Friday, December 21, 2007

The Anatomy of a Resort Photo Shoot.

Ever wonder what goes into a resort photo shoot?  I'm not sure anyone ever has, but here is a blow by blow account of my most recent shoot with Killington Resort.

It's Wednesday and the TV weather reporters are starting to call for a possible significant snow event over the weekend.  I start to send out a few emails to get the "inside scoop" from my resort friends.  My guy at Jay Peak replies that they might be measuring the snow in feet, not inches.  This is crazy.  If it pans out, this will be our second big storm this season.  New England hasn't seen a December like this in years.  Good for us.

I was up at Killington taking a few runs.  After I stopped into the marketing department to say a quick hello to Chris D. and to pick his brain about the storm.  His reports are looking good for a major Nor'easter.  Chris also mentions that Killington might be thinking about putting together a photo shoot.  A shoot in December is rare because the sun is so low in the sky, but if we get the amount of snow that is being rumored it just might be worth it.  When I get home I send out a few emails seeing who is around and available to model.

It's Friday and the storm is picking up steam and is now major news.  The TV stations are doing around the clock updates, even the national nightly news.  Early reports are calling for 12-18 inches in the Killington region.  My inside guy at Killington says his report is calling for 18-22 inches.  I check in with Chris D. and the marketing department and they are still thinking about a full-on photo shoot Tuesday.  The forecast for Tuesday is calling for it to be sunny and Killington will not have yet opened Bear Mountain.  The perfect recipe for capturing brochure images.

It's Sunday morning and the storm is hitting us hard.  Snow is coming down sideways.  I had about 8 inches on my car by 8:00am.  The reports are calling for a mix of sleet and freezing rain mid-way through the storm, but eventually a switch back to all snow with an additional foot.  Sweet.  I check in with Chris D. and he thinks we are still going forward with the shoot Tuesday morning.  "I have two snowboarders, but can you get one male and one female ski model?" Chris asks.  You bet.  These models not only have to ski well but be attractive, be able to ski and smile at the same time, (not as easy as you might think) and show up on time, which is usually very early.  Popular to contrary belief, there is no ski model agency you can call on a Sunday afternoon and order up a few models.   I put out the emails and make a  few calls to all my usual suspects.  Kubas is in.  Amy B. who is now Amy L. thinks she can also make it...great...that was easy.

The storm is more or less over.  The wind really kicked in and the temperatures dropped.  I took a few runs solo and the snow was very wind effected and slabby.  Hum, I wonder how it is over at Bear where we might shoot tomorrow?  I still haven't received the final go ahead from Chris D. and Killington which makes booking potential models hard.  I don't want any of them switching plans, getting shifts covered and getting babysitters to watch kids then suddenly have the shoot cancelled.  Around 1:00 I get a call from Heather D., she can make it if I still need her.  I'll get back to her.  I finally meet up with Chris D. and it's a go for tomorrow's shoot.  Sweet.  Meet time is 6:45 at the upper admin building and the plan is to load the superstar chair at 7:30.  That should give us an hour and a half before the public gets any where near us.  Chris says he'd rather not use Amy L. because I had shot with her over at Okemo last year and is the poster woman in all their ad's.  OK.  How about Heather D.?  "Perfect", Chris said.  I also mention I have Ben Kubas.  Chris asks if I can get one more male model.  Sure, no problem.  It's now 4:00, where am I going to wrangle up a skier on such sort notice to be at Killington at 6:45 in the morning...did I mention it's going to be -10 at 6:45?  I go into overdrive with calls to models.  Lucky Heather D. can still make it.  I stop into Evolution Ski Shop to give Ben the details and tell him not to be late.  He can't make it.  SHIT.  Now I have to find two guys.  I run into Bret W. at the Basin Ski Shop.  He makes a call home to check if it's problem, he's in.  Still need to find one more dude and it's now 5:30.  I make a few more calls and leave voice mails.  I finally get in touch with Patrick D. at 7:00.  He can make it no problem.  Whew.  

6:40 along the drive to the mountain and it's -11.  Ouchie.  I'm gearing up to tell Chris D. that we can't make these guys go out in such cold temps, but as I pull into the upper admin parking lot it's a balmy 8 above!  Inversion...lets ski!  Everyone is there and accounted.  We boot up, assign wardrobe and are on the 7:30 chair.  Not a cloud in the sky and as we hit the top of the lift we are blasted with sunshine.  It's not even cold.  The models looked great, the light couldn't be any better, the snow was a little slabby but good.  A perfect day for shooting brochure photos...just remember to smile.

The crew on the way over to Bear Mt. 

The next 3 shots are Bret W. skiing like it's his it is.

Eddie making it look easy.

Patrick D. ripping on O.L.

Heather D. enjoying work today.

Eddie's sister making an appearance.

Even our personal patroler Woody got into the action.

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