Photo Epic and Video: BTS of the unReal Dirt Blizzard

Sep 28, 2015
by Anthill Films  
The trails of the Whistler Bike Park have seen their fair share of screen time over the years, from segments in our past films to your next-door-neighbour's POV edit. So, when it came time to filming the bike park segment for unReal, we knew we had to do something different.

Views: 14,890    Faves: 146    Comments: 10


Photo by Harookz

Photo by Harookz

Photo by Harookz

Photo by Harookz

Photo Harookz

Photo by Harookz

Photo Harookz

Production of the Dirt Blizzard segment took place late last fall, as the bike park season was winding down. Preparations for the shoot began on a cold morning with the masses of peat moss being dumped in front of Whistler Blackcomb’s Administration building.

Photo by Harookz

Moving the bales of peat moss onto the trails was no small feat. With each bale weighing around 80lbs, and hundreds of bales to be moved, it was all hands on deck to get the peat moss transported to each location.

darren mccullough blowin brown pow

Photo Harookz

In order to mimic the sensation of an epic powder day, peat moss—totalling thousands of pounds—was dispersed or shot into the air using leaf blowers. Drifts of dirt blanketed the trails, trees, and landscape, leaving Vancouver garden centres sold out of peat moss for weeks.

Fraser Newton blowing born pow at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Ian Morrison at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

dirt blizzard of brown pow blew through

Thomas Vanderham Fin Iles and Matt Miles at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Fact: The garden centres in Vancouver caught on to what we were doing and refused to sell us any more peat moss, as the dirt blizzard was causing a peat moss shortage in the Sea-to-Sky region.

Thomas Vanderham Finn Iles and Matt Miles at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Thomas Vanderham Finn Iles and Ian Morrison at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Photo Epic and Video BTS of the unReal Dirt Blizzard

Photo Harookz

Photo by Harookz

Photo by Harookz

Photo Epic and Video BTS of the unReal Dirt Blizzard

Photo by Harookz

Thomas Vanderham Finn Iles and Ian Morrison at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Photo Epic and Video BTS of the unReal Dirt Blizzard

Thomas Vanderham Fin Iles and Matt Miles at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Unlike actual snow, peat moss and fake movie snow don't dissolve and fall off of your gear very easily. Mixed with damp weather, the peat moss and brown pow stuck to everything, including our clothing and equipment.

Thomas Vanderham Finn Iles and Ian Morrison at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Photo by Harookz

Photo by Harookz

As fun as Finn Iles makes playing in brown pow look, don't be fooled. Since the leaf blowers essentially turned the peat moss into a fine powder, the crew had to wear protective face masks to prevent inhaling any airborne particles. Even still, the crew and riders experienced their fair share of nose bleeds and sore throats throughout the shoot.

Photo Harookz

Photo Sterling Lorence

Photo by Harookz

Photo by Harookz

Photo by Harookz

A fresh layer of brown pow on the trails meant that obstacles that are normally visible, such as rocks and roots, were now hidden, making line choice extremely critical.

Photo Harookz

Darcy Wittenburg and Chris Ricci blowing fresh brown pow

Photo by Harookz

In Strength in Numbers, Adam Billinghurst (head trail builder on unReal) famously said, "My dream is that dirt would fall like snow does." When we thought about it at the time, the possibility of experiencing a "dirt blizzard" seemed impossible. Fast forward a few years later, it only seemed fitting that we make this dream come true in unReal.

Photo by Harookz

Thomas Vanderham at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Photo Sterling Lorence

Finn Iles at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Thomas Vanderham Finn Iles at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Photo by Harookz

Photo by Harookz

Photo Epic and Video BTS of the unReal Dirt Blizzard

Ian Morrison Thomas Vanderham Finn Iles at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Ian Morrison Thomas Vanderham Finn Iles at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Thomas Vanderham at Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the dirt blizzard segment of Unreal by Anthill films.

Views: 13,191    Faves: 406    Comments: 25





unReal is for those of us who escape. A film that celebrates breaking free from the confines of reality and venturing into a boundless world. This place isn’t remote or hard to find, and yet many never see it. Here, glacial walls transform into mountain bike trails, rain and snow aren’t the only elements to fall from the sky and thousand pound mammals become riding partners. Breathtaking visuals conjure feelings of awe and pure joy; feelings that only those of us who venture outside can truly understand. This film is dedicated to you — the dreamers, the rule-breakers, the ones who never grow up, the ones who know the secret — the ones who know the way into the unReal world.

Riders: Brandon Semenuk, Brett Rheeder, Cam McCaul, Graham Agassiz, Steve Smith, Tom van Steenbergen and Thomas Vanderham, with Brook Macdonald Finn Iles, Ian Morrison, James Doerfling, Matty Miles and friends

Photos by: Sterling Lorence & Haruki "Harookz" Noguchi

Sony presents unReal with Shimano & Trek, a new film produced by Teton Gravity Research & Anthill Films starring Brandon Semenuk, Brett Rheeder, Cam McCaul, Graham Agassiz, Steve Smith, Tom van Steenbergen & Thomas Vanderham, with Brook Macdonald, Finn Iles, Ian Morrison, James Doerfling & Matty Miles. Written, directed and edited by Anthill Films. Art direction and additional writing by Good Fortune Collective. Additional support from Bike Magazine, Evoc, Knolly, Pinkbike, Rocky Mountain, Western Digital & Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

#theunRealmovie
Buy unReal on BluRay+DVD:
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Download unReal:
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Amazon Instant Video
Playstation
Vimeo


MENTIONS: @anthill / @TetonGravityResearch / @WhistlerMountainBikePark / @sterlinglorence / @harookz



Posted In:
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41 Comments

  • 30 2
 Brown Pow - brœwñ poŵ - A mystical form of shred know only to the wild Anthill Films aka.... BRAAAAAP
  • 1 1
 ow now brown pow
  • 24 0
 Waiiiitttttt.... That didn't actually happen???
  • 4 0
 Glad I'm not the only one ...
  • 2 0
 I totally believed that was real
  • 1 0
 unReal
  • 1 0
 I see what you did there
  • 20 1
 Can just picture some hiker trying to buy peat moss after anthill cleared it out and screaming at the sky, cursing mountain bikers and wishing for an end to the tyranny.
  • 22 2
 I wish rocks and roots would fall from the sky and burry flow trails.
  • 3 1
 truth!!
  • 16 1
 Steve Peat should have been invited to this.
  • 7 1
 THAT scrubb! matt miles for president
  • 6 0
 if it snows snow, and it rains rain, wouldn't it dirt dirt?
  • 4 3
 It would have been cool if they also did some scenes in urban and city settings covered in "dirt" so it would show we can ride anywhere if there's dirt. The bewildered average Joe could have been shocked as they watched these guys decked in gear shredding through streets, steps, parks etc. Then show some city kid who's never ridden in dirt experiencing it for the first time, having a blast and stepping up to a mountain bike.
  • 2 0
 NIce idea for a sequel
  • 2 0
 At first I thought maybe Mount St. Helens erupted again. You guys should have kept the secret to snow dirt and let the spectacle play on thru the winter months. Very cool idea though.
  • 2 0
 damn they are just having a ball in that dirt! finn looks like a kid at christmas Big Grin
now, how to find cash to buy enough peat moss to recreate my own playground...
  • 9 1
 you should read the blurbs before doing that... mainly the part about nose bleeds and sore throats, haha.
  • 1 0
 What wasn't included in the article: they were shooting before the bike park was open or after it was closed and they had to have ALL the peat moss cleaned up before the bike park opened for business that day.
  • 6 3
 Did they clean it off the trails or just leave it there?
  • 5 0
 Lightweight, totally biodegradable, non-toxic, non-static, made with food-grade products. - See more at: www.thomasfx.com/Simulated-Peat-Moss-_p_10022.html#sthash.C7roeWOY.dpuf
  • 2 0
 Ok thanks should of read the article more closely my bad
  • 1 0
 Still quite the mess...
  • 5 0
 Guys..the powder stayd FOR.DAYS I wouldbe loved to be able.to ride whistler bike park trails in BROWN POW conditions Y
  • 1 0
 why is finn riding a trek bike and Fox gear? is all this Shooting from last year or a view to next year? finn no more riding for lapierre? or just a private Thing for fun?
  • 2 0
 @syppus - Filmed last year before he joined Lapierre Gravity Republic.
  • 1 0
 thx
  • 4 2
 inovate or die! great idea
  • 2 0
 finn is the luckiest kid ever to be riding that with those guys!
  • 2 0
 just can't decide which picture will be my next wallpaper, so epic
  • 2 0
 don't know what I prefer, the unreal film, or this unreal making off !
  • 1 0
 my mum informs me its really dangerous inhaling peat moss or any soil material....
  • 1 0
 Some say snow machines can be easily converted to dirt for the upcoming summer groomed runs...
  • 1 0
 Nosebleeds... O.o Crazy mothertruckers...
  • 1 0
 are those mallet 3's without the clips on the Devinci?
  • 2 0
 You mean 5050 3s?
  • 1 0
 Ah yes. I suppose I do. Thanks for that
  • 1 0
 Yeah that was soo unreal segment! Love the scrubs through the pow
  • 1 2
 Amazing filming! This segment is truly a one of a kind and nothing will ever come close to it now!!!
  • 1 0
 So you're telling me...





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