Stream it or skip it?


snowflake mountain is a reality competition that takes ten people, all of whose parents want them to grow big, and places them in a wilderness retreat with very little available to them besides their essentials and intelligence. These ten young adults think they’re going to a fancy resort for a reality show, so they’re snapping their selfies and over-packing their fancy accessories and designer duds. But they are going to have a big surprise.

Opening shot: A few scenes from the first episode, then the definition of a “snowflake”: “A young person who is seen as overly emotional, easily offended and dramatic.”

The essential: When a bumpy car ride brings the contestants to the top of a hill somewhere in Europe (judging by the license plates on the cars), they notice that there is no villa, no telephone reception and the cars are moving away. They are greeted by hosts Joel Graves and Matt Tate, both ex-servicemen and survival experts. They inform the group of “kidults” that their parents sent them there to gain a sense of independence and realize their full potential. Hosts tell contestants to take their essentials out of their suitcases and put them in wet bags; for some, “essentials” means lip gloss, for others it means their Burberry jacket.

Of course, they all complain, especially on a muddy walk to the next meeting point, a walk that Matt and Joel think is fairly straightforward, but the contestants think is fraught with danger. That’s when they have a surprise: Joel blows up a trailer full of their suitcases.

After finding their rudimentary campsite, the group is tasked with finding food. One part is in a tent on a raft in the middle of a lake, and another part is in a satchel tied between trees. Again, Matt and Joel think it’s easy, but each group struggles with these basic tasks. And some want to hide their food finds from the other team. After their task, they learn from the hosts that $50,000 is at stake for the winner of the contest…but that pot is reduced by $5,000 each time a contestant leaves.

snowflake mountain
Photo: Pete Dadds

What shows will this remind you of? snowflake mountain is basically The bridge (the HBO Max reality series, not the FX drama series) crossover with Big brother.

Our opinion : Netflix ratings on snowflake mountain claim that it is a “funny and warm” series. And, in its final episodes, maybe it is, once the “adult babies” actually learn to be self-sufficient atop that mountain and start believing in themselves. But, in the first episode, we have ten assholes who don’t even know how to boil water and who are shaped by two guys who are directed to badass who constantly decry how weak these people are .

Listen, we all love to see young millennials and former Zoomers who think being an “influencer” is a job getting their rewards; there’s a reason there were two Fyre Festival documentaries and both were hits. But the way the contestants here are portrayed makes them look like they’re all mopping up their exasperated parents, who are shaking their heads and wondering where they went wrong with their offspring.

This it feels like it should be a show, instead of what we get which is a group of adults supposedly complaining about having to empty the latrine. Look, we’re not even close to being outdoor enthusiasts, but if the choice is to go to the toilet in a hole or not to go to the toilet, we’ll choose the hole every time. The fact that these people would rather get sick and dirty than use the rudimentary facilities given to them seems to be another reason not to watch.

So it feels like the candidates who take this exercise the most seriously are likely to win, and we notice there are a few right away; they are essentially the ones who complain the least. But, of course, the skill isn’t entertaining, not when you have one of the contestants saying they’re going to get a “rash” from using the facilities.

Sex and skin: None.

Farewell shot: Even after hearing about the prize money, Sunny, who considers herself a “coaster”, has a blank look in her eyes. He is already planning to leave.

Sleeping Star: One of the contestants – we won’t say who – actually leaves before the first challenge. We think this person was the smartest.

The most pilot line: Solomon, who is hatching the plan to keep some of the food his group found from the other group, stuffs a bag of marshmallows into his pants; “Now it looks like I have a big one,” he said. Then he takes the bag out of his tent. These marshmallows are all yours, Solomon; I’m not sure anyone cares if they know where he went.

Our call: SKIP. Although we can get to the “heating” episodes of snowflake mountain ultimately, the first episode is so hard to watch, with no one to root for, that you probably won’t even get those episodes until you move on.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he’s not fooling himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon,, VanityFair.comFast Company and elsewhere.


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