Hole’s favorite winter pastime to make some sharp (and humorous) observations about the community’s culture. A lifelong local, Andrew Munz is is most widely recognized around the valley as the writer and director of the “I Can Ski Forever” series of plays. Now, he’s found a way to capture the ephemeral buzz of the series’ satirical performances in his new book, where every hilarious and incisive line is preserved.

The original “I Can Ski Forever” took to the stage in 2014 and was heralded as an instant success. Audiences relished how brilliantly Andrew poked fun at the valley’s various cultural groups, while also making insightful observations about the challenges the community faces. Andrew soon followed up with a sequel — “I 2 Can Ski Forever” — which was met, once again, with packed houses and enthusiastic acclaim. The following season, he continued the series with “I Can Ski Forever – An Original Musical,” which delivered the same laugh-inducing charm via original songs. The most recent installment, “I Can Ski 4 Ever,” was performed in 2019. Every performance sold out.

Andrew is thrilled that the book is a way that these performances can endure. “I really love it — it’s a compact, collectible hardcover,” he explains. “It’s the ideal way to preserve a piece of our performance art in a really accessible way.” Boasting a beautiful, custom cover by local painter Katy Ann Fox, and impeccable design by local firm Sharp Eye Deer, the hardcover edition of I Can Ski Forever includes the scripts from all four shows in their entirety and insightful introductory pieces by both Andrew and original core cast member Caryn Flanagan.

While it’s clear that Andrew has an innate ability to keep an audience chuckling, his goal has always been more nuanced. “As somebody who grew up in Jackson, I have a great love for my hometown,” he says. “And I hate that it’s not as perfect as I want it to be.” His representation of Jackson Hole onstage has always reflected his desire to be as truthful as possible about his own mountain town experience. On one hand, Jackson Hole is held up as something of a dream: the ideal ski town with some intangible magical essence. But on the other — as Andrew observes — the community faces some real challenges that have serious impacts.

“I think Jackson is held back by three things,” he says. “Ignorance of its own past, indecision about its future, and an obsession with the fragile present. The ‘I Can Ski Forever’ series plays with all of that, but has a sense of a greater, deeper story.” In other words, Andrew artfully toys with the lightness of powderhound culture to peer into the darkness of issues like socioeconomic conflict, housing instability, and decades of transient populations.

Andrew envisions his book as something of a time capsule: a way for readers to discover or revisit a thoughtful and amusing take on a distinctive mountain community.

Last year, Andrew became the first individual to rent and sell out the Center for the Arts with his stand-up show, “I Don’t Ski.” The 90-minute comedy special embraced many of the same themes and was built around Andrew’s unshakeable desire to share his deeply authentic perspective on a place that he loves, and also hopes can do better. And while the pandemic has temporarily halted performing to a packed house, it’s not putting a damper on Andrew’s momentum. He created the hilarious Instagram persona “Your Girl Catherine” during the onset of the pandemic, and is getting crafty on
how to bring more of his energetic and insightful stand-up to the community — be it in digital formats or to smaller, more spread-out groups.

One thing’s for sure, though: whether it’s on the page, the stage, or somewhere new, Andrew’s audience in Jackson Hole will be lined up to be a part of his brilliant work and enthusiastic, heartfelt legacy.

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