December 4, 2013: Early snowfall in Boulder, CO. The crew is together, catching static from maintenance crews and CU Boulder campus security. We’re working out the kinks while we get back into the swing of things. It’s been a while since we last filmed in the streets. Our skiing, filming and prep work are pretty rusty.
December 8, 2013: It’s Chuck’s 21st birthday, and we’re sending it at the Walrus, a ratchet bar on Walnut Street. We’re squad deep. After getting cut off at the bar, we become aggressive. Guys grabbing guys. Sleeper holds. Handcuffs. We’re just about arrested, but after pleading with police officers, they let us go. That’s our cue. We’ve been partying in Boulder too long and need to get back on the road.
December 13, 2013: We depart for the East Coast. Some of us are in it for the long haul, taking the F-150 cross country, while the rest of the crew flies from Denver International to Logan airport.
December 20, 2013: Christmas lights denote the beginning of winter in New England. We’re filming at Billy Taylor Park in Providence, RI. Ziploc coke baggies are being sold at the corner store, and we ask ourselves, “Are we blending in or drawing attention?” We head back to Boston. Low on cash, we resort to lower rate hotels in the city such as the Buckminster and the Midtown. We branch out to different parts of downtown and the surrounding suburbs to work during the daytime, setting up features and helping each other get shots. At night, we hit the dive bars and pour out a few cold ones for the late Tom Warnick.
Early January 2014: We head up to New Hampshire to capitalize on some spots around Dover and UNH before dropping in on long-time friend and member of the crew, Joey Ciprari in Lowell, MA. We use his apartment as base camp for a while. Then the crew heads north for Canada. I hang back as I’m not allowed in the country due to a Class A misdemeanor charge I picked up when I was 18. Dom Laporte helps the gang to navigate through Québec. There have already been a handful of early winter storms there, and the snow is piling up. Chuck, Sean, Clayton and Cam are alternating roles at film spots in order to stack clips. Everybody is embracing the work hard, play hard mentality, and the hard drives are starting to fill up.
January 24, 2014: I buy a car off the side of the road in Maine and drive to Stoneham, MA, to meet up with the boys who’ve just made their way back from Canada. We check off a number of spots. We circle back to New Hampshire for a few days to revisit some classic Manchester zones that have been on the radar since the inception of urban skiing. There, we link up with friend and filmer Connor Scofield and get some more shots. The weather turns to shit, and the crew is happy to head elsewhere for a change of pace.
February 1, 2014: Our three-vehicle caravan heads to Syracuse, NY.
February 2, 2014: While filming on a football field during the Super Bowl, we realize where our priorities lie. We make fun of ourselves for this.
February 4, 2014: We ditch the Motel 6 in Syracuse and head for Cam’s dad’s apartment in Chicago. He somehow finds places for all 12 of us to sleep. The city is blanketed by snow.
February 5, 2014: Noah Albaladejo flies in from Spain. With almost the entire crew present, we split into separate units and go to work, using the lakefront as our backdrop. Nick and Alex find a way to get up into the air for shots. Nick hangs out of the helicopter. It’s 15 degrees below zero. Cam and Clayton are balancing skiing and filming as usual. These two have filmed the majority of my shots over the years, and I have come to appreciate this. Performing at a feature is hard enough. When you’ve been on the move nonstop, having to worry about what angles to choose, what camera settings to adjust, and how to film the shot while simultaneously thinking about the skiing makes it very difficult to maintain a positive outlook.
Everyone else on the team is making sure to do their part, as well. Jameson Walter, our newly-hired filmer, is getting an angle at each spot. Photographer Topher Baldwin is snapping photos. The rest of us—Charlie, Sean, Noah and me—are currently on as “the help,” which means running the winch, pulling bungee, doin’ dirt and crushing push-ups.
February 8, 2014: Clayton is getting absolutely worked as he deals with unfavorable weather. Winching into a rail at high speed, he flies through the air and then catches an edge on the soft metal, sending him headfirst into the ground at the bottom of the stairs. His shoulder is separated.
February 9, 2014: The crew is starting to slow down. We’re getting burnt out from the filmmaking process, and we attempt to stay sane by getting drunk. We’re partying in the city, and I rip my shirt in half at the club. I look like an intoxicated skinhead, but I don’t give a fuck. My BAC is high, and I have no control over my actions. The rest of the boys are in a similar state. Cam is the only responsible one and wakes everyone up in the morning, motivating the crew to remain ambitious.
February 15, 2014: At an abandoned post office, we get ambushed by some douchebag with a truck and a cell phone. We flee the scene. He follows, matching our speed as well as every turn. Trying not to panic, we turn off onto a side street and lose our bogie. Breathing erratically, we reroute all the way back to Deerfield, IL, where we’re greeted with weed and mental security.
February 27, 2014: We shoot in Milwaukee, WI for a day and then drive to the Best Western in Duluth, MN.
February 28, 2014: The crew starts up with the continental breakfast before splitting into separate groups, each with its own mode of transportation. About five minutes after leaving the hotel, Jameson, Noah and Chuck get T-boned by a taxi van, forcing both vehicles into an active construction site. The four-way intersection becomes a mess. The truck they were driving is totaled. Thankfully, nobody is hurt. Cam sends Jameson to the police station to “deal” while everyone else prepares to shoot a new feature. Welcome to the crew, bud.