POWDER cover

Every ski photographer/athlete always dreams of getting the cover of Powder magazine. Powder is the most prestigious magazine in the ski industry. When I had my first photo published, it was a 2-page spread in the gallery of  the September Powder back in 1999. I was lucky because it was my first year of shooting. For some photographers it takes years just to get into the gallery. Since 1999 I have had many gallery shots in Powder, some years I would have up to three. I thought I would get a cover within a few years. Well the years kept on slipping by and no cover; I have had photos that I thought were strong contenders, but no luck. Covers in foreign magazines did come over the years, even two this year, but no Powder cover.

Earlier last season I met Kalen Thorien. I heard from other athletes that Kalen could lay it down. I saw some of her photos, and I could tell that she had great style and was very photogenic. Throughout last season we would play phone tag but never hooked up until March 20th.

Last year was a piss-poor year for snow in Utah. Then came a classic Wasatch storm cycle that laid down 50 inches in 3 days. The last 14 inches of the storm had a water content of 4.71% with no wind. That morning I met Kalen at Alta with Alex Taran; we got early ups and shot on the back side of Alta. The snow is what every skier dreams of, absolutely perfect blower pow.

My first shot of Kalen ever. After seeing this 8am love in my camera, I knew she had it.

We shot this area for a couple of hours, other photographers started to show up and we knew it was time to beat it. I was thinking about going to Patsy Marley, but I knew there were many photographers and people ahead of us. I decided to gamble and hit lower Grizzly Gulch before anyone got it. Grizzly is a gamble, because many backcountry skiers, jibbers and photographers frequent it. It also was late March so I was worried it might be too warm and the snow would be shit. What I did know was the sun would be just hitting it and the light would be magical. When we got to the gulch I was very surprised to find the place completely pristine, not one track, no roller balls and zero people. I knew we had to move fast to beat the people and the radiant heating of the snow from the sun. Alex went first and the snow was billowing over her, sometimes too deep is not good because you lose your subject. I told Kalen to not go as fast and make more turns.

This is the cover shot uncropped. It was the third turn of the sequence.

My first Powder cover in its full glory.

We continue to track up the whole area. I got many great shots that day, but I knew this was the shot of the day. This time I was right.  :)

Powder photo editor Dave Reddick let me know I had the cover in late August and not to let Kalen know. Here’s how we surprised her.

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