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.