Sunday, December 15, 2013

Specialized Video Shoot

In early November, Specialized contacted me to see if I was available for a video shoot with pro snowboarder and Specialized Women ambassador, Kimmy Fasani.  The idea behind the shoot was for Kimmy to mountain bike with me in 'my world'.  Then, later this winter, I would take a stab at her world and get on some snow.  Specialized, at first, thought it would be a good idea for me to get on a snowboard, but I discouraged them away from that notion unless they wanted some footage of the bunny slope and the magic carpet.  Since I grew up ski racing, skis would be the ideal choice.  I absolutely love snow and I jumped at the opportunity to be able to ski powder with Kimmy.  It’s one of the coolest marketing ideas that I’ve ever been a part of.

I was excited to go to Tahoe for the shoot and get back on a mountain bike.  I met the crew in the morning and we drove a rental van up some questionable roads to scout the shoot sites.  The snuck out for a quick sunset shuttle ride with the Specialized boys to get used to the Rumor that I was going to ride.   We returned to our rental house for the shoot and met up with Kimmy.  We had met in the spring at the rumor launch and we caught up about how her knee injury recovery was going and what was on tap for the season (Japan, Mammoth, and Whistler chasing powder.  I’m wildly jealous).  Then, Aaron made us have the catch up conversation again on camera which was awkward at best, but Kimmy is a pretty good actress.  I think we’ll both keep our day jobs though. 

 Shoot Outtakes 
 Scouting shooting locations

We filmed over the next two days with a stellar film crew armed with a drone filming helicopter and more camera equipment than I could believe.  The three-man crew would hike a long boom around through the woods with a 70 foot weight on the end.  It seemed like they were getting a better workout than we were.  The Brit, Robbie, would run alongside us with a camera and pop out of the woods and onto the trail at unexpected times. For this, he earned the name sasquatch.  I was completely impressed with his ability to run through dense forest with a heavy camera, keeping an eye on the frame and not exactly where he was running.  He also was equipped with skate shoes.  Apparently, the trick is having loose ankles and just running with it when he tripped or rolled an ankle.  For all those aspiring action filmers, stretch out your ankles.

The drone helicopter was the most interesting element of the shoot.  It was about fifteen feet long, and there was a special pilot to operate it.  Thank goodness this pilot was skilled because he had to fly it through some tight spaces.  Before we started shooting, they warned us that if the helicopter was ever within twenty feet of us, something was wrong and we should just ditch it and take cover.  It seemed like every single shot with the helicopter it was well within twenty feet of us.  I wasn't sure if something was going wrong and I should take cover, or I should keep riding.  My solution was to usually sprint maniacally away from the helicopter.  It was terrifying, but it sure does produce some amazing footage.  

All in all, we had an absolute blast and, from the little I saw, the footage is incredible.  I think the finished product is going to be sweet.  I can't wait to continue the fun this winter, get my snorkel out, and ski some legitimate powder.  Thanks so Specialized for making this happen. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Grateful Aloha

Jojo and I have made the annual pilgrimage to Kauai, and, as always, it's good to be back on the island decompressing from an amazing season.  This year, for the first time, my sister, Sabe, is joining us for ten days.  The first three days of this adventure did not disappoint and have been some of the highlights of my entire past three years on the island.  

The Petterson family did thanksgiving on the beach, and it was a great way to spend turkey day.  The family brought together an amazing meal, and, after indulging, we rolled ourselves into the ocean.  We played one of the most hilarious ocean games ever.  It was 'how far can you body surf up onto the beach?' Even this beach game can be a heated competition.  It involved pretty much chucking oneself into a wave and getting tossed as far as possible onto the beach.  It would leave the group of us looking like drowned rats washed ashore.  My stomach hurt from laughing so hard. We played the annual game of kickball and then we left to pick my sister up from the airport.  It was a perfect thanksgiving with the most amazing weather.  Before Sabe even arrived, there was a lot to be thankful for. 

Our first day of adventuring, Sabe, jojo, and I went north to the end of the road and hiked to Hanakapaia Falls.  Jojo had hiked along the coast on the stunning Kaulaulau trail before but never hiked into the mountains to the falls.  This was, hands down, one of the coolest things I've ever done.  We hiked on a cliff as the ocean was raging below us.  There were twenty foot waves crushing the shoreline.  Then, we turned inland to the falls, a two hundred foot waterfall that mists into a clear pool below.  We swam underneath this waterfall.  I can check that off my life list.  My sister kept saying, 'I swear I've seen this in movies'.  She's probably right. 

Yesterday, we watched an angry ocean shoot up forty feet in the air (again, we've seen this type of thing in photos and never in real life), and today, the ocean was calm enough that we could swim in tidal pools.  We also watched a pod of whales for about thirty minutes very close to the shore and ate a hawaiian shaved ice the size of my head.  I'm not exaggerating at all.  It's been a perfect couple of days. 

I'm grateful to have all of these opportunities.  I'm one lucky ducky. 

 Hanakapaia Beach, where Cairns are born
 Jojo and Sabe watching the surf
 Sabe checking the tidal pool

Kauai even served us up a rainbow at Anahola Beach