By Phil McLachlan
Island Lake Resort recently released their new film, “Winter of our content,” showcasing the endless possibilities that follow when you ski in Fernie.
“We wanted to create something that gets people back to the roots of skiing at Island Lake,” said Mike McPhee, Director of Sales and Marketing at Island Lake Resort Group.
With a vision of what he wanted the film to turn into, McPhee decided he needed the best of the best to showcase what Fernie had to offer ski culture, and so he called upon legendary rider, Nick McNutt.
Hearing that McNutt was in the area filming a project with Teton Gravity Research (TGR), McPhee came up with an idea. With a large jump in the works, he invited Nick McNutt along with TGR to take part in this new project at Island Lake Lodge.
“I thought well, why not kill two birds with one stone and invite TGR to come film this jump session in the spring,” said McPhee.
McPhee had worked with TGR founder Steve Jones before, and emailed him to propose that he send a videographer plus a rider or two to take part in this spring jump session. Overwhelmed at the idea, Jones sent their GFS heli-mounted camera along with 12 personnel, including four of TGR’s top riders, and an aeronautical engineer to certify the installation of the camera on the helicopter. Working together to create the alpine jump project, TGR and Island Lake Resort successfully pulled off the shoot, with many large tricks and jumps being featured as a huge segment in TGR’s new film.
Many of the shots featured in TGR’s film also aired in Island Lakes new TV series, which was brought about after a rejuvenation of Island Lake’s marketing strategies. Making a few films in the past, “Winter of our content” is the largest yet, and took the past two years to put together. Following a syndication deal in the states, “Winter of our content” will be aired on over 80 different TV stations across North America, partially distributed by The North Face.
“We wanted to take it to the next level and just create something really special.” said McPhee. “It’s a really high-quality production, and I think it tells the story we wanted it to tell. Conditions came together to produce not only some awesome deep powder shots, but some great springtime big mountain skiing as well.”
“Winter of our content” takes the viewer through four emotional segments, each describing a different aspect of skiing. Part one describes the power of weather, and the drama that follows a storm and unpredictable weather systems. The second part brings about a detailed description of snow seen through every sense of the body. The chapters following bring the viewer through a series about inspiration, showcasing massive jumps in the alpine, with TGR rider, Nick McNutt.
Aerial clips came after a partnership with Lance Edwards at Elevation Showcase, who brought in the Kavu GoPro Bombsquad out of Seattle to perform a wing-suit jump, filmed the peaks as they flew above Fernie. Local helicopter company, Ascent, also took a large role in helping out the filmers as they tirelessly produced the film.
Several artists behind the plot-line included Leslie Anthony, one of Canada’s most legendary ski writers who was the mind behind the script. Chuck Regan, a punk-rock musician from the states took on the role of narrator, and provided the soundtrack to the film.
“It all came together, but it was a pretty big two-year project,” said McPhee. “And to be honest I don’t think many small companies would bite off such a big project, but we’re very happy with the results.”
This increase in Island Lake’s online presence has attracted a large amount of attention, resulting in their resort reaching a 97 per cent booking for the upcoming winter season. Although Island Lake will be putting the video equipment down for a while, McPhee mentioned that they will be continuing to release some more edits and short videos as time unravels, in order to continue showcasing the beautiful ski country that Fernie has to offer.