I was approached to be the local Art Director for an international Heineken commercial that was shooting worldwide and to be aired during the soccer world cup.
The portion that I was involved with was an ‘igloo bar,’ which was to be shot on the top of a glacier near whistler blackcomb.
The first task set out for me was to design an igloo that we could transport to the top of a glacier. It quickly became apparent that we would need to build the igloo completely at set construction, and then cut it into pieces which would then (hopefully!) be reassembled on the glacier by a much smaller crew.
As it turned out, the location was a 15 minute helicopter ride from where we would offload everything. It was imperative to carefully plan everything that we brought up the mountain as well as ensuring the size of the loads so as not to overload the helicopters.
Even with all the planning, we had no idea what to actually expect when we arrived. Something we hadn’t considered was the pace of work that is possible at 7000ft isn’t equivalent to that on the ground, even without the deep snow. We had to improvise heaters to keep our glue warm enough to stick the igloo back together but also be wary about getting the foam igloo too hot and melting it.
We worked diligently to finish everything before a forecast storm, and production had taken every precaution. There was a full survival team on the mountain at all times with us in case we were trapped by poor weather or low light conditions, and the last shot cut as the helicopters were being fired up for their last trip away from the mountain. That night, the storm rolled in and then they returned to clear away all the gear, igloo, and tools, some things were buried under 10ft of snow.