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Personal Video Drones on Ski Mountains Can Open New Revenue Streams

4 Nov, 2015

By: Tracey Schelmetic

Planners of sports events held at mountain ski and snowboard resorts may soon have a new revenue stream: drone photography of competitors.

Cape Productions, a Redwood City, California-based startup, will begin offering skiers and boarders drone rentals. The program will debut at seven North American ski resorts this winter: Winter Park Resort and Copper Mountain in Colorado; Timberline Lodge and Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon; Powder Mountain in Utah; Homewood Mountain in California; Mountain Creek, New York; Fernie Alpine Resort in British Columbia; and Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho.

And if it’s successful, it could, well, snowball.

Customers simply sign up, meet Cape Productions personnel on the mountain, and get filmed by the drones while riding or skiing (on a maximum of three runs). At the end of the day, customers receive a professionally edited video online. The cost is between $100 and $200 per individual, depending on the resort.

It isn’t hard to see that sports event planners who broker deals with the drone companies stand to benefit in the best way possible.

Cape already has a back history of providing drones for mountain sports. According to the company’s press release, it has partnered with the U.S. Ski Team in the past to capture training sessions of Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety and other members of the team at Coronet Peak in Queenstown, New Zealand.

The drones can reportedly fly up to 40 mph and automatically maintain a safe distance from the ground and obstacles such as trees, chairlifts, other skiers and crowded areas, and can withstand harsh weather conditions and high altitudes.

When it comes to drones, though, there remain questions about safety and legality. The use of drones has been banned at most major ski resorts, and there are increasing concerns as to whether drones should be regulated. However, for now, Cape has worked with government and resort officials to gain permission to offer the service to some resorts.

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