Snow. Sand. Mud. Water.
By mid March, when we were slated to shoot, the snow in Mammoth was quickly melting away, and the only area to find reliable snowpack was on the ski mountain. Fortunately we have amazing production support on Mammoth Mountain and all the tricks to make it happen. The night before each shot, snowcats would plow our “roads”, leaving behind hard packed snow, iced over driving surfaces, and perfectly crafted berms to give the appearance of a road where there was not one before.
At 4:30am, we loaded the picture cars onto a snow-cat trailer, all the equipment into a “nest” snowcat (open aired cage for hauling gear), and hopped on the snowmobile taxis to get to location. By 9am the temperatures were so warm, the cars were sinking in the snow, and every movement of the tires, required 6 men, 8 pieces of plywood, and incremental turning to avoid getting stuck, yet again.
As we were approaching our last shot – FIVE real cars, on the mountain, placed in perfect position for sunset at Minaret Vista - We were ready. One snowcat trailer, averaging 6mph, needing to be followed by a grooming cat to ensure the snowpack is not disrupted for the skiers (because we are shooting on an active open ski resort). It was about 45 min round trip for one car to make it up.
Did I mention we love puzzles??? It took 5 hours to get the cars up, 2 hours to position them, and 3 hours to take them down.
HUGE thanks to Mammoth Mountain for their support and Steve Morrison for making magical winter locations where it was clearly 60 degrees Fahrenheit, sunny, and looking like spring.