“I just let my skis guide me,” says Canadian big-mountain skier Leah Evans of threading through pine, hemlock, and cedar trees while backcountry skiing Rogers Pass outside of Golden, British Columbia. “I grew up tree skiing at Red Mountain Resort, so I’m very comfortable navigating in the trees,” says Evans, who started Girls Do Ski, an initiative to get more young women on the slopes with special ski camps. Her next competition is the International Freeskiers Association World Tour, which kicks off in January 2012 from her home turf in nearby Revelstoke.
Getting the Shot “I’m a big fan of aerial perspectives and tree skiing—so I combined the two,” says photographer Jordan Manley. While photographing for Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, an operator located between Golden and Revelstoke, Manley captured the unusual perspective. “It isn’t very common to get a view of tree skiing from just above the canopy. We took the doors off the helicopter and strapped in.” The photo was taken using a Nikon D3s and a Nikkor 17-35, f/2.8 lens.
“I was just hugging the face of the wave waiting for it to barrel,” says pro surfer Bruce Irons, who was willing to give his pal Sam McIntosh’s “flare surfing” idea a try off Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands.
First the crew tested the idea in the very early morning. “I really didn’t know if it was going to work, or if the flare would just burn right through my board,” notes Irons. Once they felt confident in the mechanics, they set out at night. “We took a Jet Ski out to where the waves were meant to break,” says Irons. “I couldn’t see more than 20 feet in front of the ski.”
When the wave approached, a friend pulled the flare chord, and Irons jumped. A world-class surfer like Irons makes it look easy, but do not try this at home. “Considering my buddy Peter almost lost his eyesight pulling the flare cord on this night, I would say stick with what you are taught as a kid: Don’t play with fire.”
Getting the Shot Having recently photographed the Nike “Just Do It” night ad campaign, photographer Jason Kenworthy was familiar with photographing surfers at night. “It was dark and there was only one chance to get it … no do-overs,” recalls Kenworthy.
To make this photograph, Kenworthy was located on a skiff looking directly into the barrel. “Focusing was a challenge due to the darkness. And with the dropping light, you are constantly guessing on your exposures—and then second-guessing,” says Kenworthy, who used a Canon Mark IV. “The 2.8 and instant stabilization worked great, and the high ISO settings came in handy.”
“At this very moment, the thinking is over and your mind is in ‘enjoy’ mode,” says climber Mario Richard (center) of two-way BASE jumping with Steph Davis (lower center) off the Corkscrew summit of Ancient Art at Fisher Towers near Moab, Utah. “It’s time to take in some amazing visuals and savor the fruits of all the efforts it took to get there.” The pair free climbed three short pitches and one long one to get to the narrow summit of this iconic desert tower recognized by most rock climbers.
In a two-way the jumpers take off nearly simultaneously, just a split second apart. Timing is important because if they don’t have enough separation, they could jump into each other’s parachutes. “We jump together a lot, and it seemed like it would be a fun twist to jump together from this tower where it’s hard to even fit one person at the top,” notes Davis, of the two BASE jumps she and Richard did that day. “We do two-ways off Castleton quite a bit, too—and with our wingsuits.”