Do you remember when GoPro rocked our world with its versatile, bombproof video cameras? Suddenly every skier and rider with a couple bucks to spare could hit the slopes and document impressive feats of powderdom. The incredibly portable cameras opened a new gateway for undiscovered riders to showcase their riding skills. But now YouTube is littered with videos of children doing the pizza on bunny slopes and out-of-control snowboarders landing faceplants in the park. Woo hoo...
So what's the solution to our sports video mediocrity epidemic? REMOTE CONTROL HELICOPTERS!! YES!
I mean, hell yes. There's a lot to get excited about when it comes to powder and mountains, but having access to A FLYING CAMERA is pretty dang neat.
Seriously, these machines are bad ass. With the introduction of products like the Phantom, the AR Drone, and XProHeli, extreme sports photography is entering new territory. Angles and perspectives that have until now been nearly impossible to capture on film are suddenly at the fingertips of the average film maker. The best part: you don't need a real helicopter.
In the summer of 2012 a Swiss expedition traveled to the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan with two drones and some seriously talented mountaineers. Upon reaching the summit of the 19,685 foot-high Trango Tower, a drone operator navigated his RC helicopter-mounted cameras to the top of the tower to capture never-before-seen footage of humans being gnarly.
Skiing and drones
Yeah, it gets cooler. Skiers are no longer restricted to handheld and helmet-mounted camera arrangements. Want to film your buddy mid pistol flip -- from above? Load up your drone with a GoPro and GO FOR IT. Filming from a birds-eye view has never been easier.
Follow me home?
The exciting thing is that we still haven't reached the apex of how awesome this new technology is. In the future, experts predict that autonomous flying robots will accompany their snowboarding partners down the mountain, enabling solo riders to capture aerial footage of themselves on the mountain. Machines like the Falkor Pet AR. Drone are already learning to follow their operators. At this rate, it won't be long before YouTube is flooded by stunning aerial shots of a family sliding down a green run on their Christmas vacation. Personally, I can't wait!