INTERVIEW: Island Lake Lodge / Mike McPhee

Balance of Powder in the Catskiing Universe

We caught up with Mike McPhee from Island Lake Lodge with 7 questions to share some backstory on the Promo Video called “Balance of Powder” (see the teaser at bottom of article)

Mike McPhee is an respected photographer / marketer and still a stoked snowboarder living the dream. Quiet but well spoken, he doesn’t need any encouragement to get talking about powder and Catskiing… Someone to keep an eye on the future of Catskiing..  His photo blog is:

Mike McPhee / Catskiing Canada Interview
Mike McPhee on set shooting "Balance of Powder"

1) Tell me a little about your new upcoming movie.Balance of Powder..  For the last few years we have been putting together a TV show for syndication in the USA and DVD handouts.  We usually use all the B-Roll we get from the various companies that film with us.  This year we wanted to take it up a couple notches and create something that looks different and also speaks to our demographic, whom tend to be older affluent skiers.

2) What was the origin of the concept behind the idea of the movie? I was reading some demographic / psychological info about our client types and it talked about how they need to get out of the city on a couple ski trips a year, how they dream about standing on remote peaks, like to be unique and ski unique terrain features and are driven to find these special exclusive places.  So I thought it would be cool to contrast our demographics city existence with our pure mountain experience.

Catskiing Canada Interview with Mike Mcphee
On set of "Balance of Powder" Photo: Mike McPhee

3) Who are the people involved in the movie? Darryn Shewchuck from Mica and me from Island Lake, Malcolm Sangster, Eric Crosland and Dave Mossop from Sherpas Cinema and skiers like Callum Pettit, Eric Hjorliefson, Kye Petersen, Ian McIntosh, James Heim, JP Auclair and Lynsey Dyer.

Photo: Mike McPhee

4) What are you hoping the movie conveys? I am hoping that it conveys the magical internal craving that makes us go to the mountains and the aesthetics of the experiences we offer.

Filming 'Balance of Powder" with Sherpas / Photo: Mike McPhee

5) What was unexpected during filming/ editing of the movie?  We almost had too much snow when filming at Island Lake Catskiing!  The Sherpas came 3 times and it was always snowing, so we ended up filming in the trees every time.  Unfortunate, we did not get to film the amazing alpine bowls, ridges and chutes that Island Lake has to offer.  We also got shut down for a few days at Mica for weather and because there was an expensive ciniflex camera involved – things got a bit stressful.   

Dumping on Set of "Balance of Powder" /Photo: Mike Mcphee

6) How was the movie shot? (original angels/technology/terrain)   Well we hired the Sherpas, as they are the most unique and creative filmers in the snow industry right now.  They spent several days setting up a huge wire cam in the trees and got one of the best group ski shots I have ever scene.  They also used a Diablo high-speed camera for a few shots.  Then they brought up a Ciniflex camera to Mica and shot some of the coolest looking ski footage and scenic’s we could have hoped for.  Basically it took more time, logistics and patience to set up the unique shots, but was well worth the effort in the end.

Photo: Mike McPhee

7) Where do you see Catskiing filming / Self marketing going in the future?  With so much ski and snowboard footage, movies and TV shows out there, you really have to be unique to stand out from the pack.  Self marketing takes some vision and patience, but seems to be the way to hold true to your brand and get the right message out. 


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