• Photo: Mike Randolph

    Mike Randolph had finished a long day covering the U.S. Free Skiing Open in Vail, Colorado, when he noticed a crowd gathering around a big-air event in the dark. As a local television crew illuminated the competitors with floodlights, Randolph stationed himself low under the ramp so he could snap the skiers while they were airborne. "I couldn't see the guys as they were launching, so I had to listen for people's reactions and hope for the best," explains the Toronto native, who's been photographing outdoor sports professionally for a decade. "This one worked because the skier hit the jump in a way none of the others had. It made the snow really explode."

    Randolph used a 28mm lens, an f-stop of 5.6, and high-speed negative film exposed for 1/2 second.
  • Photo: Chris Murray

    Chris Murray and his buddy Kim Manning took advantage of a beautiful moon by skinning two-thirds of the way up the west side of Mount Hood to Zigzag Canyon. "It's my favorite location in the world," explains Murray. "The light was so clean that night—I just kept shooting and shooting." The 31-year-old Bend, Oregon, resident, who's been photographing outdoor sports for the past 12 years, composed this frame of Manning just as the light was fading, and then the two snowboarded down by the glow of the moon. "It was the most perfect corn run ever," he exults.

    Murray made the image with a double exposure. He used a 20mm lens set at f/5.6 for 8 seconds to shoot Manning. For the moon he switched to a 420mm lens (with a 2X teleconverter) set at f/8 for 1/15 second. The film was 50-speed.
  • Photo: Fred Foto

    Fred Foto shot professional ski racer Rick Greener, enveloped in a cloud of powder, during a heli-ski trip outside Haines, Alaska, last March. Right after Foto captured Greener bombing down this 50-degree slope, which they dubbed "Happy Top," the sky clouded over and the wind picked up. "In Alaska, there are only a few days the sun shines," says the adventure sports photographer. "This image is about being in the right place at the right time."

    Foto used a 300mm lens set at f/4, 300-speed film, and a shutter speed of 1/1,600 second.
  • Photo: David Burnett

    David Burnett, a Washington, D.C.-based photographer whose shot the 2002 Salt Lake Games make, was wandering between team trailers during the men's 120-meter ski jump when he saw Japanese jumper Hideharu Miyahira performing last-minute balance exercises. "He would take a four-step run and leap into the arms of his trainer, who would lift him for 10 to 15 seconds," says Burnett. "It was like watching the old Flying Wallendas."

    He used a 75mm lens set at f/8, exposing 320-speed film for 1/250 second.
  • Photo: David Burnett

    David Burnett crouched next to the start house of the Utah Olympic Park jump ramp to capture this image of Kyrgyzstan's Dimitry Chvykov in the finals of the 120-meter event. Unable to see the landings, Burnett relied on the crowd to learn how jumpers fared. "They gasp and then they cheer," he says. "If somebody wipes out, then they really gasp."

    He exposed 320-speed film for 1/500 second with a 300mm lens set to f/5.6.
  • Photo: David Burnett

    David Burnett says that taking this sharp photograph of Austrian Andreas Widhoelzl's arrowlike form as the jumper flew through the air at some 60 miles per hour required extreme precision—and a little luck. "You have to prefocus someplace and hope that they‚Äôll fly into your frame just as you press the button," he explains.

    He exposed 320-speed film for 1/500 second with a 300mm lens set to f/5.6.
  • Photo: Tony Harrington

    From Cordova, Alaska, Tony Harrington hopped a ride with Points North Heli Adventures and flew to the Chugach high country with top freeskiers Andrea Binning, of Australia, and American Jessica Sobolowski. After scouting snowpack conditions, they plunged in. "The most extraordinary moment came when they dropped in off the top of 7,411-foot Pontoon," the photographer says.

    For this image of Sobolowski launching off the face, Tony Harrington used 50-speed film and a 15mm fish-eye lens set at f/4, pushed one stop. Over five days, he says, "I threw a lot of money at a bet with Mother Nature, and it paid off."
  • Photo: Chris Milliman

    Chris Milliman crawled to the edge of Mammoth Lakes, California's superpipe last June to shoot U.S. Ski Team member Andy Newell going where no skinny-skier has gone before. "He was probably 15 feet above the lip," says the New Hampshire–based photographer, 39. "That's pretty good considering he was in skis that have no edges and weigh nearly nothing."

    Milliman used a 16-35mm lens on his Canon EOS-1DMark II, with an ISO of 200 and an exposure time of 1/2,000 second at f/5.
  • Photo: Mark Fisher

    Over the past six years, Victor, Idaho-based Mark Fisher, 31, has split his time apprenticing for an advertising photographer in Germany and guiding climbers in Alaska and Wyoming. It's an odd marriage of skills, but one we love, given the results here and on the following pages. In this shot, Fisher caught skiers Dan Petrus (above) and Jeff Leger jumping off a 70-foot cliff, known as the Diving Board, at Wyoming's Grand Targhee Resort.

    BACKSTORY: Fisher had no shortage of subjects that day, the first sunny morning after a big 2005 storm. "It was like a circus," Fisher says of the crowds jumping enormous bands of rock in the resort's off-piste playground. "The snow was so deep, anything was possible."

    TOOLS: Canon EOS 3, ISO 400 FujifilmProvia converted digitally to B&W, 28-70mm f/2.8 len
  • Photo: Adam Clark

    An above-average snowpack last year in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, enabled Adam Clark to shoot Sage Cattabriga-Alosa airing out a 360 in a meadow that's usually too low for skiing. The two, who are both based in Salt Lake City, scoped out the spot in daylight, hid a flash box below the launch, then waited for night. The light captured Cattabriga-Alosa in midair, but it came with a downside. "When the flash popped in my eyes, everything just went dark," says the freeskier. "I could tell where the ground was, but the terrain became impossible to read." Luckily, there was two feet of fresh powder on the ground.

    THE TOOLS: Canon 1D Mark III, 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 400, f/8, 1/320 second
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