Michelle Parker recaps “Dome City” trip with Matchstick Productions
Three weeks ago, an MSP crew including Mark Abma, James Heim and myself packed up and rallied out to Dome City—a fictional place, but a name we coined to describe our whereabouts in the Pemberton, BC backcountry. We flew in a massive geodesic dome which Abma had purchased and retrofitted for the trip, along with a couple of dome-shaped tents made by Mountain Hardwear. And with our lodgings erected, athletes and cinematographers continued to set up camp, fetching water from Tenquille Lake and chopping wood in our spare time.
Being out there in the backcountry with zero cell service nor internet connection was a desired aspect of our trip. Disconnecting from our daily lives and simplifying our existence created an atmosphere of being wholly present. Fortunately for us, the clouds parted ways to sunny days with fresh, inviting snow abound. It was on. It was on for a week straight.
Turns out, a week straight at Dome City was exhausting. Up at 6:30 a.m. and back at 7 p.m. I could hardly hold a conversation over the dinner table, let alone fetch water at the end of the lake. Even though we were tired and sore, it was hard to sit still. The mountains are the best playground; being among them, and with such easy access to the top of an all time no-boarding lap, it was far too tempting to resist.
After seven days of filming with little to no rest, we were spent. The temps were rising and the snow was getting heavily saturated by the warmth of the sun. We searched the north-facing slopes for better conditions to no avail, and decided our trip was coming to an end. The mountains are in need of a reset, and it was time to leave Dome City and head back to Pemberton.
Filming is like that. It’s weather dependent, snow dependent, and can be on and off in a matter of seconds. One minute you are standing on top of your line, focused, nervous, and fired up—getting ready to drop in—and the next, you’re unbuckling your boots and sitting on your skis waiting for the clouds to pass through. It’s exciting. It keeps you on your toes. When all the pieces of the puzzle come together, it’s the best feeling in the world.