Cameron Hall, 36, first discovered skiing by taking lessons on the dry ski slope at Keswick School as a teenager – a platform that enabled him to travel the world and carve out a unique career in the sport.
We caught up with Cameron to hear more about his story ahead of his return to Cumbria in November to host a special ski film screening at the Rheged Centre in Penrith as part of a national film tour operated by his business, Holmlands.
“I was never very good at team sports but from the first moment I clipped into a pair of skis, I knew I’d found my passion in life”, recalls Cameron.
A pupil at Keswick School between 1995 and 2002, he says “It was definitely unusual for a school to have its own ski slope. I remember the run was so short you could only make two or three turns and if you didn’t stop at the bottom, you would fall into the fence of the Tennis Courts! It proved to be a good way to learn the basics fast.”
Having skied with the school on annual trips and with his University ski club, Cameron graduated with a degree in Media, Culture and Society in 2005, before securing a job as a ski instructor at Whistler Blackcomb in Canada.
“The only thing I wanted to do when I graduated was teach skiing. I had the bug and wanted to share my passion with others. My intention was to teach for just one winter in Canada but that quickly changed, and I ended up teaching in resorts in Austria, Italy, New Zealand and even the indoor centre in Dubai.”
It was whilst Cameron was in the United Arab Emirates in 2006, he was given the opportunity to teach US Basketball legend Micheal Jordan.
“I turned up to work one morning and the whole ski centre had been closed down for a private client. I had no idea who it was but was asked to take the lesson. When I arrived at the slope, it was Micheal Jordan. I treated it like a normal lesson, but all Michael wanted to do was race each other. He picked things up quickly but did crash a few times. I couldn’t bring myself to let him win a race!”
In 2008 Cameron traded in his skis and began working for a PR agency in London, before founding his own business Holmlands in 2016.
“My thirst for skiing never left me and I spotted an opportunity to combine my love for the sport and PR experience by hosting high end ski film screenings through acquiring a license from a major ski film production company in the US. I hosted a couple of events as a side project outside the day job and created a platform before incorporating Holmlands in 2016 – we are now the exclusive UK license holders for the same production company and have hosted more than 30 events in the past few years.”
Holmlands – a business named after this street where his father grew up – specialises in “storytelling inspired by adventure” working with brands and athletes by providing PR, video production, social media and media training services. The business also operates its own annual adventure film festival – Four Seasons Film Festival in London, with their ski film screening series also operating in the UK and internationally each autumn.
Their work to date involves representing several members of the ParalympicsGB team at the Winter Paralympics in South Korea – including visually impaired skier Millie Knight and her sighted guide Brett Wild, who returned from last year’s games with three medals for their county and were also crowned World Para Alpine Downhill Champions in 2017.
Cameron says, “whilst skiing is an individual sport it’s also has a thriving community. Our ski film screenings are a great way to bring likeminded people together to share in their love for the sport.”
This year’s film is called Return to Send’er a ski move by the multi award winning Matchstick Productions; featuring elite backcountry skiers, Mark Abma, Crazy Karl, Sam Kuch and Logan Pehota.
Each skier brings a different style and outlook to the table, but they all have one thing in common: their love to drop big cliffs and ski crazy terrain. The body of the movie showcases some of the most progressive big and small mountain skiing filmed to date, and setting the stage for the end of the season when all four skiers unite for the mother of all heliskiing trips.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be coming home and bringing our event experiences to Cumbria for the first time – and to the county that gave me a start in a sport which has become a major part of my life.”
Holmlands will be presenting “Return to Send’er” at the Rheged Centre in Penrith on Wednesday 6th November, Doors open at 7pm with tickets available via www.holmlands.co.uk/events