Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Snow volcano rises in Sun Valley

Filmmaker uses Dollar Mountain for gargantuan jump

Express Staff Writer

Dollar Mountain's lifts may be closed for the season, but the skiing is far from over. A five-story volcano jump erected late last week on Dollar's slope makes this abundantly clear.

"There she is," says Denver-based ski filmmaker Josh Berman, standing at the side of Elkhorn Road on Friday.

It's called a volcano jump because the base of the landing starts out wide and narrows to almost a point, resembling the profile of a volcano. Skiers travel a minimum 110 feet through the air, ascending to heights of 70 feet.

Berman, 33, was scheduled to be here from Friday to today with five athletes, four filmers and two photographers to shoot a segment for the ski film "After Dark." His ski-film production company of 12 years, Level 1, is producing the film.

Berman said he would be filming athletes as they traverse several features on Dollar Mountain, but the volcano will be the "premier jump" in the film. He said the Sun Valley segment will amount to four to five minutes of footage in the 50-minute film, which he started working on when the first snow fell this season, travelling around the country for footage.

The original plan was to use a helicopter for shooting on Friday, but the only available one in the area—from Twin Falls company Reeder—was booked. Berman is reverting to a remote-controlled miniature helicopter for the day. One person flies the helicopter—which has a 6-foot long blade—and another controls the video camera.

This isn't Berman's first time shooting in Sun Valley. Last winter, he used another large jump—though not as gargantuan as the volcano—to culminate the film "Eye Trip." He said the film is, to date, the top-selling ski film sold on iTunes.

"Sun Valley [Resort] thought enough of it to bring us back," he said.

Berman will start putting together the film this summer, condensing 200-300 hours of footage into less than an hour after three months of editing. He said "After Dark" would premier in Denver in September.

"The film's theme is dreams," he said.

Trevon Milliard:

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