The First Day Back on Snow Since Last Winter

I just spent this past weekend up in the Cascade Mountains of Washington… a place that feels much like my home away from home. I say this because for a large portion of my life, I’ve spent the bulk of my existence in the mountains, more specifically in the mountains during winter.

When I first started my career in photography it was focused solely on skiing. I spent all of my time behind the lens, traveling around the world in pursuit of exotic mountains and deep snow.
However, in time as I’ve grown my career, and expanded it to other styles and subject matters I’m not able to spend my every waking day on snow. And although I may not shoot skiing as much as I had in the past, there’s still a large part of who I am that’s tied up in skiing and being in the mountains. It’s where my roots are and it’s where I feel truly comfortable and at home.
So when the weather here in Seattle recently started to shift to the grey, and gloomy overcast that the Northwest is so famous for, most everyone around me fell into their winter depression. I on the other hand lit up inside. Soon I would be back up in the mountains again… knee deep in snow, freezing my ass off and smiling.
Friday morning came and I had spent the night before much like a child on Christmas Eve does… trying to fall asleep as quickly as possible so that morning would come and the rewards of the day would be upon me. I rose early, started the coffee maker, grabbed my ski gear, loaded the car and prepared myself for the two hour drive to Crystal Mountain.
I usually don’t do well waiting for anything, and the idea of sitting still for two hours is usually murder for me. But there’s always been something calming to me about driving to the mountains. It’s a time to reflect, to listen to good music, to drink coffee, to catch up with friends and to enjoy a slow start to your day. Most days, I’m bombarded the very moment I wake up with work, emails and the chores of daily living. But on this day (and every other day I spend in the mountains) I get to enjoy the start of the day at a snails pace… and I love it.
In an attempt to preserve the first day of the winter I tried to cut back on the amount of work that was involved, and instead tried to focus on the pure enjoyment of skiing. This was not going to be one of my big “ad days” where I capture that perfect moment that lands on the cover of a resort brochure or on the product hang tag of a new pair of skis. No, today was about trying to remember what keeps me coming back to the mountains every winter year after year after year.
So, with this in mind, I stashed my camera pack for the bulk of the day and instead chose to ski for the pure pleasure of it. The only camera I took with me was the one on my iPhone and the shots I’ve included on this post are from that.
They’re not images of skiers descending obscenely steep, cliff ridden faces. It’s not the images I’ve built my career on of skiers neck deep in shimmering powder either. These photos are the images that speak to me about the soul of skiing. They’re the moments beyond the sport that speak to the calmness and serenity that you experience when you’re out in nature (no I’m not a hippy, I promise).
So, the point to all my rambling in the preceding paragraphs is this… this post is meant to share some of the reasons why I ski. It’s been a way for me to get back in touch with the very reasons I first fell in love with skiing and photography. To go back to capturing the simple moments, without a big fancy camera or lighting equipment or world famous athletes. And instead, focus on the simplistic things around us that make us happy.
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