By Vanessa Broadbent
Seventeen-year-old Mia McBryde has been skiing at Baldy Mountain Resort for as long as she can remember. Her family owns a cabin at the hill, and it’s their go to spot for weekends and holidays.
But the skier’s roots to Baldy run even deeper. She’s the great granddaughter of Willi Tenning, one of the founders of the resort and the namesake for the hill’s Tenning’s Trail, which McBryde was the first to ski down. Her parents even met on the hill.
“It’s become a family legacy,” she said. “Our family has basically been here for 40 years.”
While McBryde may be one of the hill’s only regulars that is genetically connected to its history, she is one of many skiers and snowboarders that calls the hill their second home.
Baldy Bums, the hill’s new four-part web series coming out in February, follows four of Baldy’s regulars, or “bums,” including McBryde, documenting the hill through a regular’s eyes and showcasing what it is that keeps them coming back every weekend.
The idea for the series came out of a brainstorming session with Stephanie O’Brien, the resort’s marketing director, and the rest of the Baldy team. They were looking for creative ways to share the hill’s culture.
“We started talking about all the unique characters and all the amazing people who live up at Baldy and how we could do something showcasing the sense of community that exists up here,” O’Brien said.
Eventually, the idea for Baldy Bums was born.
O’Brien and her team then put out a casting call and interviewed candidates. Their goal was to cast a variety of demographics: different ages, personalities and a mix of skiers and snowboarders, each with a different skill set, all with a history of going to Baldy.
“That’s exactly what we got,” O’Brien said, noting that some of the bums are more technical riders with plenty of tricks up their sleeves while others are more interested in chasing deep powder.
“You’re going to see a really diverse mix of skiing and snowboarding skills.”
Along with McBryde, three other bums were cast: Sebastian Hotte, Jesse Uphill and Trevor Leigh. Each one of them has a unique connection to Baldy.
Uphill has been to Baldy every single weekend for the past 30 years, O’Brien said. He even bought a house that came with a great view of the mountain.
O’Brien said it took a little convincing to get Uphill to agree to be on camera, unlike Leigh who has a background in acting and radio work.
“He’s a real character,” she said. “He’s really funny.”
The bums were each given a Go Pro camera and four different challenges to complete, one for each episode.
One challenge was to showcase each bum’s favourite secret run on Mount Baldy by recording a perfect run down the hill. For McBryde, that was “Silky Smooth,” which she says earned its name for having the best powder on the mountain.
Another challenge had the bums taking viewers through their morning routine with the goal of scoring the first chair of the day.
The one the team is currently working on involves interacting with other skiers and snowboarders by asking them questions.
This being her first time on camera, at least for public release, McBryde said that it can get uncomfortable at times. But she’s up for the challenge.
“It’s different but it’s a good different,” she said. “Sometimes you’re just sitting up there by yourself, talking to your camera.”
Once the filming is completed, the series will be launched on Baldy’s website and Facebook and YouTube pages, with the first episode planned to be released in February.
McBryde is excited to share her home away from home with the rest of the world. She says the series a great way to help promote Baldy and give viewers a taste of its friendly community, where it’s rare to not run into someone you know.
“It’s a great hill to be at, not a big one, but it still has the same great things as other big hills,” she said. “It’s nice to get the word out to everyone how great it is.”