I was asked to travel to Colorado to make a product video for ski goggles in mid June.
This trip was filled with challenges and the most amazing scenery and I want to share with you my experience.
CHALLENGE 1 – What ski resort is open in June!?
It was summer and I needed to find an open ski resort. To clarify, before heading to Colorado, the client had asked me if there were any open ski lifts this time of year. After searching online I found two, Snowbird in Utah and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado.
The cost to go to Utah was much higher than the budget, the flight alone was twice the price as the price to go to Colorado from Miami. I am sure Utah would have been nice but it would have to be for another shoot. There it was done, three days of searching and deciding if it was worth the risk, I got in an Uber, traveled to Miami Airport, got on the next flight to Denver at 8am with my gear and clothes in one backpack, jeans and a shirt and hoped I get to the ski resort before the ice melted.
Before I forget, this shoot was originally for the week before but it was canceled because the lift closed due to the ice melting but by some miracle the ‘last weekend’ of ski was extended to the following weekend because of a snow storm, IN JUNE!
CHALLENGE 2 – Getting to the mountain
Colorado airport was under repair and so it was difficult to get around and I was on a time crunch. To clarify this challenge: I need to get in a rental car, buy winter clothes (I am coming from MIami and only have a shirt) drive up the mountain and find a place to stay. Simple? But I had not reserved anything. This was very last minute so I needed to be on my toes and move quickly, improvising as I go with a very limited budget. I got on the bus to the nearest car rental but once I got there there was nothing left. I was looking for at least a small size SUV, since it was a snow storm and what do I know about driving on the snow, I live in Miami. Finally I found one but I had to get on the bus back to the airport, change to another but that will take me to the other renter. It was a terrible experience so I will spare you the agony. Basically, I drove out of the lot 3 times with three different cars before I was finally given one that didn’t smell horrible or swerved to one side. I’ll put a picture near the end since the third one was actually nice.
Done. Got the Mini SUV, a red Mitsubishi Outlander and now it is time for some warm clothes. Someone had told me that REI was having huge discounts since it is summer time and they are selling all of last season gear. I was also hoping to find a local person to help me get around and hopefully that knows Arapahoe Mountain. For the video side of this, I only had one talent which is a girl I found online who lives in Boulder the day before I left. She said she has experience snowboarding and can show up on the day, hopefully. Fortunately at REI I met an employee who actually works at Arapahoe Basin during regular season and knew a guy that was up there. He also said that the storm had cooled off and probably the lifts would not be open the next day, that would be tragic. Either way, I got the guy s number, a Spaniard named Xiker and since I really could not turn back, I got the clothes and headed up the mountain.
My now it was getting dark but I was able to find a place to stay which turned out to be the simplest part of the day. I found a super nice cabin on air bnb just down the road from the lift and it was incredible low priced. The guy who rented me the room also had a ton of gear and let me borrow the boots, big plus. That was it for day one, I was exhausted and needed to prep the camera gear for the next day.
CHALLENGE 3 – Friday Tour day
It is Friday and thankfully it snowed overnight, it was amazing, this was my biggest fear.
I scheduled this trip to be from Thursday to Monday so I can take advantage of the full weekend. The schedule was to arrive Thursday, do all the things I needed to do to be set up and shoot scenery on Friday. Go up the mountain Saturday to shoot on the lift with talent and leave Sunday open if anything goes wrong.
So it is Friday morning and I drove up the mountain to get an idea of the area and get some footage. I tried getting in touch with the Spaniard Xiker but he never responded, so I was by myself. I drove to the lift which was closed, they only open Saturday/Sunday, but I saw it was perfect with lots of snow. I was excited for the next day since I will have to be going up the lift and skiing down the mountain, with a camera… So maybe this is the moment to say that the last time I went skiing was twelve years before and it was for a weekend. So I was a little nervous but there was no way I was going to say no to this opportunity.
Driving around I got to an amazing location called Loveland Pass. It was incredible and I could not miss the opportunity to get some scenery shots and some shots with the ski googles. The rest of the day I spent it driving around Colorado and it was unbelievable, there really are no words to describe it so I will just show you.