While the primary storyline of our new mountaintop museum is the mountain's
extraordinarily awful weather, one exhibit in particular requires video
footage captured on a good visibility day. The 6th of March was one of those
rare bluebird Mount Washington days. Bright sunshine, moderate temperatures
and little wind made for an ideal day to do some shooting for Extreme Mount
Documentarian Tom Guilmette of Franklin, Mass., whose work you will find
sprinkled throughout the newly-renovated museum, paid us another visit with
one mission to accomplish: capture video footage of a descent down the
mountain from the snow-cat operator's perspective. That footage is
absolutely critical, since it will be used to bring one of Extreme Mount
Washington's most innovative exhibits to life.
You might think that this would be an easy thing to do, especially since we
make several runs up and down the mountain in winter. The truth is that this
particular shoot has been very difficult to accomplish. Fog, flat light,
snow, white outs, schedule conflicts, too much snow, not enough snow, too
much wind... It was beginning to feel like Mount Washington and Mother
Nature were conspiring against us.
Using a high-tech mounting system and an even higher-tech camera, Tom sat
alongside operator Slim Bryant in the cockpit of the Observatory's
Bombardier BR275 snow machine and captured video for a good portion of the
day. Utilizing very specific instructions from museum designers at Jeff
Kennedy Associates and on-site guidance from Director of Education Michelle
Cruz, Tom staged a superb shoot
The footage will be used in Extreme Mount Washington's snow-cat exhibit,
where visitors will be able to sit in a simulated cockpit and pilot the
machine down the mountain. What you will see through the simulated snow-cat
windshield in the museum is exactly what Slim and Tom saw through the
windshield on Thursday.
Executive Director Scot Henley was on hand to provide a speaking role during
the shoot, but you'll never be able to tell. In order to give museum
visitors the feeling of bitter winter cold during the simulated snow-cat
descent, Michelle outfitted Scot in Arctic-grade gear, complete with
goggles, a balaclava, a hat and a massive jacket with a fur-lined hood. Not
a speck of skin was showing, which is our standard practice to avoid
frostbite on bitterly cold days. On this beautiful
we almost melted Scot!
Now the focus turns to the editing room, where the footage
will be stitched
together to provide summer visitors with a compelling, authentic winter
snow-cat experience. If you've ever wanted to drive one, you'll be able to
get a taste of what Slim and our operators experience when they're making
that same descent down the mountain.
Extreme Mount Washington opens this spring in Mt. Washington State Park's
Sherman Adams Visitors Center.
For more information about the project, including photos, illustrations and
plans, visit here