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Backyard Booty – Words versus Pictures

Digging up the treasures of our own backyard



It begins at high noon. The Deep Winter Photo Challenge is coming…

Over the past 72 hours, photographers Paul Morrison, Dano Pendygrasse, Ian Coble, Jordan Manley, Bryan Ralph and Phil Tifo have been out trying to capture the essence of winter in Whistler.

Not winter out in the back 40, or the backcountry, or the back of beyond, but deep winter as it looks in our immediate backyard, in bounds on the mountain, at a time of year that most photographers are simply waiting for the light to return.

This portrait of the twin peaks from multiple perspectives will be revealed in a slideshow event that takes snow-porn to orgiastic proportions — the Deep Winter Photo Challenge. In its inaugural year, Deep Winter packed Millennium Place to the rafters. This weekend, it moves into the Chateau’s ballroom.

It was an idea that Mike Douglas, the Godfather of Freeride, had been pitching for four years. “After competing in a similar competition in 2002, I thought it would be a great thing to do in Whistler during the darkest days of winter,” he said. “Not too many photographers are out working on the stormiest winter days, but there is an opportunity to create beautiful images. Whistler has a reputation for bad weather and we haven't done enough to show how beautiful skiing on a stormy day can be.”

Douglas partnered up with the Light-master, photographer Paul Morrison, to deliver last year’s winning show, a Hallelujah chorus to winter in Whistler. Overlaid with sound clips from the snowphone’s weather report, images of skiers huddling into their jackets on the chairlift or being buffeted against a wind-scoured slope were interspliced with icicle art and epic shots of Mike Douglas dropping in on snow-covered ziggurats. Not a heli-drop or bluebird day in sight.

And the crowd left, stoke-fuelled for inbound storm-chasing adventures and the prospect of a 7 a.m. start.

(You can check out their four minute show at www.deepwinterphoto.com .)

For Morrison, the Deep Winter Photo Challenge personifies Whistler more than any other single event. “To be returning with Mike Douglas as my teammate, and to be a part of the second edition of this event, is the highlight of the winter for me.”

Kootenay adventurers hit the road

If Deep Winter is iconic of Whistler, then next Friday’s Backyard Booty brings the best homegrown from the Kootenays, for a sampling session.

Billed as a night of “home-brewed multimedia to stoke the furnace” and presented by the Nelson-based Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine, the Booty rocks into MY Place on Jan. 11.