By Tim Jones
Sometime in the summer 2013, Grit Visual and Epic TV began a dialogue about having GV produce some sort of original action sports series for their online content engine. They basically said “we like your work. Come up with an idea and let’s make it happen”. And with that, it was time to start the brainstorm whirlwind of countless bad ideas that usually produce one or two good ones.
Over the next couple of weeks, GV director Jon Cracroft and myself spent a lot of time thinking of ideas. It was sometime in September or October, so the seasons would play heavy into our decision. Should it be about climbing? Skiing? Biking? Should it all be in one season or spread across multiple seasons?
Soon we realized that with budget and timing, doing something in the winter would be ideal. So, skiing it is. What facet of skiing is interesting, realistic to film at each location in one or two days, and tell some sort of story while giving action sports junkies something to drool over?
Not thinking Jon would bite at it, I threw out the idea of doing a terrain park series. I’ve always loved filming in terrain parks. It’s usually sunny, it’s relatively easy, and the combination of amazing skiers and big jumps produces great imagery. To my surprise – Jon agreed. We sent the idea to Epic TV and they liked it. Our agreement was to do at least four episodes and possibly up to eight.
Next came the hard part: planning. Which resorts/terrain parks should we feature in the series? We put together a wish list of the resorts that we knew had the best terrain parks and started contacting them. All in all, our list had about 25 ski resorts across the entire country. After a few weeks of dialogue with the resorts (about 25% didn’t return our calls/emails) we started to narrow down the list. We had a tight budget, so we had to go with the resorts that were most willing to work with us. Pretty soon we realized that an east coast trip was probably not possible, so we broke it down as filming at two resorts at each of the following regions: Utah, Colorado, California, and the Northwest.
After we started dialing in the details about when and where we would be shooting, we needed to line up athletes. For the Utah shoots, this wouldn’t be a problem. For most of the other ones, we were going to need the resorts to provide team athletes for us to work with. This was a scary and difficult part of the process. What if we couldn’t get any decent athletes for some of these locations? After all, it was the quality of skiers that was really going to make this series a success.
After what seemed like a never-ending pre-production phase, we scheduled our first shoot for Park City, Utah on January 21 and 22.
Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be writing about each location and the shenanigans that occurred. We’ll also be posting each episode with those posts. In the meantime, get a little sneak of what’s to come with this excerpt from our episode at Aspen, Colorado.