I never thought of myself as a competitive person. However, there is something about embracing a challenge, forming a game plan and working as hard as possible with some amazing people, towards a common goal.
I was introduced early on in my career to Whistler’s ‘Deep Winter’ Photo Challenge and some of the winning slide shows from the likes of Jordan Manley and Paul Morrison, both legendary photographers. I was immediately inspired to participate in a European competition as similar as possible to Deep Winter so that I could showcase my work in a like fashion.
During the winter of 2015, I applied for a wild card spot in the ‘King of Dolomites’ Photo Contest, held annually in Italy. I received the opportunity to rub shoulders with top photographers and athletes in the Italian Dolomites at the last minute after one of the participating photographers was forced to drop out. The contest consisted of 13 pro teams – a photographer and two athletes – with the goal of shooting the single best action image in the Dolomites during the span of 48 hours.
As you can imagine, I was simply excited for the opportunity to participate and rub shoulders with some renowned photographers and athletes. Never did I envisage what was going to happen next. It was my photo that was chosen as the overall winner of the contest – in front of a large audience. That moment was a big stepping stone in my career and a huge confidence boost.
‘King of Dolomites’ 2015 overall winning photo taken in San Martino di Castrozza, Italy:
The following year, I was invited to participate in the 10th ‘Deep Winter’ Photo Challenge and I shared a stage with previous winners of the prestigious event together with some of Canada’s leading ski and snowboard photographers.
Although we didn’t take home the overall prize that year, one of my photographs was selected for the Top People’s Choice Award.
The very next year, during my first winter of calling Whistler my home, I was invited to participate in one of the most special moments in my life – ‘Deep Winter 2017’. Knowing exactly what I would be stepping into, I was a little hesitant as there was a huge amount of work, stress and pressure involved. However, knowing all of the details that go into competing in an event like this, the choice was made clear and I stepped up to the challenge and gave it my best shot.
Armed with my experience from the previous year and a fantastic team of athletes and supporting crew, we presented our slideshow in front of an audience of over a thousand people. It was one of the most nerve racking moments of my life as the third place was called on stage, then the second and finally my name was called for 1st place. My heart almost stopped, as I was overwhelmed by the fact that I had just won the competition and realized my dream. I still go back to that memory, reminiscing on one of the most special moments of my life.
‘Deep Winter’ 2017 overall winning presentation – best viewed full screen with the volume up high:
‘Deep Winter’ 2016 Peoples choice award for best photograph:
This past year, I was honored to participate in Arc’teryx’s ‘Jackson Exposed’ photo challenge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A truly stunning setup for a photo contest, shooting around the Teton’s was a fantastic experience. We definitely had our fair share of challenges to overcome and a stacked shot list to create a unique concept.
The Jackson Hole contest, similar to ‘Deep Winter’, consisted of 6 professional teams with 72 hours to capture photos and put together a slideshow which would later be presented in front of a live audience.
The presentation evening was put together brilliantly, and my team and I were again able to take home 1st place and create some very special memories along the way.
In addition, my image of Colter Hinchliffe captured in the Whistler backcountry was selected into the final 250 images of the prestigious 2019 ‘RedBull Illume’ image quest and published in the limited photo book.
Having experienced the thrill of victory, I’ve been keen to extend that opportunity to others, and last summer I managed the organization of a similar type of photo competition dedicated to the trail running community in British Columbia.
‘RedBull Illume 2019’ image: