It used to be safe to assume that the aerial footage of pros charging lines on remote peaks came from crews in helicopters paying the big bucks to burn jet fuel for the perfect shot, but the game's changed. Drones are the new hotness, and helicopters are the minivans of the air, shuttling pros from base to peak like a cross-town soccer tournament. (OK, that last part might be a slight exaggeration.) What is for sure is that developments in the drone industry are putting the devices in more and more hands. And that means more sick aerial footage for us.
Where in the past a mixture of cost and learning curve meant drones were reserved for professionals or athletes with the sponsors to splurge, the price points are falling and the newest generation of drones fly themselves. In perhaps the most obvious indication that the democratization of drones is inevitable, GoPro, which already revolutionized action sports filming once, is releasing its own line of consumer drones.
If you're already amped to get your own drone and start filming, a word of warning: Be careful where you fly it. Drones are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. For the most part, hobbyists are in the clear on private land and away from airports. A lot of ski areas are on public land, however, and that comes with another set of considerations. State parks might have their own guidelines. Wilderness areas are a no-go (a drone is a machine after all). Forest Service land may or may not be OK. It's best to read up ahead of time.
Here are five of the best ski videos shot with drones this year:
1. Sugar Mountain
Unlike the others on this list, the video below is just the trailer for a full-fleged ski film, which is definitely watching. There's something extra special about watching someone throw down on remote spines when they're still wearing a climbing harness full of gear.
2. Winter 2014 by Drone
All that's needed is a kicker and a drone.
3. Low Earth Orbit #05: Skiing Teton Pass
This is probably the chillest video on the list. Everything is peaceful when you're riding clouds of pow on Teton Pass.
4. Ski Freeride 2014-2015
Great freeride session and really good use of the drone.
5. The Other Hours
This isn't strictly a ski video, but it just really resonates with us right now as we sit in front of a screen to bring you this dispatch.
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