Monday, September 17, 2007

Photo Tales 1

Jason West, Crest Drop at Brighton, UT. Photo by Steve Lloyd. Karhu Team skier Jason West takes flight over the Wasatch on the new Team 130. Karhu full-page ad, September 2007 Powder Magazine Buyer’s Guide.

This was one of those sure-thing photos from the moment it landed on our desk. We see a lot of great freeride shots from Steve with Jason going big, but the perspective on this shot was perfect. Here’s the tale behind the photograph, from Jason and Steve:

It was fairly early in the season at Brighton, Utah; the Millicent lift hadn’t even opened yet. It had snowed over a foot of fresh the day before, one of the first big storms that snowed enough to actually huck something. As the storm wrapped up, we didn't have access to our usual terrain and drops on the Millicent side, so we sessioned this air trying to get the skier/photographer timing just right. It’s a 35-40-foot air inbounds at Brighton, directly under one of the main lifts. It’s always been an obvious hit, but it doesn’t get skied often. The perspective was achieved by Steve shooting from the lift as he's moving over the drop. We had to time it out perfectly to be in the air and shooting directly over the cliff. There’s a lot of heckling from people on the lift to hit it while you’re waiting.

The air is on a small, but steep, terrain feature where the snow builds up to form several natural takeoffs. The takeoff is blind, so you can’t see the landing until you are on the lip. You have to scout it well and pick out a tree in the distance that’s in line with your landing. It takes some good speed, because you have to clear some big boulders near the bottom of it and line up your landing in specific spots. The landing – well below, out of frame – is what makes it so exciting to me. It’s a perfect landing, but small, basically a narrow opening between old-growth trees. The steepest part of the landing means landing right up next to the nearest trees. On this day, it was like landing in a Styrofoam pit. I think that this was the first day we actually shot a cliff last year. It was definitely big grins for the whole day!

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