“I’m on Cloud niii-eee-iiii-eee-iiiine!” Best song with the same title as its DCOM? Yes, I think so. (Sorry, “Thirteenth Year” theme song). I am so glad I got to watch Cloud 9 in the bleak midwinter. Dove Cameron plays Kayla Morgan, whose parents run a ski resort. Luke Benward plays Will Cloud, whose mother runs a doggy daycare at the resort.
The film was directed by Paul Hoen, written by Justin Ware, and executive produced by Ashley Tisdale! This movie is called a “romantic sports drama” on Wikipedia, which is a perfect description. In the beginning, Kayla is dating Nick Swift, the son of a club snowboarding team coach. While she’s out frolicking with him, Kayla plows through a big touristy resort sign, and Nick’s dad kicks her off the team. Her punishment is to work in the doggy daycare after school, which puts her up close and personal with Will Cloud.
Will is a former snowboarder; he quit after an accident doing his signature move, the Cloud 9. Kayla is pretty spoiled and has a hard time getting used to Will and the dogs. To make matters worse, Nick dumps her and starts dating her team replacement, Skye Sailor.
Kayla and Will become closer as she agrees to spruce up the dogs’ space in exchange for snowboarding lessons from him. He slowly becomes more comfortable out on the snow, and Kayla eventually convinces Will to join the team that she put together with his friends. I’ve gotta say, Will’s besties are charming (Carlon Jeffery as Dink and Andrew Caldwell as Sam). Dink, Sam, Will, and Kayla are preparing to compete in the Fire and Ice contest, where they’ll go up against Nick, Skye, and the rest of Team Swift.
Dove Cameron and Luke Benward are officially one of my favorite DCOM pairs, and they play their “moment” to perfection out on the halfpipe. Their characters have had lots of memorable vignettes in Kayla’s snowboarding lessons, including a montage while their “Cloud 9” musical duet plays.
But Will becomes frustrated with Kayla when she’s not yet mastering her moves on the snow. Nick the ex-boyfriend warned Will that it would be his fault if Kayla got hurt, and Will is mad. It doesn’t help that Kayla made things super weird at school by getting Will to hold hands with her just to make Nick jealous. Will brings this up, trudges away from the halfpipe, and stops in his tracks when Kayla yells that she’ll quit hanging around “guys who don’t believe in” her. Will turns around, walks back to Kayla, kisses her and says he believes in her. It’s one of the most epic DCOM kisses of all time, too. These two were meant to be. However, this movie was filmed in Utah, where it was really cold. Dove Cameron told Seventeen at the time, “People’s dry hair and mustaches were freezing. Kissing scenes were a little traumatic!”
And finally, the competition. Will does okay, but Kayla masters the Cloud 9 move with all three rotations and lands it perfectly. Before she wins, Kayla, her dad, and Will watch Nick explode over his father never paying him a compliment. Nick then reveals that his dad cheated for Team Swift, forcing Nick to steer Kayla into that resort sign at the beginning of the movie so she’d be off the team. Of course, Nick’s dad also went crawling back to Kayla after finding out she had been practicing her snowboarding; he had asked her to rejoin Team Swift. But she stuck with her team, and by the end of the movie, she gained real friends, an appreciation for dogs, and a nice boyfriend.
For me, it’s always exciting to find good movies that are wintry and snowy but not necessarily Christmasy. Cloud 9 is the perfect DCOM to watch in January or February if you want some wintry vibes. To that end, I’d also recommend Johnny Tsunami, where you’ll get skiing and snowboarding (and a little bit of surfing, too).