Put away your selfie sticks, commercial drones are coming to a handful of mountain resorts around the United States! The Federal Aviation Administration gave their approval on January 20th for drones to fly hundreds of feet closer to people, providing ideal footage of active skiers and snowboarders at ski resorts.
Cape Productions began recording skiers at the Fernie Alpine Resort in British Columbia in December of 2014 with a foundation in safety first technology. The footage produced features two or three runs with angles from all sides. These packages run anywhere from $50 to $150 depending on the resort.
“We’re basically the first consumer drone video service to do what it does legally,” said President and Co-Founder of Cape Productions, Louis Gresham.
The company started testing their operations at Squaw Valley Resort and Homewood Mountain Resort in California and have been successfully operating the technology. Throughout the year we will see Cape Productions expanding to other states and mountains, including yet not limited to Winter Park, Powder Mountain Resort, Timberline Lodge and Ski Area and Mount Hood Meadows Resort, Mountain Creek Resort and Schweitzer Mountain Resort.
“Ski resorts are concerned about drones flying into trees, into people, into chairlifts and power lines,” Gresham said, “and the fact that our approach uses safe flight path technology is what has enabled us to get partnerships with the resorts.”
Will commercial drones come to Summit County? Local resorts have not released any information regarding future drone appearances on the mountain. Currently, Vail Resorts’ policy states that “for safety reasons, recreational drone use by any guest or member of the public, for any reason, is not permitted on or over any of our property. Likewise, commercial use is also prohibited on Vail Resorts’ property, except in limited circumstances.”
As more research becomes available about the benefits or dangers of drone usage, there is a good chance that Vail Resorts will change their policy. To read more about the commercial drone experience, visit the Fast Company link below for a detailed review of the process, http://www.fastcompany.com/3055609/you-cant-use-a-drone-to-film-yourself-skiing-but-these-ex-googlers-will-do-it-for-you.