Discovery Channel's Mark Miller

Discovery Channel's Mark Miller

‘Gigantic’ fame for Whiteway

Discovery Channel film crew puts the spotlight on Invermere for "Gigantic Things" week.

The (unofficial) world’s largest outdoor skate track will hit the small screen on Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet TV show in the coming months, after the film crew for Embedded with Mark Miller stopped in Invermere Thursday, February 2.

Embedded, which runs on Daily Planet every Tuesday, features Miller heading out into the field to learn about different jobs, from ghost hunting to tugboat driving.

“The idea is it’s kind of an average guy, who’s not particularly smart, goes off and tries different things,” Miller explained to local media during a break in filming. “The thing today was to come out and learn to make ice for a big pond hockey tournament and learn how you maintain what is allegedly the world’s largest skating rink.”

Joined by Whiteway maintainers Brad Kitching and Jason Bentley, Miller spent much of the day learning how to keep outdoor ice level and ready for use, drilling holes with an auger, flooding cleared surfaces, driving a snow plow and even laying a bit of cross country ski track.

Miller’s most important lesson of the day? “Don’t put your hand in the auger hole,” he said with a laugh.

“The lake was definitely cold,” Miller added. “What else did I learn? I learned the lake itself, Mother Nature is probably the best ice maker. I guess you guys don’t get a ton of snow and the lake freezes and it just gets perfectly flat.”

Miller says his producer on the west coast had heard about the Whiteway through the media, and he’d also been invited  by email to come by a local resident he grew up with.

“So we said okay, we’ve heard about this from enough different places, there must be something to this,” he said.

With temperatures balmy on the day of filming, the crew hit up several locations for its ice lessons. In addition to plowing on the actual Whiteway, much of the close-up flooding work was done on Lake Lillian, which was already being groomed as a back up site for the weekend’s B.C. Eastern Regional Pond Hockey Championships.

In between drilling, hosing and snow clearing, Miller interviewed Kitching and Bentley about what it takes to make an outdoor ice surface smooth, and about Invermere’s quest to have the skate track recognized as the largest in the world — and the warm winter weather that has pushed those plans back slightly.

“I think they were a little happy that the Whiteway was not running smoothly,” Kitching said in an email after the shoot. “Sort of the trials and tribulations make for better TV.”

Kitching also reported both Miller and cameraman Kevin Mills are now planning vacations in the valley.

” I guess that says it all,” he added. “Well done, Invermere.”

The Whiteway piece will run during a special “Gigantic Things” week on Daily Planet, most likely  this spring, though an exact air date hasn’t been announced.

For more on Embedded with Mark Miller and Daily Planet, visit discoverychannel.ca/dailyplanet.

 

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