Behind-the-Scenes: The Making of "I Am A Snowmaker"

by Gabrielle Martin

Ski Area Management, or SAM, kicked off their seventh annual “I AM A Snowmaker” contest this season.

The “I AM A Snowmaker” contest, presented by HKD Snowmakers, was created in 2014 to highlight the camaraderie, determination, and hard work of snowmakers; in doing so, this project recognizes how critical snowmakers are to the success of the mountain resort industry.

Since its debut, “I AM” has evolved into a compelling and popular platform for resorts to acknowledge the expertise, grit, and passion of their snowmaking teams—and this year’s contestants will be no exception, as the theme this season revolves around the elements of our industry that captivate us all: nature, people, and purpose.

Resorts across North America were invited to share how their snowmaking crew combines art and science with passion and purpose to deliver an unforgettable experience for skiers and riders, and seven nominees were selected to produce a video that captures the essence of this year’s “I AM” theme—they are Boler Mountain (Ontario), Camelback (PA), Crystal Mountain (MI), Mountain High (CA), Sugarbush, (VT), Vail Mountain (CO), and our very own Sugarloaf (ME).

SAM announces Sugarloaf's involvement in "I AM" 2021  
This will be the second time Sugarloaf's snowmaking department has submitted a video to the “I AM” contest. “The first time was many years ago, featuring a different crew and a different dynamic,” says Mountain Ops Administrative Assistant Nicole Pineau, who spearheaded the “I AM” project at Sugarloaf. “We are so excited to submit a video using footage from this season featuring the work of our current crew!”

The videos will be voted on by industry peers and fans of snowmaking, and the winner will walk away with the “I AM A Snowmaker” title, plus a sweet prize. Voting is open now through January 21, at which time the video with the most votes will be selected; you can vote as often as once a day.

“This is one way you can truly thank a snowmaker this season,” Nicole says, adding: “Please share this with all of your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers who love Sugarloaf!” 

Sugarloaf's "I AM" submission will focus on what makes our mountain crew unique–a combination of their butt sledding practices, our crew's high rate of female snowmakers on crew, and the wicked extreme weather and atmospheric conditions they work in. All of this, in addition to the camaraderie and spirit of our crew, was what inspired Nicole to put her team's name in the running.  



Here’s a one-of-a-kind, behind-the-scenes look into the making of Sugarloaf's “I Am A Snowmaker” submission.

The process for collecting footage was twofold, Nicole says: “SAM emphasized the grassroots effort in the video description; therefore, the snowmakers were asked to collect as much on-hill footage as they could in a couple short weeks. Many of them carry GoPros, so the collection was uncomplicated. The snowmakers had a lot of fun with the process on hill! They collected so many epic shots, we’ll need to make another video later.”

Sugarloaf snowmakers

We also had Taylor Walker, a local videographer, capture some interview footage on hill with the snowmakers as they were conducting their routine gun-runs. “Walker went on hill with both day crew and night crew for a gun run. He even brought he skis, so he could capture footage of our snowmakers ripping their butt-sleds down trail! The interview shots are unconventional and impressive,” Nicole describes. “Thank you Walker!” 

Second-year snowmaker Jackie Lastinger said, “It was really fun having someone who is not a snowmaker see first-hand what we do on the mountain, and to endure those conditions with us! Experiencing the slopes with skis on your feet is one thing, but by foot carrying tools and actually working is a whole different experience.”

Third season snowmaker Will Larcom says, “I hope people like the video we made. This video gives a behind-the-scenes glance at the hardest working people at Sugarloaf. Most importantly, it'll show how much fun we have making snow, and how much our snowmakers care for each other, and the mountain. We're all really proud of it, we hope you are too.”

“The video is full of information and excitement,” Nicole summarizes. “We want the community to see the joy and grit in snowmaking; we also want to show how Sugarloaf’s department is redefining what being a snowmaker means–it’s not just a boys’ club! We hope to entice future snowmakers through this video as well: this job takes place on a playground, essentially. And ultimately, this video celebrates the snowmaking crew. Celebrate with us!”