Click. It’s the tiniest sound, the closing of a camera shutter. Each one represents a stoppage of time; a flash of light, a smattering of color that lasts just 1/1,000th of a second. But when the snow is deep and the light is dramatic,
and all of the elements that so often aren’t perfect are, that click captures something rare and powerful: The Moment.
The Moment is what we all strive for each time we go into the backcountry. It’s the fleeting clarity of a perfect turn, the shocking elation brought by a surprise face shot, the anticipation and pain of every climb, and the realized pleasure of every run. The Moment is when snow and skier and landscape are uniquely one—a combination of light and line and color so dynamic that it transcends sport, or even beauty, and becomes essence—the essence of why we ski. Some might call it grace. A tiny click captures all of this, and through that photo we can relive The Moment again and again.
When I was growing up in the Midwest, far from real mountains and deep snow, photos were the conduit through which I connected with the mountains and this sport. Rather than posters of bikini-models posing with expressions of faux seduction, my bedroom walls were plastered with hundreds of pictures of snowy mountains and skiing. Most of them were carefully cut from the pages of magazines like this one with a ruler and scissors. I can still remember my favorites.
There was the shot of a ghostly skier on skinny skis bursting through head-deep snow, his mouth curved into an “O” as he almost audibly gasped for air. There was the shot of a perfectly illuminated skier in mid-air, trailing a column of glittering snow from the edge of a cliff with his legs tucked up tightly, arms relaxed around his knees, his supreme confidence evident in a second’s glance. There was the profile of a silhouetted skier balanced precisely over his edges on a slope so insanely steep that it seemed impossible that he could ever link turns.
The very best photos put whoever views them there, in The Moment. Suddenly we are gasping for air; we are hucksters throwing caution to the wind; we are the architects of turns where there have never been turns before. Photos made these
things possible in the dreams of my childhood. They still do.
-Drew Pogge, Editor