After a decade of personally narrating each showing of my feature length ski films, it got to be as though my trip from city to city was almost as predictable as if it was chiseled in granite.
One day in Montreal I heard that there was snow at Mount Tremblant and that the Canadian Alliance of ski instructors would be there for a few days skiing with Ernie McCullough, the ski school director and great ski racer.
I had Friday night off, so I quickly called Ernie, and he said, “Sure, come on up and we will all ski for you and your camera.”
I quickly rented a 16mm camera and bought a dozen rolls of Kodachrome. I rented a car so I could drive to Mount Tremblant after my show on Thursday night.
My ski costume was right out of central casting in Hollywood. I put on both of my nylon wash and wear shirts for upper body warmth and my tweed suit covered the rest of me. Two pair of sweat socks for mittens and rented skis with very dull edges and soft leather lace-up rental boots completed my attire.
The filming went very well when you consider how icy it was. I did manage to get one shot of 32 ski instructors, side by side, with locked elbows and skis inches apart making coordinated turns.
I had a show scheduled that night in Rutland, Vt., which is near Pico Peak, where Andrea Mead Lawrence, winner of two Olympic gold medals, was born and learned to ski on a T-bar her mother owned.
The complexities of my travel problems were all part of the challenge of the job. This was before I put my voice and music on the film sound track and sent it to venues without me.
The Rutland, Vt., show was a sellout and the next morning I left my motel to drive my drive my rental car to the next show that was 273 miles away. On the way I had to find a Railway Express office to ship the 16mm camera back to the store in Montreal where I had rented it. I had to wrap the Kodachrome up and ship it to the lab in Rochester with instructions to return it to my office in Hermosa Beach. I don’t think I ever got to see anything I had filmed within a week or two of when I shot it. You just had to have confidence in your ability with a camera. There was no “take two” and no way to go back and reshoot anything anywhere.
In summary: In three days I had personally narrated a film in Montreal and Rutland, skied and filmed two of those days, somehow found my way to each location, and managed to sleep at least five hours each night.
I always considered opportunities such as these, the icing on the cake.
The only bad part of the business was how difficult it was to get my laundry done. I would seldom get to my next show town before noon and would wash my clothes by hand. Then I would turn the heater way up to dry them and the room would get too hot to get a nap in the afternoon.
Everything in life is a trade off and experience is the only way to learn how to make good trades. Those three days of tradeoffs worked for me and my growing, one showing at a time, film company.
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