Steve Casimiro rigged a camera to his chest, held the remote trigger device in his mouth, and launched himself into the Canale della Mafatta, a couloir on the south face of Monte Rosa, Italy's highest peak. "More than any other photo I've ever taken, this series really shows what powder skiing feels like," says the Monarch Beach, California-based adventure sports photographer.
"First, everything's clear and there's this sense of gaining speed. Then the snow starts to come up your legs. Then by the end there's this complete splatter. That's exactly what it looks ike when you're in the 'white room,' completely surrounded in snow." Casimiro used a 20-35mm zoom lens, 100-speed film, an aperture of f/8, and a 1/500 second shutter speed.
Mattias Fredriksson was on assignment in Zermatt, Switzerland, last February when a 24-hour-long blizzard blanketed the resort with fresh snow. He and his traveling companion, Swedish freeskier Fredrik Bergmark, took a train up to Gornergrat, an area with a particularly good view of the Matterhorn. "Some clouds moved in and made the sky look cool, so I decided to use black-and-white film," says Fredriksson, who lives in √Öre, Sweden, when he isn't traveling the world as a professional ski photographer.
Bergmark launched off this ten-foot-high cliff while Fredriksson documented the scene from below, using a 20mm lens opened to f/5.6 and 200-speed film exposed for 1/800 second.
Ilja Herb wasn't sure where big-mountain skier Ryan Oakden was going to land when he snapped this shot of the pro in the midst of a hairy huck on British Columbia's Mount Currie.
"A small slough avalanche hit as Ryan approached the cliff band," says the 29-year-old Vancouver-based photographer, "so there was no turning back. But he avoided the exposed rocks and stomped it, then skied to safetyon freshly broken boards."
Herb used 100-speed film and an 80-200mm lens, opening the shutter for 1/1,000 second at f/8.
Chase Jarvis waited for the light at the end of the day before photographing 27-year-old American Scott Rickenberger carving this 45-degree slope at First, a Swiss ski area near the town of Grindelwald.
"Fresh backcountry snow lasts a lot longer at the smaller European resorts," he explains. "The locals stay on-piste." The 34-year-old, who works out of Seattle and Paris, used 100-speed film and an 80-200mm lens set at f/5.6, with an exposure time of 1/1,000 second.
Mattias Fredriksson was perched at about 8,000 feet in the Swiss ski resort of Engelberg when he caught Swedish freeskier and X Games veteran Henrik Windstedt, 22, nailing a switch rodeo 540.
"This was the most spectacular angle," says the 31-year-old √Öre, Sweden-based photographer, "so we built a kicker here."
Fredriksson shot with a 70-200mm lens set at f/5.6, exposing 100-speed film for 1/800 second.
Whistler-based James Heim, 25, launches off a powdery 30-foot cliff near Vernon, British Columbia, during a storm last winter. The jump was as cramped as they get, with a short, blind approach and a flat drop zone between two treesa tough combo, given the speed needed to cushion the landing.
"The worst impact is when you're at a dead stop. The more forward momentum, the better," says Heim, who blasted into the start like a downhill racer. "Otherwise I was just going to splat."
BACKSTORY: "The lightwas flat," says 27-year-old photographer Grant Gunderson, "so I had to get creative." Luckily, the overhanging rock allowed Gunderson to shoot frombelow, away from the monotone terrain. "You're lucky if you get one photo out of a day like that."
TOOLS: Canon 1D, ISO 400, f/4, 1/1,000 second, 15mm f/2.8 lens
On this powder morning,Vancouver, B.C.-based pro skier Chris Winter radioed 34-year-old photographer Kari Medig to skin over and shoot him cutting a line down the untouched upper slopes of Kashmir's Gulmarg ski resort.
"Chris told me to get up there before the light deteriorated," says Medig. "A minute after I took the shot, the clouds came in."
BACKSTORY: Medig was set on getting some images of the gorgeous surroundings, but upon arriving at the mountain he learned that the chairlifts were out of commission. Undaunted, he, Winter, and two others skinned up to enjoy the fresh snow and morning light. "It was sunny right up until the lifts got going," Medig says.
THE TOOLS: Nikon D200, 18-70mm f/3.5 lens, ISO 100, f/7.1, 1/1,000 second
Last January, Blake Jorgenson followed the path cut by backcountry skier Chris Rubins as he traversed a ridge near the summit of Tenquille Mountain, outside Pemberton, British Columbia. The two were trying to access a remote chute via snowmobile, and the ridge, at nearly 8,000 feet, was as far as the sleds could go.
"Following Chris, I noticed how dramatic the light was," says Whistler, B.C.-based Jorgenson. "The sun was disappearing over the ridge and lighting up the snow. And because he's walking into the wind, there's a sense of 'Where is he going, what's going to happen to him?'"
THE TOOLS: Nikon D2X, 80‚Äì200mmf/2.8 lens, ISO100, f/7.1, 1/2,500 second
The day after a foot of snow fell at La Fl√©g√®re, a ski area in Chamonix, France, Patrik Lindqvist shot Swedish skier Fredrik Andersson outrunning his slough by dropping off a 30-foot cliff. Lindqvist and Andersson, who were scoping out fresh powder, crossed a short ridge from the top of a ski lift to access the untracked run. So far, the duo, who ski and shoot together regularly, haven't gone back.
"It's very rare that we return to the same spot," says Chamonix-based Lindqvist. "You don't need to. Everywhere you go, there are good spots."
THE TOOLS: Canon EOS 3, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, FujiVelvia ISO 50 film, f/4, 1/1,000 second
During a ten-day road trip through British Columbia, Heath Korvola hit the backcountry near Rogers Pass, in Canada's Glacier National Park, with friend Mike Richards. They'd finished roughly half a dozen runs down the shoulder of a peak when Korvola decided to sit one out and wait at the top to shoot Richards skinning back up.
"It was one of those days when you don't expect much as a photographer," says Whitefish, Montana-based Korvola. "In the morning, it was cloudy and overcast, but you try to stick with it. Sometimes it pays off."
Minor problem: After this shot was taken, the binding on Korvola's left ski broke, and he was forced to duct-tape it together for the two-hour slog back to the car. "It was a long, one-legged ski out," he says. "At the end, my leg was throbbing. The beer that night was good."
THE TOOLS: Nikon F100, 70-210mm f/4 lens, ISO 100 film, f/8, 1/250 second