Expedition to the Arctic Circle to film Skydiving with Patrick De Gayardon and ski B.A.S.E. jumps with Dave Barlia.
Patrick skis over Mt. Asgard
...and lands next to the wall.
|The expedition to the Arctic Circle was to gather
images for a Goldstar television commercial to be aired throughout S. Korea. We were
hired to shoot the point of view of a skier carving down a hill through the trees and then
suddenly dropping off the edge of a huge cliff and into freefall. In mid May, the
sun never sets, and when conditions were safe, we'd shoot practically 24hrs
I was struck by how untouched and wild this location was. Glaciers still cut through the mountains making the worlds tallest cliffs that will probably continue to grow for millions of years so come. The landscape was rock and snow, nothing growing. We operated on the glaciers near to Mt. Asgard and Mt. Thor. The equipment available to us was a Jet Ranger and a Twin Otter with skis. Our mountaineer, Steve Mulholland, briefed us on crevasses, avalanches, and so on. It was a very intimidating environment. Without aircraft or base camp, none of us would survive very long out there.
Patrick and I jumped the first two days over frozen inland waterways to film sky skiing in freefall, and to film Patrick's canopy next to the cliffs. On one of our final jumps, Patrick's ski broke through the ice just after landing. He told me he thought the ice was thin. I could hear the tension in his voice. Neither of us knew what to do other than get flat and slowly remove heavy gear. I can barely recall another time when I felt so scared. Soon after, the twin Otter glided in and parked next to us without breaking through any ice. Patrick and I looked at each other. Apparently, he'd stepped on a small ice pocket and the rest of the ice around us was about six feet thick. We strolled back to the plane and kept the story to ourselves until that evening.
When conditions permitted, we set up for ski BASE jumps from Mt. Asgard. Dave Barlia wore a P.O.V. camera to capture the skiers perspective going over a 2,000 foot cliff. The story boards called for evergreen trees for the skier to pass before launching, so the production company shipped them in from Los Angeles. If you've ever been to the Baffin Islands, there are no trees for a thousand miles and getting a bunch of fake ones there was a pretty huge effort. For us, it was kind of comical, planting plastic Christmas trees into the snow on top of Mt. Asgard. I'm sure they were the first trees ever on that mountain.