A Photo Epic from "Where The Trail Ends" filming

Sep 13, 2012
by Justin Olsen  
 
You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
I hate November. In my opinion, it is the worst month of the year. In Utah, it is generally too wet, cold and snowy to ride bikes, but there isn't quite enough snow to ski, snowboard, or rip on a sled. Add to that the fact that it gets dark super early, and by the time most of my riding buddies get out of work the sun has long since set. Motivation is at an all time low. So there I am sitting around my house in November, working my way through a summers worth of bike photos, trying to make winter shooting plans, and getting distracted by the latest bike stuff on the web. Then my phone rings. It's Darren Berrecloth. He is sitting in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere Utah waiting for good weather. It turns out he has spent the last 2 weeks scouting and building lines for "Where the Trail Ends" and is wondering if I want to come down and shoot some photos. There is a window of good weather rolling in. It took me about 2 seconds to decide. The next morning I am headed south...

I was lucky enough to get out with Freeride Entertainment a few times while they were shooting in Utah. Once on a scouting/shooting mission, and a few more times in full-on film production mode. It was my first time being involved with a full feature MTB movie, and I was totally blown away by a lot of the stuff that went into making a production like this happen. Some days there were 20 guys out on location and some days only 2. Some of the biggest stuff that I witnessed went down with only a few people around to actually see it. It is pretty surreal to be in the middle of nowhere and be watching this level of riding go down with only 2-3 other guys around to see it. I watched Claw ride one of the gnarliest lines I had ever seen, at the end of which a few high fives were thrown, shots reviewed, and that was it. On to the next shot like it was no big deal. I saw Zink and Sorge attempt to front flip a classically imperfect big mountain jump on full 8 inch bikes, with no one around to witness it other than a couple filmers and myself. No fans, no friends, no mechanics, no industry insiders, just a couple other riders and a camera crew.

These riders and filmmakers work harder than most people will ever know to make this stuff happen. Pushing your bike and carrying water and tools for miles through the desert, and up thousands of feet of vertical for a 2 second shot is hard work. Hauling a 50 foot camera jib by hand up a mountain, with stands, counterweights, and cables is hard work. Batteries die, equipment breaks, weather changes, trucks get stuck, wind blows, heat waves come through, water runs out, but the film rolls on...

Here is a little glimpse of what I saw when I was on location with Freeride Entertainment in Utah. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

This was the first run on the first line of the day first thing in the morning. All the shots and angles worked so we quickly moved on to the next line. Nothing like bagging a shot in one take. This how the Claw operates.
  Look very closely at this... Can you see him? This was the first run, on the first line of the day, first thing in the morning. All the shots and angles worked, so we quickly moved on to the next line. Nothing like bagging a shot in one take. This how the Claw operates.

The tools of the trade.
  The tools of the trade.

Building a lip in the middle of the Utah desert is no easy task. Once you break through the hard top layer of dirt you get nothing but powdery dust or crumbly gravel like clay. It takes a lot of time a lot of water and a lot of dedication to get anything done out here.
  Building a lip in the middle of the Utah desert is no easy task. Once you break through the hard top layer of dirt, you get nothing but powdery dust, or crumbly gravel like clay. It takes a lot of time, a lot of water, and a lot of dedication to get anything done out here.

Bearclaw testing out the fruits of his labors. Looks like a pretty rad trick jump right What you can t see in this picture is the landing which was a super loose super steep 80 foot scree slope that most people would have a hard time just riding let alone tricking into.
  Bearclaw testing out the fruits of his labors. Looks like a pretty rad trick jump right? What you can't see in this picture is the landing, which was a super loose, super steep, 80 foot scree slope that most people would have a hard time just riding, let alone tricking into.

The stage is set the cameras are ready just waiting on the light...
  The stage is set, the cameras are ready, just waiting on the light...

Freeride Entertainment filmer Cory Horton taking advantage of the last few minutes of golden desert light.
  Freeride Entertainment filmer Cory Horton taking advantage of the last few minutes of golden desert light.

When scouting lines from a distance it is hard to tell what type of dirt you are dealing with. Sometimes something can look really good but turns out to be to firm or to loose to ride well. This can be especially frustrating when you are hiking 1000 ft to get to the top of your line. Bourdo is the type of guy that isn t bothered by these kinds of details. He just rides it all and lets the filmmakers sort out what is usable .
  When scouting lines from a distance, it is hard to tell what type of dirt you are dealing with. Sometimes something can look really good, but turns out to be too firm, or too loose to ride well. This can be especially frustrating when you are hiking 1000+ ft to get to the top of your line. Bourdo is the type of guy that isn't bothered by these kinds of details. He just rides it all and lets the filmmakers sort out what is "usable".

It isn t always helicopters following helicopters... Kyle Strait spent what seemed like 2 hours pushing his bike to the top of this remote Utah line.
  It isn't always helicopters following helicopters... Kyle Strait spent what seemed like 2 hours pushing his bike to the top of this remote Utah line.

Tyler McCaul and Kyle Strait spent days building this line complete with a snowboard style perfectly groomed run in. When it was finally time to ride it they didn t waste any time.
  Tyler McCaul and Kyle Strait spent days building this line, complete with a snowboard style perfectly groomed run in. When it was finally time to ride it, they didn't waste any time.

Reviewing the shot and... nailed it
  Reviewing the shot and... nailed it!

Freeride filmer Axel Fostvedt is an MTB filmaking icon. I would bet that he has shot more of the most memorable footage in mountain biking than anyone else in the game... way more actually.
  Axel Fostvedt is a MTB film making icon. I would bet that he has shot more of the most memorable footage in mountain biking than anyone else in the game... way more actually.

At some point in the process the riders always have to give the filmers some sort of interview for audio clips. In my experience most riders dread this part of the job. Paul Basagotia handles it with style.
  At some point in the process, the riders always have to give the filmers some sort of interview for audio clips. In my experience, most riders dread this part of the job. Paul Basagoitia handles it with style.

Minutes after bagging the interview clips Paul Bass bags a tailwhip on this step up to rock ride to gap drop... The eye in the sky captures it all.
  Minutes after bagging the interview clips, Paul Bass bags a tailwhip on this step up to rock ride to gap drop... The eye in the sky captures it all.

Once the initial building is done there is a lot of set up time getting all the cameras ready. Especially when dollies and big crane jibs are involved. Kurt Sorge and Bravo spend some quality time together while watching the set-up circus come to town.
  Once the initial building is done, there is a lot of set up time getting all the cameras ready. Especially when dollies and big crane jibs are involved. Kurt Sorge and Bravo spend some quality time together while watching the set-up circus come to town.



Sorge warms up, and casually snaps a few tables on this feature while the jib operators dial in their camera movements.



Big Trucks, Moto's, Mountain Bikes, ATV's and some pork tenderloin on the tailgate BBQ. Freeride knows how to operate with style in the middle of nowhere.

Bearclaw found and rode this line a few times on one of his many scouting missions. We snapped a few photos on it while he was feeling it out for some other filming possibilities...
  Bearclaw found and rode this line a few times on one of his many scouting missions. We snapped a few photos on it while he was feeling it out for some other filming possibilities...

If you let Cam Zink and Kurt Sorge loose together in the desert then add a film crew to the equation big things are definitely going to happen.
  If you let Cam Zink and Kurt Sorge loose together in the desert, then add a film crew to the equation, big things are definitely going to happen.

Cam Zink saved this front flip shot for last. This had been weighing heavily on both he and Sorge s mind throughout the trip. I stood and watched in awe as they both rolled in and mentally prepared for this. They both threw down and attempted it but neither rode away.. Zink was really close he landed the flip but just slightly under rotated it and got bucked. Landed or not the point is this is where the sport is going..
  Cam Zink saved this front flip shot for last. This had been weighing heavily on both he and Sorge's mind throughout the trip. I stood and watched in awe as they both rolled in and mentally prepared for this. They both threw down and attempted it, but neither rode away.. Zink was really close, he landed the flip but just slightly under rotated it and got bucked. Landed or not, the point is this is where the sport is going.

Can t go wrong with the sunset silhouette shot
  The Claw closes it out. Can't go wrong with the sunset silhouette shot!
Must Read This Week
Video: Biketherapy
31051 views

22 Comments

  • + 9
 Photo Epic is right! I can't wait to go back and spend a week or more riding and shooting there, the landscape is unreal. That coal can be a royal pain though, so many sick lines end up being knee-deep and unrideable if you don't have water.
  • + 1
 Haha, a week would be incredible. There's just too much down there to do in one weekend.

Also, Axel, your cousin is a pretty swell skier although he's a bit apprehensive about going to Green River. That may take a little family persuasion Wink
  • + 1
 The only time I rode there was when we were just passing through on a drive from Denver to San Diego, stopped for an hour on the way to SD and then about 2hrs on the way back to Denver a couple days later... Even in just 3hrs I got to ride the most epic lines I could dream of! (Though this was Coal Cliffs, not Green River)
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Hey Justin awesome write up and amazing pix. Thanks for comeing to our backyard playground. My little brother and I ran into you guys out there during Thanksgiving weekend. That line Darren did that day was amazing. Good job buddy.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Amazing. A meteorite hit this place ?
[Reply]
  • + 4
 So stoked for this movie, and so grateful for all the free material!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Last picture looks to be a gopro on his helmet, I thought this was a countour sponsored film?
  • + 1
 It is, but the guys still rock the equipment of their sponsors. Note how all the NWD films are sponsored by Kona and Zokie. This film is sponsored by Trek, Shimano, and a few others; we didn't see any Treks in this bit either.

Just because a brand isn't a sponsor doesn't mean it can't be in the film...bike films would just be giant advertisements if that was the case.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This place looks awesome to ride, it looks out of this world, like mars or somewhere!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Amazing pics great landscape and style.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Great article, love to see a little behind the scenes action!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 cant wait for this movie, definietly need to go to utah
[Reply]
  • + 1
 so stoked on the frontie-attempts!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Bouncing!!!...... Pizza, full fat beer and ........WHERE THE TRAIL ENDS Bliss hahaa
[Reply]
  • + 1
 want to eat that meat! so hungry!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Even the photos are making me excited for the film
[Reply]
  • + 1
 September 19th can't come soon enough, SICK!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 This movie will be epic!
[Reply]

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2014. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv15 0.024960
Mobile Version of Website