Vail Valley’s EEF4K Productions celebrates 25 years
Video production company is known for its work in the nation’s ski industry
The late Jon Efraimson would be proud.
Along with Hayden Scott, Efraimson was one of the founding partners of the firm that has become EEF4K Productions, a video production company that has established a strong reputation in and around the culture of skiing.
The firm is celebrating its 25th anniversary — most of it without Efraimson, who died of cancer at just 36 only a few years after co-founding the company that bears his name.
That name sprung from Efraimson’s nickname, “Eef.” That’s who people always asked for when they called, Scott said, so the name stuck.
EEF4K has become a family affair, at least for now. Scott’s sons, Gavin and Liam, are both involved in the company. Liam is on the video production part of the business, while Gavin has been helping on the business side of things.
“That’s the most pleasing thing — I get to do this with my two sons,” Scott said.
The company started with a couple of avid skiers with an eye for video production, and work came quickly, thanks to working with Vail Resorts. The company was first just in Vail and Beaver Creek but quickly expanded to Breckenridge and Keystone.
“Within a year, we’d bumped up to eight employees,” Scott said.
Thanks to investors, the company soon made its first big capital purchase, editing equipment that at the time cost an eye-watering $60,000. Similar software these days comes free with many laptop computers.
Over the years, EEF4K has worked with the Colorado Snowsports Museum, the Vail Valley Foundation and the World Pro Ski Tour.
At the museum, director Jen Mason said one of the impressive things about Scott is his willingness to travel to get the right shots.
The company every year puts together the video tributes to the museum’s hall of fame inductees.
Mason noted that the video tributes are largely people talking about inductees.
People often ask if they can just submit videos shot with their phones, Mason said. Scott always declines and drives all over the state to shoot video himself.
“It really makes a difference,” Mason said. “(Scott) really does a phenomenal job.”
Jon Franklin, the CEO of the World Pro Ski Tour, said Scott’s understanding of skiing and ski racing is a crucial element of his company’s productions.
“There’s nobody better to have working on a ski production — he’s got the eye,” Franklin said. “He’s a true partner in producing a quality event.”
The company has also done a lot of work over the years with the Vail Valley Foundation.
“The relationship between EEF Productions and the Vail Valley Foundation goes back to the very beginning 25 years ago,” Vail Valley Foundation President Mike Imhof wrote in an email.
“EEF has been one of our longest standing vendors doing outstanding work across every area of our arts, athletics, and education mission. A substantial portion of our archived video content can be directly attributed to EEF.”
Imhof added that the EEF team has been a partner across two Alpine World Ski Championships (in 1999 and 2015), World Cup races, the Mountain Bike World Championships, the Honda Session, 25 years of Alpine World Cups, including the most recent Birds of Prey event in December, the 2001 Mountain Bike World Championships, the American Ski Classic, Vilar Performing Arts Center and numerous other foundation programs.
The company also recently was honored with an International Ski Association Film Award for “Spider Lives,” a tribute to ski racer Spider Sabich.
Not all smooth sailing
While work is plentiful these days, a company doesn’t survive 25 years without hitting the occasional rough patch.
Scott recalled that in 2007 or so, the year before the 2008 national recession hit home hard in the high country, EEF had six full-time employees and a studio in Avon.
In addition to economic tough times, technology had advanced to the point that his competition quickly changed.
Competitors were no longer similarly-sized companies, but young shooters with a good camera, an editing suite and little else.
“We had to pivot pretty fast,” Scott said. He quickly moved most of his employees to freelancers, sold his studio space and has been working from home ever since.
“Once you make the adjustment, it’s been great,” Scott said.
While working with his sons has been a thrill, Scott said, he knows the current situation isn’t exactly a succession plan.
“Right now, we’re having a lot of fun working together,” Scott said. “But I’ll be just as proud if they choose their own paths.”
For now, though, there’s another event to shoot.