A trip by actor Jason Momoa into the western Newfoundland backcountry to scout out film-shoot locations could be a boost for tourism there.
Caverns, ice caves, and snowy expanses were just a few of the locations Frontier star Momoa and his crew visited thanks to Craig Borden, snowmobiling trip guide and manager of the Rugged Edge outdoor shop in Corner Brook.
"Everybody was overwhelmed there was so much so close," Borden told the Corner Brook Morning Show Thursday.
"They're used to travelling a long distance to get to places. When we'd go somewhere and it would take 45 minutes for us — which is probably, you know, we'd consider it a long [snowmobile] ride — they were amazed to go 45 minutes for seeing the views, the vistas, the trees."
Borden received a message about a month ago from previous work contacts, asking about the accessibility of locations he'd posted to his social media accounts.
"I was lucky enough I had those pictures on my phone," Borden said. Two scouts flew in to look around, and a few days later Momoa and crew arrived for scouting and filming.
The crew and guides were in western Newfoundland from January 23 to February 4, location scouting and filming in the Bay of Islands, Lewis Hills, and Gros Morne National Park areas of the island.
"They were overwhelmed with it," Borden said. "These people are coming from Australia and Hawaii, which to us is very exotic. These guys think that we are way more exotic."
'They got it all and a lot more'
The crew got a taste of Newfoundland's famously unpredictable weather, encountering everything from blue skies to storm winds. But the variety wasn't necessarily a disadvantage.
"For certain things they wanted the stormy weather, they wanted the barren land," Borden said. "They got it all and a lot more."
What they also got was a taste of Newfoundland hospitality, with locals keeping a respectful distance during shooting and area businesses offering to help out however they could, Borden said.
"We started out on probably the second day that Jason was here and we were unloading," Borden said. "We had like four trucks, a full convoy. And this guy just comes up and said, 'Oh, you're out here to do some filming.'
"He said, 'My cabin is in on the pond, it's the third one. Fire's going, the kettle's boiled, go ahead and use it.' He leaves, everyone goes, 'Oh, that's nice, was that your uncle?' I said, 'I have no idea who he is.' But it's the way Newfoundland people are."
Remote but accessible
Momoa posted video and photos of some of the sites to his popular Instagram account, referring to the Netflix show Frontier and writing "I felt like I was in a dream ... Mahalo to all the amazing producers and crew and guides and friends who have stood by me. Season 3 will be amazing."
Rugged Edge usually gets a couple hundred views on their social media posts, but an Instagram post the actor tagged them in got 400,000 views and about 2,000 comments. They've since had several inquiries about rentals and tours to see the locations.
And while the photos and video shared from the trip certainly look remote, Borden said they're more accessible than many might think — which is a big advantage for the province when it comes to tourism and shoots.
"People ask me about Corner Brook and Newfoundland, and I would say we're from a small place. Everyone comes back and says you know what, you guys are small but you're huge. You've got so much to offer," Borden said.
"Once what Jason is working on comes out, people start seeing the pictures of what's here on the west coast, there's going to be a lot more tourism and people coming to visit based on these scenes."