This year I teamed up with Reuben Krabbe for the Arc’teryx Deep Winter Photo Challenge.
This event sees 6 invited photographers and their chosen teams of athletes compete for a $5000 prize for best slideshow. Each team has three days at Whistler/Blackcomb in bounds to capture imagery and create a show that is judged on action, creativity, storyline/theme and overall impression.
While conditions were extremely difficult (we hadn’t seen fresh snowfall in a couple of weeks) we still had a blast cruising around the hill looking for good light, interesting features and patches of fresh snow. Our team consisted of Tatum Monod, James McSkimming, Rupert Davies, myself and photo assistant, Michael Overbeck.
When it was all said and done, our team took home the second place prize! However, the contest isn’t over yet. Please take a minute to swing by and vote for Reuben Krabbe for People’s Choice here:
Thanks for the vote!
Enjoy the show:
I recently linked up with Whistler local and professional photographer Mason Mashon to grab a few photo samples from our 3 days of shooting on hill at Whistler for the Arc’teryx Deep Winter Photo Challenge this past winter. We had a very talented crew of skiers and boarders and I’m pretty sure our laughs echoed through the valley as we dashed from locale to locale in search of good light and unique features. Huge thanks to Mason and the rest of the gang for their hard work and all around awesomeness! I hope I can be a part of this competition again next year.
To see the rest of the collection check out my 11/12 Photo Samples Page under “BIZ.”
Why I love Whistler reason #176: Summer glacier skiing!
When the regular ski season ended I made my way into the British Columbia wilderness for a couple shifts at tree planting camp. I started out on beautiful Shuswap Lake North of Salmon Arm and then spent a two weeks East of Vernon near Cherryville. Planting trees is hard work but I really enjoy it. To me it’s a great way to keep the mind and body in tune simultaneously. What other job can you listen to your favorite tunes 8 hours a day while cruising around on uneven ground with weighted bags on? Shoot, when I put it that way it does sound a lot like ski touring… haha.
When I finished pounding trees into the earth I made my journey home to Whistler for a completely different summer gig; coaching skiing on the Blackcomb Glacier at Camp of Champions. Campers of all ages from all over the world make their way to Whistler in the summer to ski one of the best terrain parks on the planet. I really enjoy meeting other people with a genuine stoke for the sport of skiing, and summer camp draws these folk like ants to a picnic. Personally as a coach I have three general goals for my campers. 1) They leave having learned something, 2) They play safe and 3) They have fun!
Here are two letters I received from campers after their sessions at camp:
“Hey Austin, it’s Percy, one of your campers from Session C… I’d like to say thanks for being my coach and making camp a super fun place and teaching me so much more than I expected to learn!”
- @PercyHoltz (15) via Instagram
“Thanks again for the great week! Hopefully I make it out to Whistler this winter to shred!”
- @Andy_Black7 (16) via Instagram
For more information on summer camp and to see video and photos from this summer check out www.campofchampions.com
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the awesomeness this summer and I hope to see ya’ll again next year!
Kevin Arnold hired me and Matt Elliot for the day to ski some of our favorite lines off the Peak Chair on Whistler Mountain while he captured the action on the Red Epic cam. This is what we came up with, hope you enjoy.
“This winter, I had an opportunity to shoot with the RED EPIC camera. The EPIC is typically used on large sets, but RED provided me with a custom, pared-down rig for handheld shooting. The idea was to create print-worthy stills and cinema-quality video at the same time, with the same camera. Though not without it’s challenges, the experiment was a success, and the still images will be featured in RED’s upcoming brochure for the camera.” – Kevin Arnold
Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are both officially open and I must say, the times are good! While it isn’t exactly the snow we lucked out with this time last year, there has still been plenty of the goods to go around!
With only one rest day in the last two weeks, my legs are beginning to feel comfortable hammering turns in the deep stuff once again. I woke to a foot of fresh snow on my deck this morning so we spent the day rallying in the trees as flakes continued to fall. Since opening I’ve been skinning up to the Horstman Hut on Blackcomb, or the Bump Room on Whistler Peak in search of more vertical and some deeper snow before our little storm hit last night. I even had my first turns down Ruby Bowl a couple days ago with Kye, Callum, and Tobin.
Here’s a really quick chop with the new GoPro from a couple tree runs on Whistler yesterday.
My parents are the most inspiring people in my life.
My dad moved to Whistler in 1977 to chase his love of skiing and the outdoors. He built and lived in the squat cabin in the woods for 8 years off of the West Side Road (about a 10 minute drive from Whistler Village). There’s still a bike route there called “Bart’s Dark Trail” and you can even see his old bathtub in the creek. Dad’s been ski patrolling at Whistler for over 20 years. On the deep days he spends his mornings doing avalanche control so the rest of us can shred the mountain safely.
My mum, Sue has so many talents. She paints beautiful pictures on plates, oars, canvas and driftwood among other things; she rides horses, plays guitar and sings, bakes a legendary apple pie and can keep the laughs going all day long. This winter she’ll be in Japan teaching skiing for Club Med at Sahora Resort. Here’s an article about her from the magazine Best Of Whistler (1996).
Zoya and I decided to take advantage of the bright skies this morning and went for another day trip up Whistler Mountain, we called Turpin in Pemberton and he was down for an adventure and before we knew it we were driving towards the freshies. It had snowed a fair bit since Pierrot and I went so we were able to put our skins on earlier and ski out further at the end of the day. It’s always nice to have to work for your turns a bit because it makes it that much more special when the lifts do start spinning.
Nik Spence, Callum P, Leo Hoorn and I all moved in together in September to an old A frame ski cabin in Alpine. Pemberton was an amazing place to live the last few years but I’m excited to be closer to the mountain this winter.
These two got down to business on this fresh edit as soon as Cal’s disc of TGR footy arrived. Guaranteed to get you pumped up to ski! Sit back and enjoy.
It’s been snowing non stop since the 16th when I got back from Japan. I’ve been skiing everyday! Lately I’ve been getting back to my roots and re discovering all of my favourite lines on Whistler Mountain. In the last few seasons I’ve been getting more days on Blackcomb, so it’s been refreshing exploring new areas.
Yesterday I went snowmobiling up Sproat Mountain (south of Whistler) with Dan Carr. I had lots of fun looking for fun features and lines and skiing deep untracked snow. We spent all day on one lap and at the end we finished it off with a nice skin back to the snowmobile up top.
All this snow in town has raised our spirits here in Whistler after a considerably weak season. Keep an eye out for my next webisode with Epic Mountain Video, it should be out within the next few days.
Wanted to send my best to my bros Callum, Sean, Kye and Dane over in Nelson for Cold Rush. Get some boys! Hope the snow’s been good!
Have fun out there everyone, and play safe.
Ciao for now. :)
Thursday could’ve been one of my best days at Whistler/Blackcomb ever! First of all, it had snowed the last few days and on in the morning I woke to a flawless blue sky. Blue bird powder days are a rarity in Whistler and luckily I had plans to get out and shoot with photo legend Eric Berger and skier Chad Sayers.
We started the day with early lift access on the Peak chair where we made use of a head start on the public by skiing some great pockets of snow. We made our way to Harmony and got permission to do some hiking in Feltchers before the chair even opened. After our first run we lapped Harmony back to the top and milked our way back down to the chair being sure to shoot anything that looked good and fresh along the way.
After a quick snack we jumped in the helicopter and flew from the top of Emerald Chair to the Blackcomb Peak. After scoping our lines down an untracked Disease Ridge we landed on the highest possible point of Blackcomb Mountain. Our first turns out of the bird were amazing and before we knew it we were breaking trail through waist deep powder to ski our lines. We worked our way down Disease Ridge and followed the cornice to Lakeside Bowl. An eerie layer of light fog rolled through just as we finished up around 4pm and we ski’d out the Seventh Heaven road to the valley where it was time for a stretch and a brew. Thanks for an awesome day boys!
Here are some pictures I took throughout the day along with some pictures from Eric Berger. Check his site!
Whistler/Blackcomb has made some thoughtful changes this season that should not go unnoticed. Up until this year every restaraunt had multiple garbage cans making it all too easy for people to quickly dispose of everything left on their trays after their meal. Cans and bottles that could be recycled, left over food that should be composted and paper were thrown away. Luckily they have now hired a whole team of people to take the trays to a special area and sort through them. Remember going in for water breaks and having to fill three of those tiny plastic cups to wet your tongue before tossing them in the garbage and carrying on? This year they’ve introduced large, red, reusable plastic cups to further elminate unnecessary waste. Nice work team! I’d like to give everyone a friendly reminder to be conscious of what you can do to help preserve the earth. Re use water bottles, carry cloth grocery bags and turn the water off when your brushing your teeth. Every little bit helps. For more information check out http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=8B2F9F48-1Af
If you look closely at the left tower you can see a whole sandwich. Enough said.
Yesterday as I ski’d down from Blackcomb Mountain and made my way to the base of the hill I noticed a large crowd gathered at the Fitzimmons bus loop. Firemen, police officers, paramedics and Whistler Mountain ski patrollers were on the scene. Tower four of the Excalibur Gondola broke in half and sent three gondola cabins bouncing on the cable. One of the cabins went through the corner of a bus shelter, one was left hanging above the creek and the other got lodged between a tree and a house. There were no major injuries reported and everyone was evacuated safely.
Our first part of the day was spent learning what equipment/tools are necessary to carry when travelling in the backcountry and some basics regarding how a glacier moves and what signs to be on the look out for when alpine touring.
Here, Guillaume Otis, one of our guides shows us a diagram of a ski anchor system used to save someone who’s fallen inside a crevasse.
Next we all headed up Blackcomb Mountain to the Rendezvous Restaraunt where we watched a demonstration on how to to properly set up a C haul system to rescue a crevasse victim.
Here’s Kye making a chest and leg harness out of a piece of webbing. This is super important to know in case the person you’re saving isn’t wearing a harness.
Two of our three guides, Guillaume from Canada and Christoff from Chamonix, France.
Local ripper and the only snowboarder in the course, Geoff Bate listens as Christoff shows us some knot tying.
Andrew Bradley, roped in.
The third, and most fun part of our course was when we headed into the field to put our knowledge to the test. Here’s the crew at the top of the Blow Hole on Blackcomb Glacier. Time to see how well everyone was paying attention.
Guillaume waist deep in his ski anchor hole.
Matty Richard showing us his prussik.
Thanks to Guillaume, Alex and Christoff for passing along important parts of their extensive knowledge to the rest of us. Look forward to our next course together! If anyone is interested in getting a group together to take a specialized backcountry ski/snowboard course visit The Nordic Shop located next to Buffalo BIlls in Whistler Village. Backcountry safety procedures are super important for anyone wanting to take the next step in enjoying the alpine and exploring further from their resort.
The cloud layer hovered around mid mountain today keeping everyone in the valley trapped in the fog. The rest of us that were lucky enough to be in the alpine were blessed with some breathtaking views and great snow. Matty Richard, Brett Crabtree, Maxim Arsenault and I boot packed from the top of Jersey Cream chair up the Seventh Heaven road to the Blackcomb Peak. Our mission today was Husumi.
The cat road.
Acadian, Matty Richard.
The North face of Fissile. Can’t wait.
Whistler Mountain from Blackcomb.
Top of the first climb. Max and I traversed to the Blow Hole while Brett and Matty had some nice turns on the bomb tram.
Matty on his way to traverse to our final boot pack. There were a lot of open crevasses, everyone had to be aware of their line.
The final traverse to Husumi was the most consequential part of the day. The opening was a small mandatory air and there was no crashing, otherwise you’d be deep in the glacier. Check out these crevasses.
The view in from the top of our line. Spirits are high as we all drop in. Definately well worth the work for some awesome pow pow.
Here’s the view from the bottom, seconds after we ski’d. Time to race the rescue road and get some food!
Sublime day boys! Thanks for the vibe session.
What’s up shred bros and sistahs?? Hope everyone’s ski season has started out well. It’s hard to believe it’s December here in Whistler, there isn’t any snow on the ground! Obstacles that are usually hidden deep beneath our coastal snow pack are protruding out in all directions. While this can be somewhat dangerous, it also adds a certain entertainment factor.
Yesterday Kye, Callum, Pierrot and I made use of the two runs open on Whistler Mountain by linking together some natural features. We had a quarter pipe up top, a perfect backflip jump, a hefty fence gap, a giant snow wall perfect for presses and a roller section at the bottom that made my legs feel like rubber. Today we spun laps of Blackcomb’s Highest Level park airing off the knowls getting our 360s back.
If you haven’t already tried them, get out and ski on a pair of Rossignol S7′s! I’ll tell you the same thing I told the handful of people that commented on them at the mountain, “they’ll change your skiing, and change your life.” The reverse camber style ski is the hottest thing since cheese graders!
Shout out to everyone that still went skiing/riding today even though we woke to the sound of rain on our rooves. It’s refreshing to see so many people all sharing their love of the mountain and the sport, even with the lack of snow in this town. Let’s all send some energy to Mother Nature so she’ll grace us with some big flakes soon. I know I’m dreaming of a White Christmas!
So I’m learning how to manage my new website and I just figured out how to link videos from youtube.com! I wanted to share an edit with you that I made last spring in a couple days at Whistler/Blackcomb with the help of my buddy Blair Richmond. There’s some shakey helmet cam footy (from Baldface) at the beginning that may make you a bit dizzy but hang in there. The edit is mostly rails and boxes in the park. This is just an example of the kind of videos you can expect to be updated on this site all season long. Keep checking back for more jumps, pow slashing, cliff drops, pillows and trees and some cool urban set ups. Hope you enjoy! Cheers!