Friday, January 11, 2008

Freestylin' Olympic Venue

One of the things that make this occupation so attractive is seeing and doing things for the first time. Earlier this week, I was given an assignment that would provide an up close look at something I had only seen on TV, Freestyle Skiing.
Most of you are already aware that Vancouver will be hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. In preparation for the world class competitions, the Venues for the various sports have been completed or are near completion. One such venue is the Freestyle Ski Venue up on Cypress Mountain. This week the Canadian World Cup Freestyle Ski team held training sessions on the new venue. Most of the athletes attending will be a part of the Olympic team that will compete in 2010.
I would be tasked to shoot b-roll of the team training on the Aerials and Moguls Venue. I was excited to be given this assignment as I had never seen Freestyle Skiing live and up close before. When training was over I would be shooting a number of interviews with the team for use by our Olympic Desk for a later date. Not a bad assignment for a Wednesday in the middle of a week of early morning shifts.

CTV Olympic Desk Chase Producer Marina Ellis gives me the horns.

I had seen this venue many times from the air aboard Chopper 9. I had also seen it from a distance from the ground. My son and I ski often at the Cypress Ski area. But it wasn't until I walked over with my camera and stood at the bottom that I got any kind of an appreciation for just how steep the venue is. To get the shots I was going to need, I would have to get up to at least the Judges Building half way up the course.

CTV Olympic Desk Chase Producer Alex poses for the lens

Producers, Alex and Marina, both young enough to be my children, hoofed it up the mountain with me. Alex had my sticks, I had my lens slung over my shoulder. It wasn't long before I was huffing and puffing thinking I would need to stop and set up camp and try for the summit later. After what seemed like an eternity, I got to the Building. Huffing and puffing, trying to catch my breath, Alex introduces me to one of the coaches. The look on the coaches face seemed to be surprised that I had survived the climb. The jumpers had not yet begun to launch themselves off the ramps yet. I took the opportunity to walk over to the ramps and survey the landing area. Holy Crap, that was steep. And they are going to jump off that??!! Man these folks have stones. It looked more daunting when I climbed up into the judges building and looked over the area.

A member of the Canadian Freestyle Aerials Team launches themselves into the air.

It wasn't long before the team was doing their thing. Launching themselves into the air, twisting, flipping, all with incredible precision. Wow. They make it look effortless.

Another member of the Canadian Freestyle Aerials Team in flight over Cypress Mountain

Over on the Mogul course, the team was working on technical things. Flying down the course, knees pounding and then leaping and launching themselves off a smaller jump. Some took a spill, but they would bounce right back up. Man they're tough.

A look from the bottom of the course as a member of the Canadian Freestyle Aerials team trains at the 2010 Winter Olympic Freestyle Venue at Cypress Mountain.

During the sit down interviews later, listening to some of these athletes, we learn a little of what makes them tick. Just regular folks, with extraordinary talents. Talents that allow them to defy the laws of gravity. It really was something to see. I can only imagine just how incredible it will be to see the best in the world compete and fly through the skies of Cypress come 2010.

1 comment:

turdpolisher said...

Sounds like a hoot. The skiing part, not the climbing. I'd love to ski, but here in the south, it's tough to find a downhill lake.