The Y Couloir; A Wasatch Classic

Knowing the lift lines at the resorts would be heinous, I opted to get a small crew together today and go bag a Wasatch classic. The Y Couloir sits near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon and offers up over 3,000′ of 40+ degree skiing and unbeatable views. If you’re into chute skiing, the Y is a must.

Lots of this...

Lots of this...

The snow was firm making for easy booting, but just chalky enough to enjoy thoroughly on the way down. While not exactly a shooting extravaganza, it felt great to give the legs a workout and challenge myself to come away with some keepers despite the less than ideal shooting conditions.

Andy Harmon, thinking how much this doesn't suck.

Andy Harmon, thinking how much this doesn't suck...

I find the biggest challenge when shooting chute skiing is not to offer up the standard down-slope view of the skier in the couloir. Find something to break up this mundane scene–a tree, a slab of granite, wind-textured snow…anything. Today served as a great excercise in looking past the obvious and searching for the creative.

Parker Cook, letting em' run.

Parker Cook, letting em' run

While these images may not make the final submission edit at the end of the season. they certainly are some of favorites this year simply for the difficulty posed in finding something fresh.

Andy, still loving life.

Andy, still loving life.

Parker, finishing out the Y.

Parker, finishing out the Y.

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Study of an Icon

Lately I’ve been experiencing a bit of an architectural bug. So I decided to launch a project photographing one of Utah’s most cherished icons–the Capitol Building. I’m not entirely sure how this project will play out, what will be captured, etc. I do know, however, that I could shoot this building for the rest of my life and not capture all of the story it has to tell. I’ll let you images do the talking on this post, but keep an eye out for additions to this project in the future.

Edit: These images are looking super yellow. Bear with me while I try and figure out what the dealio is…

Success in Excess: 13 Resorts in One Day

For anyone that has ever skied in Utah, I would imagine one of the prime reasons for visiting was either its snow or its accessibility. Most people are well aware of Utah’s claim to have “The Greatest Snow on Earth”. Few, however, are aware that it has 11 resorts within an hour’s drive of the airport. And fewer still know of the two additional resorts lying within four hours of the airport.

Brian Schott Not Minding Fresh Cord at The Canyons

Brian Schott Not Minding Fresh Cord at The Canyons

So…man has walked on the moon, created electricity, invented the iPhone, and flown around the world. Why, then, hasn’t anyone ever attempted to ski all 13 Utah resorts in one day? Most people will tell you it’s absurd, excessive and just plain ridiculous. I would argue that they have been scared off by the prospect of hopeless defeat in the wee hours of morning or the waning hours of evening.

Jake Bogoch having a "moment" at Powder Mtn.

Jake Bogoch having a "moment" at Powder Mtn.

Alright. Let’s be honest. We weren’t saving the world, learning rocket science or converting water to gas. We were pretty much having a riot of a time proving to anyone who would watch or listen that it can be done, and Utah is just the place to do it.

Victory at Beaver Mountain!!

Victory at Beaver Mountain!!

We had an awesome group–everyone remained enthusiastic and energized throughout the adventure. Check out the video below to experience the journey for yourself!

Video: Ski Utah 13 Resorts in One Day

Resorts (in the order they were skied)

1. Brian Head

2. Sundance

3. Deer Valley Resort

4. Park City Mountain Resort

5. The Canyons

6. Snowbird

7. Alta

8. Brighton

9. Solitude

10. Snowbasin

11. Wolf Mountain

12. Powder Mountain

13. Beaver Mountain

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Published Cover: Wasatch Journal

I’m excited to have landed the cover of this quarter’s Wasatch Journal. Check it out at your local Barnes & Noble or any number of other places in the Salt Lake area. Way to go Brant Moles for killing it in his hunting suit. I also have a 3/4 page spread inside featuring Bryce Phillips at Solitude Mtn. Resort.

Wasatch Journal Winter 2009 Cover

Wasatch Journal Winter 2009 CoverWasatch Journal, Winter 2009

Wasatch Journal, Winter 2009

Wasatch Journal, Winter 2009

And I’m Spent…

In a good way, mind you. The last couple of days have been full of deep snow, cold hands and big grins. Where else for all of this to take place but Solitude Mtn. Resort?

I love Little Cottowood Canyon and it’s associated resorts as much as any powder-crazed skier/photographer, but man Solitude can hold it down when it comes to snow, features, and no crowds to battle when shooting. With a sketchy snowpack, I have been forced to shoot inbounds much more than years past. While frustrating at times, it definitely pushes me to see things in a different way. With so much in the periphery when shooting in-resort, you have to pay attention to anything that can distract the viewer from the good stuff in the image. Whether that be ski tracks, another skier, resort signage, rope lines or any number of other distractions, it really causes me to shoot in a more stringent manner. It also serves as a great opportunity to push creative boundaries in terrain that many ski right past without so much as a nod.

Tuesday was full-on storm shooting at Solitude. You can’t help but notice the towering, scraggly limber pines. These trees make for awesome shooting on storm days. Bare, dead branches claw the blank sky while orange-hued trunks shelter waist-deep powder turns. I find it helpful to move slowly through zones that may hold great photo opportunities. Take your time and search for that image that will have an impact. Be careful not to ski through fresh snow that could be your next great powder shot. These trees are perfect for wide angle shooting. The skier is merely a part of the landscape in many of these images as opposed to being the one and only focal point.

Rob Greener gets deep at the Tood.

Rob Greener gets deep at the Tood.

Shaun Raskin, not blending in with her surroundings at Solitude.

Shaun Raskin, not blending in with her surroundings at Solitude.

Yesterday dawned with (mostly) bluebird skies. I was so happy to have light! I’ve said it before, and I will likely say it a million more times before I die–light is the great maker or breaker of a memorable image. There couldn’t have been greater contrast between Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday I was forced to dig deep to find images that would sing, despite the entire lack of light. On Wednesday, there were images begging to be made around every corner, and under every cliff.

Jared Allen, about to dive in on the goods.

Jared Allen, about to dive in on the goods.

Jared Allen sends it at Solitude.

Jared Allen sends it at Solitude.

Do yourself a favor and head up “that other canyon” some time soon. The skiing is crazy good, and if, like me, you find yourself with camera in hand–you won’t be disappointed in that regard either.

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