Guest Author - Carol Viau
Early January I had the opportunity to work on a photo shoot. This particular photo shoot involved two names synonymous with snowmobile competition; Heath Frisby and Levi Lavallee. While I am not a regular on a snowmobile, I did my best to follow these guys around in the backcountry at Togwotee Pass, Wyoming.
My day started by getting up at five in the morning. After eating breakfast and making lunch, I left the house to meet up with the truck and snowmobiles my friend and I would borrow for the day. Itís about an hour drive to Togwotee and when we arrived, it became obvious the group would need about another hour to get things together. This is typical of photo shoots, so Iím told.
There were a variety of people hired for the shoot and they had come from all over. Scott, one of the cameramen, was from Seattle. Michael, a photographer, was from New York City. Garth, another photographer, was from California. The organizer of the event, Tyler, had come down from Montana. As both Heath and Levi were sponsored by Red Bull, a head marketing person from Red Bull had flown in from Montana and a Red Bull athlete representative had driven up from Colorado. Heath had driven over from Idaho and Levi brought his snowmobile from Wisconsin. There were also a few folks whose names I didnít get, but this gives you an idea of the size of the group.
The bulk of the group needed to fill out some paperwork for renting snowmobiles, so this was part of what led to the delay in getting started. Soon, we headed out onto the trails to a predetermined spot that would be great for these guys to show off their skills. We arrived at one of the most scenic locations imaginable, near the Breccia cliffs.
It didnít take long for Heath and Levi to start testing out the speed needed for a natural jump nearby. Unfortunately Heath got a little too excited and crashed his snowmobile into a tree, rendering it unusable for any more jumping that day. Tyler, the organizer, lent him his snowmobile so they could at least still get some ground action shots. Meanwhile, Levi was showing off his stuff with some huge air. I had never actually seen anything quite like that and I was duly impressed.
As the shoot was a combination of photo work and filming, I later learned part of the filming would be on Good Morning Americaís weekend segment. As it had already aired and I donít own a Television, I searched the internet for it but didnít have much luck. I did, however, find both Levi and Heathís websites and again was impressed when I discovered more about them. Just this last week Heath placed first and Levi second in the Best Snowmobile Trick category at the Winter X Games 14. Congratulations guys!
Even more impressive was how nice both of these athletes were to everyone on location. I wrongly assumed these types of athletes might be arrogant or rude. I was far off the mark. These guys are great ambassadors for their sport and I appreciate their kindness and the chance to learn more about snowmobile competition.