What can you do with a reindeer and nine raccoons in seven days? If you’re in Finland, you sew it up nice, tack a pretty price tag like $16,500 on it and ship it to Canada where we can’t think of such good uses for our racoons. No fewer than nine of the little devils gave their souls for the lovely Duohta Vuohta Aksovaara Painted Parka. It’s one of just 36 made worldwide using only natural materials and environmentally friendly production. Each coat is made by one artisan who takes seven days to produce it, and two days to hand paint the details and sign off on the finished product. The brand means “Truth” in Sami. Exclusive to Sporting Life in Canada.
Join the crowd just north of Montreal at Mont Saint-Sauveur this January and February as DJs go head-to-head again in a music battle on four sleep-deprived Saturday nights. Samedis Insomniaque also offers 7:00 p.m. to midnight lift tickets for just $19.
While some ski equipment and clothing manufacturers still haven’t picked up on the value and spending power of the older demographic, ski areas seem to have noticed who in the lift line has a padded wallet these days.
Resort-marketing firm Ryan Solutions asks lots of interesting ski-biz questions, including: How does a skier’s age relate to the likelihood he or she will return to a particular ski resort? With three seasons of lodging data collected from 10 resorts across North America, RS not surprisingly learned that the older the skier, the more likely he or she is to return to a resort—which fits nicely with other research showing older skiers stay longer and spend more bees and honey per day.
Marketers who still think if you’re not into hucking 20-metre cliffs, then an ad campaign of Gold Bond Powder and walk-in bathtubs is appropriate, need to get with the times.
Winter shooting has many benefits: the sun stays low, resulting in ideal long shadows; the snow’s natural reflective qualities fill in the dark spots, combining for the closest you’ll approach to studio conditions in the field; and bluebird skies result in a greater depth of field, making the shooting of movement easy.
With the lighting taken care of, the next step to a great shot is framing. Scout the mountains for that quintessential view—ideally with virgin snow foregrounds. Descend first (one of the many benefits of being a ski photographer) and have your models hold back while you set up. There’s rarely anything spontaneous about ski photography. Once I get my frame, I throw a snowball so my model knows where I want him or her to turn, and in which direction. I then shoot the surrounding scene—the perfect framing with the background I want.
Without changing my camera’s controls or position, I call my models down one at a time. Each rider will ski a line inside the other, each coming closer to me on new snow and hiding the line of the previous skier with spray. In case I get my framing wrong (the skier often ends at the centre of the viewfinder no matter how hard you try), I intentionally shoot scenics that I can splice together, if necessary, at home. In the vertical shots to the right, my 80-200mm lens couldn’t catch the skiers and the sky. I didn’t have time to change lenses (we were at Selkirk Wilderness), so I took two photos and matched them at home.
In the colour shot (top), I wanted to highlight one of Switzerland’s more famous peaks, the Jungfrau, with the skier in the foreground. We waited for the tram to enter the frame (to show that you can get this kind of snow with lift access), and Martin (the model) did the rest, hamming it up with a massive plume. He skied on his uphill leg for added effect. Presto, I got both the skier and some insane scenery—and a toothpaste-ad smile!
In a good photo, like most creative endeavours, it’s all in the set-up. Pressing the shutter is the afterthought.
Overheard at the annual Canada West Ski Areas Association spring garden party:
› Whistler contributes 22 per cent of B.C.’s Tourism GDP
› Ski clubs and racing is surging at specific ski areas, including Panorama where parents have approached the resort wanting to buy two runs for their private use
› Lift ticket prices may seem high but the average recouped revenue for a resort in Alberta and B.C. (after all the expenses and discounting) is actually $39
› Average number of days skied per season for Canadian skiers: 7.6
› Average age: 38.6
› As the core group of skiers continues to age, the 18-32 age group (as well as the number of snowboarders) continues to decline
› B.C. represents 30 per cent of Canadian skier-visits
› Percentage of western skiers deemed “visible minority” (not including those in loud ski clothing): 12.2
Most vertical climbed & skied in one month
His 24-hour record is 50,000 feet. In 2010 he climbed and skied two-million vertical feet. So last March Greg Hill set a new goal and, in the process, a new record for the most vertical climbed and skied over a month: 100 km. (That’s up and down, under his own steam!) Hill never repeated the same lines in his Revelstoke adventure that allowed the backcountry guru to test products for Salomon and Suunto. The appropriately named Hill climbed and skied roughly 4,000 metres every seven-hour day with a day of rest every four. In the process, he summitted 10 peaks. More heart, lungs and thighs at greghill.ca.