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International Women's Day 2021: The Adrenaline-Fueled World of Winter Sports Junkie Aurelie Gonin

08/03/2021

Positive pressure of directing live: The adrenalin-fuelled world of winter sports junkie Aurelie Gonin International Womens Day 2021 focus By Heather McLean, Editor

Monday, March 8, 2021 - 10:50

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Aurelie Gonin, head of Alpine Medias House and winter sports director

There are not many jobs in the world where you have to be an athlete to even begin your daily tasks, but Aurelie Gonin, director at her own company, Alpine Medias House, is one of those people.

Gonin is a winter sports specialist. She directs, produces, films and edits, with the vast majority of her work taking place on the snowy slopes of mountain ranges across the world.

Just to get to work, she often has to be dropped out of a helicopter onto the side of a mountain, ski on some of the toughest runs in the world get into position, and set up in freezing conditions before the sun has made an appearance so she is ready for the appearance of the (non-crew) athletes.

Bright, white, reflective world

Most importantly, she needs to understand the intricacies of not only her dangerous environment, but the challenges of filming in a bright, white, reflective, steep world, to capture all the thrills and spills of winter sports.

I never experienced such an intense and positive mental tension as when I directed a live event. You are carried by the collective energy of all those people collaborating together to put on a great show

On the specialist aspect of her job, Gonin notes: Through the years I have acquired an expertise in making any kind of videos in a mountain environment, by collaborating with various people and learning from their experience and from the different situations. I'm often asked to do things that I haven't done before, and I'm always keen for a new challenge which will push me and maybe open new opportunities.

Trekking up mountains to get into position to film is part of the job for Aurelie Gonin [seen here leading]

These missions require a lot of versatility in video techniques, and also mountain skills. That means it's mandatory to be in a very good shape to be able to hike or skin up to access the venue, and it's absolutely necessary to know how to identify the dangers of the terrain in order to try to minimise the risks as much as possible, as well as understanding the sports and the athletes. Their commitment is considerable, but ours as well.

Positive pressure

As to what excites her about her job, Gonin says: I love the positive pressure that comes with working so fast, directing live, and being guided by the super dynamic flow which leads the competitions.

She continues: There are so many things I enjoy about it! I can mention skiing in the dark to access the position before first light, enjoying a sunrise on top of a mountain, sharing these emotions with fantastic people, being thrilled by the stunning actions happening in front of our cameras I feel in harmony with the place and with the people. I give a lot of passion and energy, but I get so much back.

Gonin adds that live directing is the biggest adrenalin rush for her: I never experienced such an intense and positive mental tension as when I directed a live event. You are carried by the collective energy of all those people collaborating together to put on a great show, you feel the presence of your team behind you, you constantly talk to some of them, and at the same time you're alone because you're the only one pressing the buttons to create what spectators will see. The focus is so intense, it's like having several brains to be able to analyse all that's happening and take fast decisions, and it lasts four to five hours.

Aurelie Gonin: I love the positive pressure that comes with working so fast, directing live, and being guided by the super dynamic flow which leads the competitions.

I often tell the athletes that when they're in the start gate ready to drop in and it comes the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown, their pressure is the same as mine when we start the live, she goes on. And when live is over I'm exhausted, I gave all my energy to it. I really love that feeling, it makes me feel really alive.

Extreme freeride challenges

On the toughest events she has worked on, Gonin states that the freeride competitions are the most extreme because the live broadcast has to come from the side of a mountain. She explains the rigours demanded of the crew: The technical crew sets up a tent on a ridge in front of the venue in which they build all the equipment for the live and link the cameras, which are long lenses, drones, cineflex and more. It's such a challenge for these guys and I have a big respect for them, (big up to Switch Productions!). You access the tent on skis in the dark to be ready early morning when the competition starts, and then you freeze during all the live action because you're in the snow. It's not the comfort of a studio, but the excitement of being on a mountain to show those stunning action sequences to the audience, are the best compensation.

She comments on Freeride World Tour: I spent six winters travelling with this crew, shared amazing adventures with them, learning a lot from working in this environment, and creating videos for all kinds of media (live, TV, web, social) in a short amount of time. It wasn't an easy choice when I decided to quit, but I thought it was time to move on and I don't regret it because it opened new opportunities to me, including an extraordinary heliskiing event in Pakistan and soon the Olympic Games. I'm convinced that the coolest projects are still to come.

Aurelie Gonin, Alpine Medias House, getting into a helicopter to be dropped on top of a mountain to film a freeride event

Always on the road

Gonin's daily life has changed drastically since COVID closed down borders. Until Mar
LINK: https://www.svgeurope.org/blog/headlines/international-womens-day-2021...
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