Back in the start of April, I had my first few days shooting with
renowned Chamonix photographer, Gus Hurst. Some of the finished shots I
had seen which he had taken were breathtaking, using the glacial ice,
sluffing on steep lines, and epic backdrops of this valley, capturing
the moments all us skiers remember, but have no record of, so i was
keen to get a few shots of my own with him!
The first day we
went out was April 1st, most people stayed off the hill this day as the
visibility was terrible, but we decided to go up anyway, knowing how
much snow had fallen the night before.
True to our belief, we
waited to get the first bin on the Index chair on Flegere, and were
rewarded with feet upon feet of amazing powder! No matter how many
times we lapped the Flegere, we barely crossed another track all
morning, had some of the biggest, scariest sluffs and best powder turns
all season. With Gus' knowledge of the area we found our way into a few
couloirs, so full of snow you could barely get your head out top to
catch a breath on the way down! There was no light to shoot that day,
the camera didnt even leave its case, but despite this from first to
last lift we only stopped to occasionally dry off a bit and have a few
hot drinks to warm up. Seen as we didnt get any proof, you'll have to
trust me that it was one of the best days skiing of my life so far!
Thursday after brought us a day of great sun, amazing views, and more
importantly the snow had packed down well, giving us access to some
steeper terrain, where we could concentrate on shooting the photos and
not the high avalanche risk, which had claimed a few casualties, during
and shortly after the storm. We knew that it was to warm up quickly
early in the afternoon, so we only had a short time to get a few shots.
Today we were joined by another Whitedot rider, Ally (Or simply
"Scottish" to those who know him) who had got first bin up with gus to
shoot a Massive 60ft cliff drop. I had to race up from a morning at
work when I discovered the weather would clear, so the next few shots I
would get priority on. We had a quick run down, And found an untracked
steep shoulder to ski, and got a cheeky and quick shot, which we were
pretty happy with.
the scout, I had spotted a line which was on, a similar one that i had
seen my Norweigan team-mates Fred and Dennis hit during the Team
Photo-Shoot in February, and with the light and shadows on this day,
knew that between Gus and myself, we could produce a good image from
it. Ally also wanted to try a slight variation on my line, so we
started the bootpack up. While we were taking our skis off to climb, in
one of the more comical moments of the season, Ally put one foot either
side of his skis and sunk down into the hollow snow at some speed,
taking a pair of redeemers to the baby-makers. At this point it was
pretty hard not to keel over laughing, but I didn't fancy the drop
The climb was actually quite challenging, neither of us
had crampons, as it was my shot, I put the pack in and Ally followed.
We knew that if we fell it was gonna hurt for sure, but it mellowed out
after a few hundred metres, so it could have been worse. Anyway, we
raced up hoping the light would stay good for the shot, got our skis
on, and stood on the top of a spine, steep to the point we couldn't
really see more than a couple of feet ahead, and hundreds down, so I
had a few minutes on the radio to Gus just trying to plan out where I
had to go to get the shot I had in my mind from scouting it earlier.
Ally counted down to my drop in over the radio. 4,3,2,1,Drop...
As it happened, everything came together perfectly, and it
ended up being my favourite photo from this season, hopefully you'll see it being used in whitedot media and a few mags at the beginning of next season. Cheers Gus! A happy