I grew up watching the ski movies of Greg Stump. Greg’s movies not only highlighted amazing locations and skiing, but also contained a story line. Translation – not just containing what has been deemed in the ski films of today as ski porn. Now enter another visionary. I have known of Vancouver based photographer Jordan Manley for many years. His work inspires me on all levels. He is now bringing his still image skills to video and the latest episode of his A Skier’s Journey Series highlights his creative take on the world in the alps of Japan. Jordan is going to bring the ski film industry into a whole new era. Thank you for now inspiring me on multiple levels Jordan. Let me know what you think of his work.
This week’s motion post is taking us to my favorite spot on the planet. Well maybe not the planet, but definitely in North America. The Tetons of Jackson, Wyoming. A little tilt-shift video created by Tristan Greszko - absolutely fabulous!
Most serious cyclists break out the Bic at one point in their life or another. “It is for the road rash.” or “For the speed.” Or maybe because they just feel cool with silky, smooth, super, supple, soft legs–for a day. Yes, I do shave my legs, but not in some crazy cyclist fashion, even though I manage to ride an average of four days a week. No, I shave because of my ski boots. And because I am not one hundred percent confident in my masculinity (not true I swear), I don’t take those babies down from the groin to the ankle either. Nope, I take it off only where the intense pain lies in my ski boots–right in the shin. You see, what happens as I ski day-in and day-out those little shin hairs get wedged between my ski sock and ski boot and every time that I pressure into a turn, those hairs get torqued. Torqued to the point of ripping out. Just do it fast like a band-aid. So badly so that they will bleed profusely. Nice. When my wife is not looking, I steal her Bic in the shower, add her soap, and take those puppies down. And of course in pure manhood, I leave her the present of all of my leg hair floating in her razor. I usually hear the “fucking man” from the shower at 5am while I am still in a dazed dream state. Now we just need to add snow to this freakin’ winter.
Well, finally, it snowed. It has literally been since November, but on the final day of the year, Mount Baker got hit with a foot of new snow. Owen Dudley, Tyler Hatcher and myself headed out to see what we could make of a perfect stormy day. You can view more of the images on the Mount Baker Ski Area website. Now, we just need this to continue so we can do it again, and again, and again–much like the movie Groundhog Day. I guess if you love it, repeating it is not really a torture. Happy New Year!
Very long and very lonely. I have finally returned home after eight weeks of continuous travel. I have been to California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, and Hawaii. My wife has taken my balls clean off. I now talk in a much higher voice. You know what though? All was for a greater good. A greater bank account good. During that time frame there has been a flurry of activity. A ton of accomplishments. Success.
My whole trip began with a mountain bike mission in Colorado. A story on the riding in Eagle, where I lived for over a decade, mere days after my father’s passing. It was soul cleansing and an experience that will be shared with thousands in the coming year. Then in Montana while shooting for Hilton, I managed to pull an evening of unsuspected mountain bike shooting off, thanks to my assistant in Missoula–Catherine Walters. She rounded up a bunch of her friends who went off for my high speed shutter.
We managed to get on Cloudveil Clothing’s website and in their catalog. Many thanks to Mark Kogelmann, Owen Dudley, Tyler Hatcher, and Peder Bottheim for appeasing the neurotic photographer that day.
As if that weren’t enough. Adobe did a spotlight interview with me for their photoshop.com website. HOW COOL IS THAT!
And finally, just today I received my copy of the Mount Baker Experience where they featured a bunch of my images on their website and in their print edition. All of this made possible by a (previously) patient wife, grumpy kids, and some amazing people I have met along the way. I am spoiled rotten.
We (meaning me and a dozen skiers) spent most of last winter photographing skiing. Along the way, I captured some motion footage to go along with the five thousand stills that made the edit. Tie that together with a simple concept and you have a lot of time spending money. Actually, you might as well be burning hundreds at a time. You wonder why blockbusters cost so much to make? Because it just isn’t easy. And all I want in the end is to have a five minute long piece that highlights what I do through the winter months on a daily basis. Finally, I had some time to sit down and cut together the trailer to hopefully get you in the mood. A little foreplay shall we say? Enjoy. Coming soon to a social media site near you. Actually, right in front of you.
The sky is deep blue. Stars still lingering to the west. Bitter cold. Tires crunch as they roll to a stop in the parking lot. The tailpipe smoke quickly evaporates in the still, cold air. Doors open and close. Skis hit the ground. The ripping of skins, clicking of boot buckles, flicking of binding locks, exhale, it’s cold and you’re off. Pole, slide, step, pole, slide, step. Up through the trees. Towards the higher ridge tops. The wind starts to move the air ever so slightly. One thousand vertical, half way there. Still dark, but clear for once.
Warming. Time to shed a layer. Heart pounding. Snow deepening. Pole, slide, step. Higher still. Sixteen hundred. Seventeen hundred. The volcanos have the faintest glow of light. A tinge of pink. Colder. Windier. Trees, gone. Lines in the snow from the wind. Deep snow. Four feet. Almost there. You look back. Your partner is right with you. Both amped. Both swarming with adrenaline. A glimmer in the eye, sparkle in the tooth. Grinning ear to ear. This is GOING TO BE GOOD.
You look down below the crest. Forty five degrees of pure white. Untouched. The sun is starting to warm. The air moves in its warm convection. Ice crystals hit your face. Pulling skins. Locking bindings. Zipping packs. Gloves on. Boots buckled. Hat on. Pants zipped. Goggles out. Transceivers checked. Heart elevating. Moving. Ready? Who? “You or me?” You. Inhale. Deep. Eyes? Check. One last re-check. Pack on. Buckled. Ready? Yep. Drop? Dropping.
Turn one. Ski cut. Stable. Turn back up hill. “Got you rings out.”
Turn two. One more cut with a hard push. Nothing moves. ? Dropping.
Turn three. Picking up speed. Feeling the snow flow. Soft. Stable. Cold. The sun peeks out. Turning everything orange. Two hundred feet.
Turn four. Speed increasing. Feeling more. Snow moving. Speed. Marker passed. White carpet out in front.
Turn five.” Oh, the red button there kid, don’t ever, ever touch the red button!” Too late, Pressed. HOLD ON. Brain fifty, one hundred, one fifty feet back. G forces kicking in. YES! Metallica on…
Turn six. Brain catching up. Holy shit you’re flying. Driving a wake. “Chewie make the jump to lightspeed.” Afterburner on. Breathe. Hold. Drive. Speed. Faster. Faster. Adrenaline ON. Exhale.
Turn seven. A wake bigger than Pipeline on Oahu. Breathe. Exhale. Faster. Faster. Faster.
Turn eight. Hitting the runout. Damn. Deceleration. In…Goose, “I can’t reach the ejection handle.”
Turn nine. Ripcord pulled. Ejection. One last high speed sweeping arc to the finish. Safety. You look back. The mark is laid. Sloughs litter the face. Movement everywhere. Snow still falling out of the air. Two thousand vertical in two seconds. Inhale. Catch your breath. Look up, poles straight up. Off the wind you hear, “DROPPING.” You relive the line again. Skis hit the ground. The ripping of skins, clicking of boot buckles, flicking of binding locks…again.
Many of you have been wondering where the heck I have been. It has been how many weeks since my last post? I know, I know, inconsistency is not good for Google, SEO, PPO, CPS, NPS, LLC, INC, and whatever other abbreviations you can come up with. Seriously though, I have been working like a crazy man. 21 days of photographing skiing, 14 days of teaching workshops, and then image mastering–tons of mastering, keywording, descriptions, titles, and headlines. And let’s not forget the proposals for upcoming projects. Days are just flying by, I can’t believe it’s almost April?
I have put together submissions to Patagonia, Powder Magazine, Black Diamond Equipment, and a major calendar company. I taught a workshop with my dear friend Art Wolfe in Seattle on the art of composing images, then I taught two HDR workshops at this year’s NANPA Summit in McAllen, TX, and the whole time in-between working to create the best ski portfolio ever. This is where I need to add a special thank you to all of the athletes who have been working with me–Mark Kogelmann, Owen Dudley, Peder Bottheim, Tyler Hatcher, Nick Marvic, Colin Poff, Pat Tolton, and Ian Burge. The images would be nothing without them. Now, I would also like to thank the Academy…I think it just feels good to complete missions and projects. It’s like adding another notch to the bedpost. Or something like that. Laugh. Oh and there will be a film highlighting all this work sometime this spring, with an interview with ah…me. We are thinking of calling it life | SENTENCES, what do you think?
I have been to Seattle, Texas, Canada, and now as you read this China. Yep, JG Inc. is going international–again, this time crossing the monster pond. If I can sort out an internet connection while there, (which I am hoping I can do) I will post some of the work I am creating while there.
As if that wasn’t enough, l have managed to fill all but 2 of my workshops. China–FULL, The Olympic Peninsula–FULL, Zion–FULL, Lightroom 3–space left, and Alaska–space left. The Alaska trip is being co-lead with Art Wolfe, so why wouldn’t you want to go? I mean it is not everyday that you get to drink really good Tequila and Bourbon with really good photographers. Right? And in the future, I promise to try and enlighten the world at least once a week with something intriguing, if not, it will at least be completely off the wall, humorous, and as misdirected as a Jack Russell Terrier.
Just wait a week and things will definitely change. Last week I wrote about the skunking Mother Nature delivered to us a Mount Baker, but this week was an entirely different story. Mark Kogelmann and I spent all of Friday partaking in some of the best conditions of the season on Mount Baker. 36 inches of new snow in 48 hours. I remember when I lived in Vail and a 8-10 inch storm was to die for, now I don’t even ski if that is all we receive and at Baker the tend is usually to serve up monsters. Last week Mount Baker received some 5 feet of new snow! What is not to love. When that happens, I am out there burning a whole in my brand new season pass and shooting photos to highlight this season. Not too let the whole cat out of the bag, look for more images taken this day on the new website when it launches on 1-1-11.
I have been skiing for 25 years now. If I were about to turn 30 and not 40, I probably would be some kind of professional athlete instead of a photographer. Maybe? I only say this because statistically most professional athletes are exposed to their sport at an early age, usually before they can really walk. The “experts” say by 5, I didn’t start skiing until I was 15. However, there is nothing to say that I wouldn’t hate skiing if I were exposed to it at that early of an age and be exactly at the same point in life regardless. I can say though, that skiing is my sport. It is my heroin. No reasonable offer to ski will be turned down, ever, period. I can’t really explain why, I just love it. There are many mistresses in my life (sorry to my wife and my kids) fortunately, they are all favorite lines in the backcountry of some mountainous place. Some have hated me, some have treated me with open arms and others have gone unnoticed. The key to all of the best lines though is the snow. The best dressed gets my respect, always.
Recently, I had hands-down the best day of this season. It was the culmination of a week long storm cycle that brought close to 8 feet of new snow to the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. The snow phone at Mount Baker Ski Area reported 16 inches new in the past 24 hours and snowing heavily. I arrived at the maelstrom only to agree whole heartedly. It was dumping! Close to 2 inches an hour at times. I think there was 8 additional inches by Noon. Then came the crescendo, the break, visibility. Intermittent at first, then more and more towards clear blue bird. I pushed on, my sore and tired body fueled by the availability to see. A day that ended at 4:30pm with this–the gift. For every skier, the beauty of the mountains, beholds the key to finding those amazing lines.