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Filming in Sun Valley

Behind the Scenes of Mountain Movers: The Meltdown

Gunny, Mike, Frank and Erath testing out one of the jumps that they just installed

Stability Test (View larger version)

Photograph by Amir Bather

By: Amir Bather, Production Supervisor

Published

Sun Valley was a crazy start to production for Mountain Movers. When our crew arrived with Corley and Frank, immediate panic struck because there was no snow! If SPT wasn’t going to build, we weren’t going to have an episode. We all knew the weather was going to be a constant issue with this series, especially while shooting this episode so early in the season. But to see this barren mountain first hand with an entire production crew on site was a pretty big eye-opener to the everyday challenges the SPT team faces. I just remember crossing my fingers and hoping Mother Nature would pull through for us all!

Eventually, with Gunny’s support, Matt from Red Bull gave the okay to go ahead with the build as best they could. The sad truth of it all was that having some build, any build, as minimal as it might be, was way better than nothing. Watching Frank, Corley and Erath really pull together these jumps out of what little snow they had was incredible, and clearly proved these guys knew what they were doing. Not only did they have hardly any snow to work with, they lost three whole days of work due to rain. Our crew ended up staying on the mountain an extra two days while SPT finished the build. Something viewers probably won’t realize about this episode is that the actual training camp was pushed back a day to allow for the weather to cooperate.

We were shooting on Dollar Mountain, one of two mountains within Sun Valley Resort. Dollar is the more exclusive mountain, and was perfect for the training camp because it kept the athletes out of the public eye and allowed them to really focus on their training. Unfortunately, Dollar was also the mountain with the lower elevation. Baldy, the second mountain on the resort, was actually covered in snow but just didn’t have the privacy necessary for the training camp.

I would definitely say the best and most exhilarating part of filming this episode was riding in the snowcat for the first time. Those things are beasts! Not to mention extremely dangerous. I know they look big on camera but standing next to one of them really puts into perspective how much damage they could do if something or someone were to accidentally get in their path. I was able to ride along just for the fun of it, but most of our camera ops were shooting while in the cat with the SPT crew.

All in all, the Sun Valley episode was a success. Our crew really pulled together and had a blast working alongside SPT. It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to film the project that SPT intended to build but hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate in the future!

1 comments
Jon Emerson
Jon Emerson

If it wasnt for snow makers they would be out a job, i think you need to look deeper into how these parks become what they are.... of course we go from heroes to zeros....Go ahead STP take all the glory!