Since their introduction into the image-making world, drones have been the crux of many a debate. They provide easily attained access to a wealth of angles and perspectives not otherwise feasible. They dramatically cut down on the expense of film budgets, as helicopters become more desired for transportation than documentation. They can even trail mountain enthusiasts through runs while autonomously filming, and they have undoubtedly progressed camera technology in ways before inconceivable.

When it comes to the recreational use of the flying robots, the vast majority of resorts across the country have widely banned the apparatuses for a number of reasons. However, while this common mandate remains true across the country, one resort has already begun to utilize them regularly in their day-to-day operations.

A drone being utilized in the professional space while filming in Japan. PHOTO: Scott Serfas

Colorado's Aspen Mountain Rescue team has recently incorporated the use of a Matrice 210 drone in their standard rescue procedures. Fitted with an infrared camera and a second powerful zoom camera, the flying eyes will now be used to assist with backcountry rescues both in the winter and summer seasons. In fact, the drone has already proven useful in the rescue of a woman that got lost while hiking only two weeks ago. Similarly, a drone was used in the rescue of Scottish climber that was lost on K2, only days after the Colorado rescue.

So there you have it, drones will now be circling above as we slide below–and for good reason at that. While Aspen Mountain Rescue is the first resort rescue team in the United States to implement the technology, we can only imagine the trend will catch on quickly. It should go without saying that while this remains a positive and useful tool, it should also by no means further the unwarranted backcountry confidence of many. Inexperienced departure into unmarked zones is inherently dangerous, and those on the fence of embarking on the adventure should always heed the age-old mantra, "If you don't know, don't go."


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