Sam Robinson Finds Everything He Needs at Lands' End
At the end of August, Sam Robinson and his crew were woken up in the dark of night. Dawn was approaching and they had somewhere to be. They all piled into a van and drove through the hills of British Columbia, motoring their way half way up Whistler Mountain. It was cold, and dark, and they all unloaded their gear to be carried the rest of the way. They stumbled up those thousands of vertical feet, exhausted, a little disoriented, and doubtful. What seemed like a good decision in the light of day was less clear as they looked up their steep path weighed down by camera equipment.
The entire crew summited in time, setting up the shot they worked for. The sun crept up over the horizon and they got the shot, and then everyone’s energy turned on a dime. “It was totally worth it,” Sam explains. “It was one of those incredible moments where everyone was up there and the sun came up and we’re all just sitting there a little bit exhausted already. First thing in the morning, a bit beaten, but the sun comes up and everyone goes, ‘Ah yeah. That’s why were here. This all makes sense.’” They had hiked the mountain to shoot Lands' End winter collection, and they brought themselves to a literal land’s end. During the winter, Whistler Mountain is one of the busiest attractions, but in early fall it is a complete wilderness. They were effectively alone. That only added to the magic. “There was a moment of us sort of looking around, and for lack of a better word, it really shuts you up when you’re suddenly up there,” Sam says. “The effort to get there suddenly becomes all worthwhile. You get another level of energy.” That energy carried them all the way through the rest of the shoot, from bobbing in and out of clouds in helicopters to find the perfect locations, to continuing to cart hundreds of pounds of equipment all over the face of the mountain and onto a glacier. Their fate had been sealed: this was going to be a good time. “It’s like a legal high,” Sam says. “It drives you. It keeps you going.”
That was important. They had to sustain. Since it was August, it wasn’t as snowy as they had hoped. Of course August is warmer than the dead of winter, but there was still less snow than Whistler normally has at that time. So they scoured the mountain. “We had to kind of chase the snow,” Sam says. “It was a beautiful day, and we got in the helicopter to look for snow.” They eventually found everything they needed, like that energy from the sunrise, in the wilderness around them.