Drones Are Coming to a Ski Slope Near You

A handful of ski resorts are making an exception to an otherwise sweeping ban on drones with Cape Productions.
A handful of ski resorts are making an exception to an otherwise sweeping ban on drones with Cape Productions. Courtesy Cape Productions

No, you can't bring your own. But for a price, a handful of America's biggest ski resorts will let you capture your runs with a professional drone. Winter Park and Squaw Valley, among the nine partners so far, have teamed up with a Cape Productions to offer personal drone shoots operated and edited by a video crew. For a fee in the neighborhood of $100-$200, Cape Productions will follow you for three runs and deliver a glossy two-minute video within 48 hours. (Watch an example shot with the U.S. Ski Team below.)

Nearly all ski resorts have banned personal drones, following a National Ski Area Association recommendation over safety and privacy concerns — nobody wants an errant drone running into a skier or chairlift. Still, with an abundance of patrons donning GoPros for their runs, resorts recognize the desire of skiers to film themselves and share videos — which conveniently promotes the slopes too.

Skiers and snowboarders worried about skies tarnished by clouds of buzzing robots can relax. Cape Productions' operation is limited to one drone in the air at a time. The device is also limited to 25 MPH and programmed to automatically avoid obstacles like trees and lifts. The Federal Aviation Administration has already granted Cape permission for the drones, making the program an easy addition for resorts on private property. Ski areas on public lands, however, require consent from the U.S. Forest Service, and it's currently unclear how the agency feels about programs like Cape Productions.