With drones as filmmakers, these ski resorts let you leave camera at home

We have seen awesome amateur GoPro content, and we have also watched some bad ones. While the tiny GoPro Hero camcorders make it easy for everyone to record their vacations, shooting the type of cool action shots, popularized in GoPro ads, require pre-planning and equipment – not exactly what you want to think about when you’re trying to enjoy your holiday, especially if you’re racing down a snow-packed mountain. This winter, if you’re planning to hit select ski resorts in the U.S. and Canada, a company called Cape Productions is offering to film you in a highly polished manner worthy of the X-Games.

At British Columbia’s Fernie Alpine Resort; California’s Homewood Mountain; Colorado’s Winter Park Resort and Copper Mountain; Idaho’s Schweitzer Mountain; New Jersey’s Mountain Creek; Oregon’s Timberline Lodge and Mount Hood Meadows; and Utah’s Powder Mountain, Cape will use its arsenal of customized autonomous drones to track and film you as you ski or snowboard downhill. You don’t have to worry about making sure you’re in frame or carrying a telescoping pole, so you can concentrate on, you know, not crashing into anything; the drone can keep up with its subject, flying up to 40 miles-per-hour (unless you’re doing Super G). Using GPS and mapping, the drones are programmed to avoid obstacles. But what drone videography gives you that you could never achieve on your own, are the aerial shots from various angles.

The added benefit to the service is that Cape will edit the clips to produce a professional-quality, two-minute video that you’d want to share on social media. As a production company staffed with former Google and Stanford University engineers, Cape has worked with the likes of the U.S. Ski Team to film their training sessions. Depending on the resort, the service costs between $100-$200 and includes three runs. Even if you decide to shoot some POV footage from your GoPro, you can add the aerial shots from Cape to create an even more impressive video.

And before you consider bringing your own drone to the slopes, realize that they are banned at most resorts, despite their increase in popularity among hobbyists. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), which represents more than 300 facilities in the U.S. and Canada, has drafted a policy that restricts drone usage without authorization. The agency told Outside Magazine that it isn’t against drone usage – unmanned aerial vehicles can help in search and rescue missions, and, in the hands of professional videographers, can capture the type of great footage that used to require helicopters – but, in the hands of inexperienced users, they can be disruptive and dangerous.

Cape, however, has received permission to fly at Canadian resorts from Transport Canada, and has special approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly drones at select resorts. Founded in 2014, the company spent the last year building and testing its drones, and is now working with the FAA and NSAA to expand the service to more resorts, and recently raised $10.4 million in private funding in order to do so.

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