By Natalie Langmann
Six invited photographers and their crews spread across Whistler this past week for the Deep Winter Photo Challenge. Their mission: To capture as much imagery that speaks to the powder hungry ethos as they could in 72-hours. Over three days, photographers Mason Mashon, Mark Gribbon, Steve Lloyd, Robin O'Neill Rueben Krabbe, and Jussi Grznar shot within bounds on Whistler/Blackcomb Mountain and then edited three- to five-minute slideshows for a sold-out presentation at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. Even Terje was in attendance. Sounds awesome, right? Well, there was one glitch: Xavier De Le Rue would have popped a solid hard-on for all the crusty formations these crews were hucking their carcasses off—Whistler could have used the snowstorms that are hitting the Northwest this week.
In the end, Robin's slideshow "Lifers" won, but the crowd went nuts when Jussi's submission of "Tree of Life" came in a close second. Inspired by the Tree Of Life movie, Jussi's concept was to capture the normal people of Whistler doing normal things (although, many of Jussi's friends happen to be pro snowboarders, so perhaps they're a little above-normal).
"For me, the Tree Of Life symbolizes all the people you meet throughout your life," says Jussi, who hails from Slovakia and has been a Whistler resident for five years. "When you live in Whistler you make lots of friends but everyone comes and goes. It's hard to find long-term friends. The people I chose to shoot for this are all making their lives in Whistler.”