The Best Gadgets to Film your Ski Exploits

As many of you know I am addicted to skiing fresh powder. Every winter I head to the Revelstoke area British Columbia which has the best backcountry tree skiing in the world.

We would occasionally stop and film each other with compact superzoom camera, but in general we did not like the time it would take to setup or freezing our hands to control the camera. At the same time, we lusted for the type of footage we would see in Warren Miller movies or in the films featured at the Banff Film Festival. However, those were usually taken by professional camera crews in helicopters flying over the terrain making it both impractical and unaffordable. Enter the Skydio 2.

It’s by far the best self-flying drone in the market. It’s significantly improved on the R1 and is the best at navigating trees. It’s still not perfect as it can take a while to navigate tight trees and if you are going too quickly it will lose you, but it has the best auto-tracking features by far putting the DJI Mavic 2 Pro to shame. I captured this epic video with it.

Note that getting the Beacon is an absolute must as it will allow the Skydio to track you even if it cannot see you while you are in the trees. I would also recommend having a tail guide who can grab the drone should it get stuck. You should have radios so the tail guide can tell you if the drone gets stuck in which case you can use the Beacon to tell the Skydio to land. If you don’t have the Beacon you will most likely be out of range and your phone won’t be able to control the drone and you will just have to wait for the battery to run out. I would also strongly recommend having at least one extra battery.

If you are skiing in trees, it’s best to tell the drone to follow you. If the terrain is more open a more side view looks more impressive.

I also love complementing the drone footage with footage from the GoPro Hero 8 Black . I tried many positions. Ultimately, I like it best helmet mounted in Superview Mode capturing at 2.7K in 60 fps. Superview shoots in 4:3 so you see more of the height capturing both your skis and the terrain without angling the camera down too much. It gives you a better sensation of speed and steepness than in the regular mode. It’s also best to be in 60 fps. Because the GoPro does not yet support Superview in 4K with 60 fps, it’s worth decreasing the resolution to 2.7K which still looks epic as you can see in the following video.

I would avoid chest mounting the GoPro as it seems to move more and tends to give me motion sickness while looking at the video. The batteries tend to freeze so it’s best to keep them in your gloves on the way up and to only put them in when recording. Extra batteries are also highly recommended. To avoid freezing your hands enable voice commands and just start recording by saying: “GoPro Start Recording”. The GoPro will beep. When you are done, just say “GoPro Stop Recording” and it will beep again to indicate it complied.

To edit the videos, I download the originals to my iPhone and edit them in iMovie. I also occasionally use Quik.

New York Entertainment Recommendations

My friends all seemingly decided to descend upon New York for the holidays. As they already saw the prototypical New York attractions (Met, Museum of Natural History, MOMA, Liberty Tower, The Lion King), they asked for more unique recommendations.

Dirty Circus at House of Yes

This raunchy variety show features a little bit of everything: acrobatics, burlesque and general insanity. It’s amazing and somehow the amateurishness of some of the acts only add to its charm. You also get to meet the young, fun and hot Burning Man crowd of Bushwick.

It’s typically every few Wednesdays starting at 8 pm. The next one is on January 29

The Devouring

If Bushwick and the nudity of House of Yes are too aggressive for you, then The Devouring should be right up your alley. It is the result of a collaboration between Studio 54’s Ian Schrager, House of Yes and Michelin-starred Chef John Fraser. It’s what Dirty Circus would be if it had money and professional performers in the context of an exquisite meal. It’s an ode to the human experience, and a dazzling neo-burlesque extravaganza. It is a modern-day cabaret, a feast, and a celebration of being alive.

Derren Brown: Secret

This show’s run ends on January 4th so hurry to go see it! Derren Brown’s is the best mentalist in the world. His show is a mix of mind reading, persuasion, and psychological illusion focused on the stories and the beliefs that guide our lives. 

If you can’t make it make sure to watch his shows on Youtube and Netflix.

The Magician at the Nomad

This is the best magic show I’ve ever seen. It features a little bit of everything: levitation, card tricks, mentalism in a small, dark and intimate setting. If you are a fan of magic, this is the show to see!

Freestyle Love Supreme

Every night the performers take suggestions from the audience and spin them into instantaneous riffs and full-length musical numbers. Every show is a freestyle, hip-hop, improvisational, never-before-seen comedy ride with frequent unexpected guest appearances by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame who is one of the co-creators of the show.

The Woom Sound Experience

I am huge fan of the Woom Center and especially of David & Elian’s sound experience. This meditation features group vocalizations, Holotropic breathing (which mimics naturally the effect on your brain of LSD) and beautiful overtone sounds that take you on a journey to heightened states of awareness.

I recommend it to everyone and especially to meditation neophytes will feel transformed. It’s every Friday at 7:30 pm. Don’t let the three-hour duration scare you as it feels like it goes by in 20 minutes every time!

VR World

VR has not yet reached the stage where I would recommend people to own a device. The graphics pale in comparison to those on PS4, Xbox and PC and the latency still leads to motion sickness. However, it’s tons of fun to spend a few hours with dozens of top-of-the-line VR devices with exactly the right setup for each game or experience. Make sure you go with a few friends as it’s tons of fun to play together or against each other. 

Zero Space

Zero Space is an immersive, interactive, digital art playground. It feels psychedelic in nature and is really mind blowing. The show is a bit simplistic, but is definitely worth seeing as a harbinger of what is to come even though we are still decades away from having a proper Star Trek level holodeck. 

 Then She Fell

Sleep No More pioneered immersive theater, but if there was one criticism that could be levelled upon it is that your experience could vary greatly based on what you ended up doing and who you ended up following in the theater. Then She Fell addresses that issue by creating an immersive theater experience with only 15 audience members per show. As a result, you are always part of the action. 

The show takes place in a Williamsburg-based three story building meticulously made over to resemble a mental hospital featuring Lewis Carroll’s work and life and especially his relationship with Alice Liddell, the young girl who was his muse for Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It’s intimate, engaging and by far the most fun, compelling and interesting immersive theater experience I attended. 

Comedy Cellar

Comedy Cellar is an institution and the greatest comedy club in the world. There is always a fantastic line up with a mix of very well known and up and coming comics. Some of the superstars of the profession sometimes drop in unannounced. I’ve been there with Robin Williams, Chris Rock and countless others! 

 Museum Hack

If you ever thought museums were boring, this is the way to experience them. These are fast paced and hilarious despite being extraordinarily informative. It’s definitely the way to experience both The Met and The Museum of Natural History. 

Monday Night Magic

Monday Night Magic is a fun, inexpensive, kid friendly magic show. It features diverse performances by the best magicians who happen to be in New York that week creating ever fresh experiences. 

Hamilton

This is probably the best musical ever. I am highly biased as Alexander Hamilton is one of my role models and I was a huge fan of his biography by Ron Chernow that the musical is based on. However, this insane hip hop musical is a tour de force and the only musical that made me bawl my eyes out. You must see it!