Is the sweltering summer heat getting you down? Are you dreaming of skiing down frosty, snow-covered trails? Good news: as reported by Variety, Sony Pictures Classics will be releasing the extreme skiing documentary Steep, which sounds like a great distraction from the heat and humidity. Bad news: You have to wait until later this year to see it. Directed by Mark Obenhaus, the film is about "bold adventure, exquisite athleticism and the pursuit of a perfect moment on skis," in the words of the production company's synopsis. It traces the evolution of big-mountain skiing from its beginnings in France in the 1970s "where skiers began to attempt ski descents so extreme that they appeared almost suicidal." I took a look at an excerpt from the film and it looks breathtaking -- and, in my case, it would be completely suicidal to attempt anything like that -- yet it seems that the filmmakers wanted to explore the psychology behind the risks involved. What drives people to such extremes?

One of the central characters in Steep is big mountain skier Doug Coombs, who died in a skiing accident last year. No doubt that will add a poignant tone to the segments that feature him. Director Mark Obenhaus was a long-time producer for TV newsman Peter Jennings. Steep debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in April. In advance of that premiere, Lou Dawson, a backcountry skiing expert who was interviewed for the film, wondered if it would "be true to the mountaineering side of backcountry skiing, or if it panders to the grandiose helicopter driven 'footie' that pervades most modern skiing cinematography." After the premiere, one of his site's readers reported: "It was excellent!!" Let's hope that we'll still want to hit the slopes when Steep hits theaters.