Fifty-Year Storm


It’s a big enough challenge to gear up a production crew for a diverse shooting schedule, but it’s a different story when you are blindsided by the biggest snowstorm in fifty-years. This is what happened when The Wild Within traveled to the Scottish Highlands for a truly epic shoot.

There was going to be a lot of exciting elements to this episode. But, we also knew we were heading into a potentially harsh environment. After researching the Highland’s present weather patterns and climate history I predicted a mid-thirties, freezing rain type shoot. But, when my team arrived it developed into a very different experience- snow, snow, snow and more snow! Because of the surprise weather some gear worked and some didn’t.

What didn’t work…

- The boots I ordered were Mammut Monolith GTX, a great trekking boot with high ankle support, rigid soles and Gore Tex lining. But, the mix of high snowdrifts, and skin biting temperatures left everyone’s feet frozen. They traded out the boots for some nicely insulated, calf high Aigle boots. These did the trick, even though they lacked the rigid soles.

- A lot of the team prefers Outdoor Research products. Not normally my go-to for technical gear, but, I went with the brand anyway. For their gloves I ordered the Alpine Alibi Gloves. These did not work. When the team went static, the gloves couldn’t hold in the heat. They eventually switched out for some mittens purchased at a local shop. My advice for snowy situations is to have polartec liners and a pair of shell mittens.

What did…

- The Patagonia Nano-puff hoody performed without a hitch while the team was moving. But when the shoot became static people threw on heavier fill jackets.

- I asked my Associate Producer to try out the Patagonia R1, half-zip pull over as a heavy baselayer. He fell in love with it and even a month after the shoot I see him rocking it in the office.

- There was going to be a lot of camping in rough weather. To keep everyone safe and warm I packed 15-degree Marmot sleeping bags with Kelty fleece liners. I chose synthetic over down materials to retain heat even if they got wet.

- Mountain Hardwear’s Escape pants provided a nice barrier of waterproofing and wind protection. Unfortunately they are no longer listed on Mountain Hardwear’s website for you guys to check out.

With the gear that worked and a few switch outs the team was off and running. The footage that came back to NYC was stunning!

Keep an eye out for this great episode and others on The Travel Channel every Saturday at 12pm EST.

- Andy