A journey into the backcountry for the Deep Winter Photo Challenge 2016.


As we get closer to the Arc’teryx Deep Winter Photo Challenge 2016, we thought we’d check in with the photographers and see what’s been brewing behind their lenses. Both Chad Chomlack and Guy Fattal had 8am starts yesterday to meet with their crew to discuss the plan for the day and hop on the first chair lifts. Just a parking lot separated the photographers, but their concepts for the challenge couldn’t be more different – but we’ll leave that a secret!

Guy Fattal and his crew met for the day to discuses a game plan while awaiting for the lifts to run.

Guy Fattal and his crew met for the day to discuss a game plan while awaiting for the lifts to run.

Guy Fattal’s plan was to get in the backcountry accessible from the WhistlerBlackcomb resort on Blackcomb Mountain as early as possible. Four athletes, Guy, a backountry guide named Dale from Extremely Canadian and myself made our way up the mountain to Rendezvous where they further plotted the day’s objectives, signed waivers to enter the backcountry under the care of Extremely Canadian and hovered near the light board for a green light.

Blackcomb Mountain Light Board

Last minute fuel was purchased, water bottles filled and packs loaded. The sun slowly poured over the peaks in the distance and made its way to us just as the light board flicked green for the 7th Heaven Chairlift.

Without many words the crew was off. When you only have 72 hours to produce masterpiece after masterpiece there is a strong sense of pressure to be productive. I later asked Guy if he felt stressed about the competition and he explained that he was not too stressed, just trying to focus on having a good time. Inspiration struck Guy on route to the 7th Heaven Chair so he stopped to frame up a few shots. From the Hortsman Hut on Blackcomb we peered over to view the T-Bars below and Guy shot more images.

Guy Fattal eyes a perfect shot from the top of Blackcomb.

Guy Fattal eyes a perfect shot from the top of Blackcomb. We went behind the scenes to check out Guy’s personal shooting style.

Timing was in our favor as the Showcase T-Bar started to run upon our arrival. Up, up and away we went! The crew was ready to get into the backcountry and start knocking off some of the day’s objectives. With a mental shot list, time ticking and a strong crew, Guy’s team traversed to the backcountry gates. While I only joined them on a small section of their journey the enthusiastic theme of productivity, having fun and team work was evident from this crew. In an attempt to forecast Guy’s presentation I think we’ll see some pretty creative angles, fresh views and a big hint of fun.

Word on the Mountain

  1. After crossing paths with Russell Dalby, he shared that he was headed to a few “secret spots.” His crew was lugging some big gear around, so I’m thinking there might be some creative lighting in his images.
  2. Ashley Barker started the day at Base Two with the Whistler Kids and that’s all we know about that.
  3. Zoya Lynch is said to be working with a famous skier couple for the project.
  4. Chad Chomlack is working with some heavy hitters in the snowboard world including DCP and Devun Walsh.

Deep Winter Photo Challenge 2016 Event Details

This Saturday (January 9th, 2016) at 7pm the doors will open at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler to unveil the slideshows from these five photographers across the big screen at 8pm.  The winner will be crowned king or queen and fill their pockets with a grand prize of $10,000. Some of the most talented photographers from around the globe pair with equally skilled athletes to race the clock for a shot at the title and the prize.

Find out more about the Deep Winter Photo Challenge 2016 here. With jaw dropping slideshows, hope to see you there!

Abby Cooper

A lover of all things outdoors, Abby Cooper is a splitboarder, hiker, adventurer, year-round snow seeker, photographer and writer.