Regularly being on camera is something few of us plan on doing during our careers. Interestingly, Mount Snow’s Kelsey King thought the same. But by combining her background in writing and editing with a simple approach to being the face of the resort, she’s delivering some of the best personality-based video around.
Gregg: Kelsey, give us your quick story. What’s your background and how did you end up at Mount Snow?
Kelsey: I always loved being involved in the media world, whether it was directing, writing, or editing. My passion got started from doing the middle school morning announcements, before later going on to study Television-Radio in college with the intention of working behind the scenes. Just over a year ago, I was working Philadelphia as a video editor, but was dying to move somewhere new with bigger mountains and better skiing. I was a snowboard instructor during the previous winter and really wanted to combine these two worlds. Lucky for me, I was set on Vermont and Mount Snow had a job opening for the Snow Reporter, the perfect job for me to be involved in both of my passions.
Gregg: That’s awesome, but also interesting that you hadn’t really planned on being in front of the camera. Has that been harder or different than you expected?
Kelsey: I definitely didn’t plan on it, but I had a little bit of experience just from trying out every part of the field. I was nervous about being on camera at first, but it came very natural to me after a short time, mainly because I’m talking about a subject that I get so excited about. I love talking about snow, and skiing, and Mount Snow so that definitely helped with the nerves I experience at first.
Gregg: Any tips or advice for snow reports who don’t have your background but end up on camera this winter?
Kelsey: Let your passion for the sport show. It’s my greatest advantage on camera because when people see how excited I am to ski or ride on the mountain, they get excited as well. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing…getting people stoked to be out here!
Gregg: So true. Talk a bit more about your process, Kelsey. With your background, what are you involved with for each video behind the scenes?
Kelsey: Last year, I was essentially doing everything solo, from writing the script, to filming myself using a tripod, to then editing the Mount Snow Minute complete with B roll I shot throughout the week. This year, I have another set of hands helping, Aurora Hooper, who is our new snow reporter for the written reports and has a photography background. It’s obviously made it a lot easier! I still get to write the script and be on camera, but she is there to help me film, in addition to her collecting B roll during the week and then editing the final video.
Gregg: Wow, that’s full Casey Neistat level work. Impressive! How frequently were you creating videos last year? Are you planning to up the volume this year given the help from Aurora?
Kelsey: Last year we did one weekly, and so far that’s the plan for this year. It does help having two people because it’s only made our production quality even better, but I think our videos highlight what’s going on during that week really well, and we wouldn’t want to decrease quality for more content. I image when there’s a powder day or something extra special going on, then we would cover that as well.
Gregg: Speaking of production value, that’s something I think you’ve done really well at even with challenges like snowmaking behind you or bright sun reflecting off the snow. Was there a tough learning curve with not just shooting/editing video and capturing audio, but doing so on snow?
Kelsey: Thank you! I’ve definitely faced a lot of different challenges filming outside, and I won’t lie…I’ve had to reshoot things because of that learning curve. But now that I have the experience, I know how to prep for those conditions. Snowmaking guns are a challenge, but if you stand at a distance with good microphones, it can be done fairly easily. The element that causes the most trouble is the wind, there’s no escape from it!
Gregg: How much of your videos is planned far in advance around events, etc. and how much is whatever that week gives you? For example, I noticed you used tips from Paul Pabst last year. How did you weave those tips into the rest of your content calendar and strategy?
Kelsey: About 50% is planned for events and set things happening around the resort, the other 50% is for the weather and what the snow conditions are. The Paul Pabst tips were a lot of fun because we just asked him to talk about his secrets for taking advantage of all that Mount Snow has to offer, like where to apres, the best place to park, how to avoid lift lines, etc. Some of the tips we saved because we knew they would fit later in the season for something specific (like “spring days are best spent over on Sunbrook”, so we saved that for a spring video report), and other’s just naturally went along with what we happened to be covering that week.
Gregg: How do you measure the success of any one Mount Snow Minute episode? How important is the view count of any one video?
Kelsey: The weather plays a huge part in the success of the videos. We have a number that we usually reach as far as view counts go, but if the weather is awesome, that definitely reflects in how many people will watch. Skiers and riders get excited about the updates, but everyone goes nuts over a powder day. This year’s opening day video was one of our most successful, since we opened earlier than most resorts and offered a lot of terrain immediately. The stoke was definitely high on that one.
Gregg: Last question, any specific video from your time at Mount Snow stand out as your favorite? And why?
Kelsey: As much as I love some of the powder day videos I made, my blooper reel is my favorite! I saved clips all season long of skiers and riders falling, myself included (while I was trying to film other skiers!) and it was really funny to put them all together at the end of the season. I love to laugh and it still cracks me up every time I watch it.
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