Read more about Will Wissman’s photography in The Ski Journal (4.3) that hits newsstands on Dec. 1.
By Will Wissman
Red Bull Illume (RBI) is touted as the world’s premier action and adventure sports photography competition. Approximately 22,764 images were submitted in 10 categories. The top 250 semifinalists were judged by an esteemed panel of photo editors from international top publications including Kari Stein of Sports Illustrated, Paul Sanders of The Times, and Nick Hamilton of Transworld Snowboarding.
RBI is a rare opportunity for action sports photographers to display their work to mass media. There are no footballs, baseballs, or basketballs—just world class athletes throwing down in their natural environments. For this reason, I am honored to have two images selected in the top 250 (one of which made the top 50 finals list). Both images feature First Ascent ski guide Reggie Crist in his element doing what he does best—skiing big lines in Alaska.
It’s a little known fact that Reggie was one of the first skiers to pioneer heli-skiing in Haines, AK, over a decade ago. He continues to find new terrain, and in this shot he is skiing a first decent of what we now refer to as The Tongue. It’s located on the east-facing flank of Mt. Krause, one of the highest boarder peaks in the region. The backside of this mountain empties into Glacier Bay National Park—off limits to all heli-skiers.
The Top 50 shot was taken at the beginning of April, and we were nearing the tail end of an amazing, week-long, high-pressure system. “Widespread Blower” was the inside joke, as not only did we have bomber snowpack, but all aspects were still skiing cold. Each day we were able to venture deeper. I distinctly remember getting my first look at Mt. Krause that day. It sits high above the surrounding peaks at a lofty 7,200 feet. Most terrain in the Haines tenure is around 6,500. The eastern flank of Krause is covered in ice and contains a perfect ramp right down the gut, as seen in the photo. To enter the line, Reggie had to navigate a difficult maze-like path through the upper neck of the glacier. Once he was in, it was clean all the way through. The thing I like most about this shot is how well Reggie’s track accents the amazing slope. He’s tiny in the photo but the track allows you to gain perspective on the scene.
Here’s that shot of Reggie…
And here’s the other selection…
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