Unity UK Road Trip

18Nov10

The UK is not well known for its ski scene, in England the average snow fall last year was around 11 inches, that being the heaviest snowfall in 18 years, which disappeared within a couple of days. Along with our boringly flat landscape, skiing becomes a hard sport to get involved in. So how is it that we create such great skiers? I mean our highest point in England is less than 1000 meters. Scotland has a few resorts in the north, but with a bit of creativity, us Brits will go to any lengths to ski. If you’re willing to risk some carpet burns then we have a range of dry slopes, made up of snow flex and dendix. If skiing on dendix isn’t your thing then we have a variety of snow domes throughout the isles. With this advantage we are able to ski 12 months a year, along with some of Europe’s best resorts just across the channel, the British ski scene is one of the most dedicated around.

Unity is a UK based production crew, they have been up and running for about two years now, with their last film ‘ello, Unity productions have became a big name in European film industry. During the winter time the crew spend a lot of time travelling Europe filming for edits and their up and coming film, the Daily Grind. However during the summer the guys have a tour around the UK, hitting the dry slopes and indoor snow domes, I was lucky enough to be able to tag along with the guys for the tour.

On the first day I got picked up at Doncaster station, by Rob Embling (Rasta) and James Woods (Woodsy), after we packed the car we hit the road, for a long drive from Doncaster to Glasgow. We arrived at Glasgow around 4; we met Cami and Jack then went straight to the indoor snow dome, Breahead, to find out what they had lined up for us. We met with some of the guys from the snow dome, they informed us that they were searching for a hand rail for us to hit, we had two options a short down rail, or a down flat down, we decided to hit the down flat down rail. We had a few hours to kill until we could get it all setup, so we had a ski in the park to warm up the legs. It had gone 11 by the time someone came and found us to get it all setup, by then Joe Tomlinson (Tomo) and Josh Fawoett (Fawcett) had arrived. With the help from some of the guys from the snow dome we shovelled enough snow onto the back of a truck, and chucked a drop in on top, once we had everything sorted we set off. Driving around Glasgow we spotted so many hand rails we would be able to hit. By the time we got to the spot and unpacked lights and what not, the police had arrived, and to our surprise they we’re pretty stoked on what we were doing, asked us to tidy up after ourselves and they were off. Shortly afterwards we had another police car pull up, it appeared that we had been broadcast across the radio and every police car wanted to see what we were doing, with some additional questions such as “are you carrying any guns?” , “have you seen any guns around?” and “ if you see any guns give us a ring”. Worrying…Very worrying..!As well as police we attracted some spectators, on a midnight stroll or coming home from the pub.

Once we had set the drop in and the jump, it became clear that speed was an issue, the drop in was not great, a bit on the small side, and the rail as not as steep as the original photos suggested. Some of the riders struggled with it a first, until finally getting it, throwing lip slides and 2’s on. We was shooting on this rail from mid-night till about 3, when Tomo realised his shoe were missing, what made this even worst is that his car keys and Woodsy’s wallet was in the shoes, fortunately Tomo had left the trunk unlocked so we able to climb through the back and unlock the doors. After reporting it to the police, we decided our only option was to sleep in the cars.

We woke up four hours later in a very packed out car with a large amount of condensation, not a good feeling. Tomo had rang his dad, who was coming up with the spare key at 5 o’clock which gave us a large amount of time to kill. Little did we know that the rail we had been hitting the night before was right next to a church, which happened to have a wedding on. Not only did the grounds keeper wake us up, but he could not grasp the fact that we could not move the car, unable to move the car we sat in the car park while a large congregation of Scots dressed in kilts gathered around us. In all we spent seventeen hours in the car park, activities we found that passed the time was, going to the shop multiple times, climbing trees, draining your laptop battery watching movies, reading magazine from cover to cover and then back again and if your Tomo, sleeping for the majority of seventeen hours.

By 5 o’clock Tomo’s dad had brought the spare key up and we were ready to go skiing, seeing we had been kept up in a car for seventeen hours we were all stoked to throw our ski stuff on and stretch our legs. We drove to Bearsden, an outdoors snow flex slope with a great kicker. We quickly got some food in the club before going skiing. By the time we got our gear on, the clouds had came over and it started to rain making the slope very fast, which help Woody, Tomo and Fawcett send it hard. Everyone was throwing down hard, Fawcett was throwing a great rodeo 7 with mute, Woodsy was throwing 9’s and left side 7’s, and Tomo was throwing one of the most steezest cork 5’s I’ve seen. We finish around 10ish and went to find somewhere to stay; sleeping in the car did not seem too appealing. After going to all the local travel lodges and bed and breakfasts we got the feeling that it might be another night in the car. After a group discussion we all came to the conclusion that we were going to drive to Rossendale to stay at Tomo’s.

After a few night spent on Tomo’s floor we decided to leave and head to Fawcett’s. Tomo had to leave us for the time being, but would be back with us the in a couple of days. On the way to Fawcett’s we got held up by traffic, we finally arrived around 5 o’clock. While Rasta was on the phone trying to sort out what was happening at Tamworth, we had some time to relax, with the great hospitality from Fawcetts family. Rob explain to use that there was a Westbeach team shoot that night, but after a discussion we made up our minds to go and film anyway. We had a plan to hit two features at Tamworth, a wall ride and a down flat down rail outside the snow dome, by the time we got there, Jamie Lawson (Scrilla) was waiting for us, and was pretty stoked on what we had lined up. We had to wait a while for the slope to close again, so we could build the wall ride.

After the slope had been closed, we started to build the wall ride at the top of the centre. With a little help from the snow tractor we shovelled some snow, along with a pre-built jump we had a pretty solid setup, a few tweaks and we were ready to start filming. A lot of different tricks and variations where put down and we got a lot of good footage from this feature. After an hour or so of hitting this wall ride, we moved on to the down flat down outside the snow dome. Again with a lot of help from the guys from Tamworth snow dome, we were able to shovel the snow outside, to build a jump and a landing. Tamworth supplied us with a drop in, after some time shovelling the jump; we were ready to session the rail. Woodsy had the first hit, what set the standard. After a few more hits, it became clear that speed was defiantly an issue; the riders had to pump hard on the drop in to get enough speed to get onto the rail, which had a long flat, which made it very hard for some of the riders. We still had a great time hitting this rail, with some very nice lip slides on. It was coming up to 3 in the morning when we started to wind down, when Woodsy took a nasty fall, which ended in and expected fractured wrist. We soon packed up and started the drive back to Fawcett’s, after a few wrong turns we arrived just as the sun was rising.

For the next few days we spent our time travelling around England hitting some features at the snow domes and dry slopes. Rossendale was the next stop; we arranged to hit a hand rail by the slope. To be able to hit the rail, we had to drag the dendix mats over for a run in and landing the run in was pretty mellow, and the jump we had to work with was quit small. The rail was a mellow rail, that did not help with speed, the first part of the rail was nearly flat, to a down which then went on to a mellower down, so we all felt that speed was going to be a problem for this feature. After a few test run ins, the guys were ready to start. Woodsy dropped in first, barley making it onto the rail; he fell straight onto his wrist. After a discussion we decided that there were too many factors going against us so we scraped the rail and instead hit the quarter pipe.

The morning after we woke up later than planned, we grabbed our gear and headed to Castleford where we had planned to film a down rail. After a few test hits we had to change the jump to how we wanted it, after shovelling the snow out we were ready. The guys killed it with a load of lip slides, 270’s, 450’s, and a load of switch up variations. We were shooting for about four hours, whenwe called it a day, feeling tired from all the late nights filming. Hemel was our next stop; unfortunately Scrilla had to leave us for earlier engagements.

  We pack the car once again and hit the road for another long journey. By the time we reached Hemel the park was nearly ready, we had enough time to sit down and have something to eat before we started filming. Hemel had a nice set up but the one feature we were stoked on was the flat to down, we could see that this was where the tricks were going to be thrown. The night started off with a little test of the park after a while we knew it was going to be good. We started filming at 7 with woodsy setting it off with a huge disease 270, which set the mood. The rest of the night was filled with diseases, nollies and pretzels. This was a fun filled night with some great footage as the outcome.

T

he last leg of the UK tour was spent at the Farmers Jam, this was my first time at the Farmers Jam and I did not know what to expect. The Farmers Jam is a two day festival, held at Norwich dry slope. The event has two disciplines, slopestyle and big air. The qualification was a jam session with which went on to a 10 man final. Rob was asked to judge the event while woodsy was commentating. There was a high level of skiing from all levels which made it hard to pick a top 3. The riding was intense with a whole load of different tricks and styles, what was a great show of the up and coming talent from the UK.

Now back in London I’m able to reflect on the trip, I was able to experience some of the best UK skiing first hand. I had a blast with the guys at Unity, there were some down points where things just weren’t going right for us, but we sucked it up and got on with it. The UK has a lot to offer in terms of skiing, with our athletes standing up against the biggest of them, with support for the snow domes and dry slopes the next generation of British freeskiers are skiing at such a high level, its crazy to think what the next 5 years are going to bring. Be sure to check out unity productions new film The Daily Grind, at http://www.unity-productions.co.uk/movie.html

Advertisements


No Responses Yet to “Unity UK Road Trip”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: