Thursday, October 25, 2012

Working with the US Ski Team

Time for a quick blog... hmm has anyone else noticed that Blog is similar to bog a place where people get rid of their crap?

For the past week I have had the good fortune to be working with the US Ski Team, as they trained at their winter base in Soelden. It's been a fun time and one good thing is I now have much more confidence skiing with my camera gear on me. I first learnt to ski 20+ years ago on a weeks course with the British Army, which basically entailed me on planks going down black runs with a hangover, so my ski style has always been rather more Banzai than style and grace!! I think sometimes I am a frustrated downhill racer (for those not ski officiandos the really long dangerous races with jumps and tight turns) Now however having skied alongside Olympic gold medal winners and taking photos at the same time I can safely say.... My skiing is still crap but I am faster at being crap. Anyway back to working with the team. As Soelden is not only the opening race in the season it's also the winter base for the US Ski Team, so there has been plenty of promotional work for the team to do. I have been covering the behind the scenes of these events, something quite new to me.For those of you that follow my life on social media, you will no doubt be aware of the day to day shoots and images I have produced but I will slap them on here as it's shameless self publishing.

Mr and Mrs Bode Miller (Morgan Beck) standing on a platform with a 400mtr drop beneath them during a photo shoot for Soelden tourist board. Hats off to Morgan as she does not like heights.

Members of the US team pose by a giant snowman. Austrian advertising companies certainly know how to stage a daft shoot!!

Getting ready for a team shot with a lovely background... Well had the Austrians not loved a seriously backlit image with the sun directly behind the team... Apparently it's called art.

Two olympic gold medal ski racers battle it out on a basketball court. Ted Ligety and Bode Miller during one of the teams fitness sessions.

Because of recent knee surgery Bode Miller will not be racing this weekend but has been doing some light ski training (still a hell of a lot faster than me)

Tim Jitloff (Jit) training on the race hill

A comparison shot of Ted Ligety (Shred) and Hannes Reichelt as they trained on the race hill

Cool ski racer and all round Mr Nice Guy Warner Nickerson knows how to dress for an occasion.

My favourite shot of the day when they trained on the hill, Austrian racer and future star, Marcel Mathis bails out at the top of a steep pitch.

Julia Mancuso hits a gate during the giant slalom training carried out in what is called the "Ice Box"

You can't hide from me Lindsey Vonn.

For once Ted Ligety is not chucking snowballs at me!!

Warner Nickerson gives the old wedding tackle a bit of a bashing as he attempts a "Donkey Kick" as been described by the Norwegian team

After seeing Julia Mancuso's great image from her new GoPro Hero3 camera (she is a GoPro Athlete) I thought I would try the same with my Hero2 I think I am prettier.

New kid on the block Robby Kelley training in the "Ice Box" Robby will be getting his first world cup start this weekend, and I think he will be a bit of a star in the future.

Young starlet Mikaela Shiffrin getting a nice low angle on a gate. I did cause a few giggles amongst the coaches when I asked if she was poor and could not afford loo roll as she is almost dragging her backside on the deck.

Enough of the pictures and stuff now, as it's the endless round of press conferences and stuff to shoot, so my leaving thoughts are:

With the start of the 2012-13 alpine world cup in a couple of days and with certain rule changes to equipment, there is a lot of people looking to see how this is going to effect races, I am no expert on turning radius and stuff like that, in fact when the coaches and racers go into the techno babble at meetings, I tend to start singing in my head to stop me nodding off and my snoring ruin the meeting. But what I have seen is the racers seem to find it harder to take a tight turn especially on the soft snow that is on the hill. The race hill will not be as soft I am sure as the course gets injected with water to aid in the hardening of the course making it like a solid sheet of ice ( this is a basic description so non ski racers can try and understand) so with skiers struggling to make turns I have the fear that there may be more crashes and injuries (I hope I am wrong) which now leads to a dilemma for me, do I inspect the course for great action shots, or inspect with the view that a part of the course is highly likely to spit out a racer, crash shots sell, but do I want to witness more friends getting injured? I guess this will be a spur of the moment decision when I am on the hill.