Jordan Manley, best known for his stellar ski photography and editorial eye, recently launched the second season of A Skier's Journey—a fantastic story-driven, three-part video series focused on the ski industry. This season's first episode, "Friends of Shames," focuses on a group of local skiers who are looking at ways to purchase their local ski hill so it won't shut down. While driving with his brother in British Columbia, Manley took a moment to talk about this year's series, his transition from still photographer to videographer and the hurdles of storytelling.
OnTheSnow: Your ski photography is phenomenal. Why get into video?
Jordan Manley: I actually started with video before photography back while I was in high school. I've always had the thought of being a cinematographer and I hadn't really pursued it as I got into photography and I realized I could get a better start as a photographer and make a more reliable income. I knew, however, I would turn back to video when I could do so without sacrificing photography.
OTS: So was there a moment when you started to think about video again?
JM: Three years ago, I went on a ski trip and was talking to Gore-Tex about photography and they liked the idea of video so I told them let's do it. So we did and they liked it.
OTS: "Friends of Shames" is more than just ski porn, how do your videos differ from other ski films out there?
JM: I saw an opportunity to show the context of travel to these exotic places instead of just the skiing and wanted to show what it's like to go there and meet new people, eat new foods and have new experiences. So that was the impetus of it.
OTS: What filmmakers inspire you?
JM: Mike Douglas was proving there was this other format out there that was viable and that was a big inspiration for me.
OTS: Last season you traveled all over the world, while the first episode this year focuses on a small ski resort north of your hometown that is in danger of closing. How did you decide this was the story you wanted to tell?
JM: I've been to Shames Mountain before on assignment for Powder Magazine and connected with the area. I knew the potential for skiing there and the humility of the people and really enjoyed the people I met. I wanted to merge the great people with the skiing in this episode and talk about the different ways to operate ski resorts.
OTS: In the piece, you follow the story of local skiers who are actively looking to purchase shares in the mountain to keep it open.
JM: Yeah—I really wanted to get people talking about the different ways to operate ski resorts and that sometimes the current resort model may not be the best way to go. I hope that other people dealing with similar issues could hear Shames's story and how they are dealing with their problems.
OTS: You feature some great people in your piece. From a video production standpoint how did you find the people?
JM: I had a few contacts up there, but Darryl Tucker is who set me up with most of the people I talked to.
OTS: How long did it take to shoot?
JM: I spent about three weeks skiing, shooting and interviewing people over the course of last season.
OTS: And the postproduction?
JM: I'm certainly not the fastest editor, but it took about two weeks to put together. I started by looking at all the footage and writing down the different narratives I wanted to tell. Once I got those together, I scripted it out and selected the quotes that I felt were the strongest.
OTS: How about the next two videos in the series? What can people look forward to this season?
JM: The next two videos this season each have a different goal. "Shames" was trying to have a conversation about what the future of ski resorts is and how they're going to be more viable economically. In the next episode I feature Baffin Island, which is one of the most incredible places in the world I've ever skied. And finally in the third episode, I take a road trip down to South America and try to head to the lesser-known regions.