When I started shooting photos it was 100% for fun. I had no plans on doing it for a career. There were maybe four guys out that were doing it as a full time job so the thought never even crossed my mind. I was just stoked to get out there to ride and snap a few shots. Having photos published in TWS helped with a little scam I had going. A group of us would pack up our gear and head to some mountain town we had never been to before. I would meet the marketing people, tell them I will get them coverage in the magazine, and they just had to give us free tickets. Then I would go to some dirt bag hotel and offer them the same deal. Even some restaurants would give us free food for our “feature on their town, including places to sleep and eat”. Don’t bother trying this anymore, we ruined it for all of you. Hey Whitewater, here is that coverage I promised you…sorry it took so long.
One day I got a call from an advertising agency that found my photo of Steve Ruff riding up a tree in 1998 on my website. After talking a bit with the lady I realized that she thought it was fake. When I told her that it was real, she thought I was being a jerk and playing games with her. She told me there is no way anyone could do that. Needless to say I didn’t get that big commercial paycheck from that ad agency.
Can you image paying a few thousand dollars to ride this pipe at summer camp? Well hundreds of us did, and we didn’t even think twice about it. In 1999 this was a pretty standard shape for halfpipes. The pipe dragon, zaug or even pipe shaping hand tools had not yet been invented. This was right around the time the second generation of French Canadians made the trek to Whistler with hopes of a professional snowboard career. Here Jean-Francois Pelchat blasts a huge tail grab and landed a full blown rock star career in the snowboarding.
They say sometimes in photography great shots are a mistake. In my case, great shots came from a lack of gear. In order to get a clear shot of the background trees you would want to shoot this on a tripod. Since I didn’t have a tripod, shooting this hand held was the only option and thank god, because the night riding lights here at Cypress illuminated the trees just enough to give my slow shutter speed enough movement to make this photo a notch up from your standard quarterpipe photo in 1998.
I think we started naming jumps, rollers, hips and zones around Mt. Seymour because every 30 feet there was a new jump or a new landing to build one and it was hard to keep track of them all. As you would walk past the “city booter” and up the big steep hill to the second peak, there was a wind lip/wall kind of feature that would run the length of that zone. At the top it formed as a quarter pipe and was rarely built because of the amount of work it would take to perfect. And as you walked down the ridge it weaved it’s way into all kinds of hip options. First we built it up top and close to the QP. Then after a few years we ventured down a bit and found this area where we could build a monster hip that looked like you were blasting into another world. It was also refreshing to not have the city in the background. Some riders really stepped it up when it came to this one. Trevor Andrew was one and pictured here is Allister Shultz.
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