In Revelstoke, a winter’s day doesn’t go by without at least some filming for some kind of ski or snowboard production. Maybe it’s helmet cam shots of your glade line, some pocket HD of jumps off a booter or even something with a director and a budget.
But when they are dropping tens of thousands to fly specialists in from California to wrap your helicopter with Red Bull graphics, you know it’s in a different league.
Scott Newsome of Revelstoke’s Eagle Pass Heli-Skiing invited the Times Review up to Selkirk Mountain Helicopters’ facility on Mar. 16. We witnessed the unveiling of an A-Star helicopter newly-decorated with a full Red Bull logo package, and a helicopter safety briefing for the upcoming snowboard production The Art of Flight.
The Art of Flight follows snowboarders Travis Rice, John Jackson, Mark Landvick, Scotty Lago, Jake Blauvelt, Nicholas Muller, Gigi Ruf, DCP and Pat Moore as they travel the globe and push the limits of the sport.
Travis Rice was on hand for the safety briefing. He’s been in town for about 10 days and has done some filming in the snowcat terrain at Revelstoke Mountain Resort and some sled-accessed riding. It’s his first time to Revelstoke. “It’s everything I’ve always heard it would be,” Rice told the Times Review. “A little more actually. I always heard good things ever since the resort opened.”
For those who follow snowboarding, Rice needs no introduction. Rice is firmly amongst the biggest names in the sport. He’s been Transworld Snowboarding rider of the year, won many big air and halfpipe competitions over the past decade, amongst many other awards, wins and video parts.
“I’ve heard from a lot of people how insane it is,” Rice said of the snow and terrain around Revelstoke. “It was great getting up here finally to see for myself.”
The above-average snow season looks like it will keep the production in Revelstoke longer than planned. “We were going to be going to [Alaska], but you guys are having the best season since the late ’70s and AK is having one of the worst seasons of all time, so we’re thinking of maybe just hanging out and finishing off … the project,” Rice said.
So, is it all work and no play? “I like to think that our business is spiked with pleasure,” Rice said, saying the riders and crew will be out and about town in the next few weeks.
The Art of Flight is being produced by Brain Farm Digital Cinema. Company president Curt Morgan, who was behind the 2008 snowboard epic That’s It, That’s All was also on hand at the heli-pad.
“It’s the story of Travis Rice and friends basically going out in search of the best terrain in the world, and this is going to be one of the spots in the movie,” said Morgan.
Morgan and Brain Farm are also producing an eight-part TV series that focuses on the production of The Art of Flight. It’ll follow the crew through locations including Patagonia, Jackson Hole, Alaska and here in Revelstoke. One of the one-hour episodes will feature their stay here.
Morgan said he worked with Scott Newsome on a production near Nelson, B.C., and he convinced Morgan to bring the production up here.
In addition to filming with Eagle Pass Heli-Skiing, they were also filming up at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. Morgan said they’ve had a great few days at RMR. “Everyone up at RMR have been awesome, super helpful.” They did some pioneering use of a specialized stabilized camera mounted atop a cat, he said.
Brain Farm is known for their pioneering digital filming techniques and innovating new camera mounting techniques for action sports genres. “It’s just the next level of cinematography and just an epic adventure story of travelling the world and dealing with all of the variables that come into play while trying to make a film about snowboarding,” Morgan said of the production and the TV series.
He says Red Bull is one of the sponsors of the TV episodes, and he’s currently shopping the series, saying he’s got interest from “really, really large” networks bidding on it.
He said Revelstoke has been a great host so far. “The people are so welcoming to us, and so friendly,” he said. “On top of that, of course you’re sitting on some of the best terrain in the world and some of the best snow.”
Morgan adds: “It’s shaping up to be a real good film shoot for us – if we ever see the sun.”
For Eagle Pass Heli-Skiing’s Scott Newsome, the production is a big boost for the company.
“For us, it’s a real big deal,” Newsome told the Times Review. “For Eagle Pass, it’s awesome. It’s amazing.”
Ownership of the Eagle Pass changed in December of 2010. It is now operated by Scott Newsome, Matt Pinto, Michael Wood and Andy Freeland. Freeland was with the company since before the ownership change.
Newsome notes the talent in the film and the production company behind it. “Nothing really compares to this film,” Newsome said. “It’s a real production.”
“It’s really stunning that we can showcase our terrain here and the town of Revelstoke,” he said. “It’s a real big thing for the community, as well as us at Eagle Pass.”