American athletes’ quest for the podium in the world’s most demanding sport

In the most extraordinary year in American cross-country ski racing history, two athletes battle relentless emotional and physical adversity to rise to the top of this European-dominated sport.

Cross-country skiing demands the utmost physical endurance and mental resilience – where falling unconscious at the finish line is no rare occurrence. This documentary, told over a year on the road, explores the world of ski racing through the lives of two exceptional US athletes and their underdog team.

Jessie Diggins, two-time World Champion, Olympic Gold medalist, charismatic team leader, and the most decorated American skier ever, takes advantage of her inhuman pain tolerance and grit to excel in this sport long ruled by countries like Norway, Sweden and Russia. Jessie’s rise to the top in cross-country skiing is compelling enough, but her struggle with mental health adds a poignant and compelling dimension to her story. In her late teenage years, while striving for a career in skiing, Jessie developed an eating disorder. Though she managed to keep this mental illness at bay for over a decade, she uses symptoms just before the start of the season.

Ben Ogden, known as the American patriot of cross-country skiing, has turned heads in Europe with his quirky personality and exceptional sprinting abilities. His father and idol – an icon in the New England ski community – was diagnosed with cancer when Ben was young. Heartbreakingly, Ben’s dad loses his battle this summer. Ben questions his ability to perform at the highest level as he deals with overwhelming grief.

Threshold is much more than a sports documentary. It’s a powerful narrative about the human spirit, resilience, and striving to be your best self. With unprecedented access to the US team during the 2023-24 season, directors Torsten and Lars captured a raw and intimate view of the lives of some of the most impressive athletes on earth. Anchored by a focus on mental health, Threshold will inspire athletes and nonathletes alike as audiences come to know these exceptional team members, coaches, and staff who work together to pull off the most successful season in U.S. Cross-country ski history. This niche sport becomes accessible and engaging to a broad audience during the lead up to the 2026 Olympic Games.


Torsten Brinkema headshotTorsten Brinkema
Director, Executive Producer, Cinematographer

Torsten Brinkema is a filmmaker, born in Minnesota, and currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. His fascination with the delicate balance between people and environment has manifested in award-winning films, still photography, and sculpture. With two award-winning passion films and four years of ski racing at Colby College under his belt, Torsten set his sights on combining his love for sliding on snow with a long-form project in which he could realize his full vision. He convinced his brother Lars to join him for a year on the road with the US Ski Team. Torsten’s experience racing alongside the best skiers in the US, coupled with his empathy and desire to share these stories with the world, has turned Threshold into a journey he never could have imagined.

Lars Brinkema headshotLars Brinkema
Director, Producer, Cinematographer

Raised in Minneapolis, Lars found his passion in photo and video journalism, documenting the aftermath of the George Floyd murder. Witnessing firsthand the unjust representation of the protest movement sparked the idea of his first film I Pray, an award-winning short documentary about the Minneapolis community’s resilience and uniting for justice. Lars went on to study film production at Loyola Marymount. Lars is driven to create authentic and impactful work through film and photography.

Patrick Dempsey headshotPatrick Dempsey

Born in Lewiston, Maine, Patrick Dempsey is an actor and race car driver, best known for his role as neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd in Grey’s Anatomy. As a lifelong skier and fan of the sport, Patrick jumped at the opportunity to produce with the Brinkema Brothers.


Brinkema Brothers: Growing up in the city of Minneapolis, brothers Lars and Torsten founded their production company Brinkema Brothers in 2021 with the idea of creating a platform for authentic storytelling in outdoor sports. With a background in competitive skiing and film, Lars and Torsten recognized they were as well positioned as anyone to tell the story of American cross-country ski racing. They have devoted this past year to documenting every facet of the lives of those who represent the US Ski Team. From flying down hills at 30 mph with cameras in hand, to intimate moments with athletes on the road, Torsten and Lars have covered this sport in new and innovative ways and reimagined the tenets of sports documentary.