Possibly one of my favorite photos of all time and the one most people seem to remember is the one you see below. In fact it means so much to me that I’ve got it hanging blown up on canvas in my bedroom, it’s the first thing I see every morning. Allow me to share the story behind this image shot in Winterberg!
A couple of housemates and myself were spending a day skiing in the German Winterberg resort. Now for all of you who haven’t visited: this resort is by no means epic, but it’s the closest place to home to get in any outdoor skiing. The slopes are rather boring and chock full of people spending their first day on skis. At some point during the day though, we learned that in the evening, a select number of slopes would have giant floodlights turned on, allowing for some nighttime skiing. After a not too satisfying afternoon trying hard to avoid colliding with people learning to ski, we went for a quick meal, not expecting too much of the evening. At some point though, we noticed some snowcats making their way uphill to groom the pistes. Basically that’s like seeing a tiramisu cake being prepared before your own eyes.
When we exited the restaurant, having drank one or two beers, we also noticed the pistes were practically deserted now. The only people left seemed to be pretty eager to make up for the crowded afternoon by basically racing downhill as fast as gravity could pull them. We joined in on the fun and life became extremely simple for one evening in Winterberg: get in the chair lift, race downhill on the deserted and perfect piste, timing the run and trying to make it under one minute, repeat. We hardly even talked or chilled except for the rides up in the lift. It was during one of these rides up that I stopped and realized the astonishing environment I was in. The resort hadn’t looked like much during the day, but with the huge floodlight backlighting the whole chair lift, the resort now looked almost divine. I can’t really think of any other metaphor than it being like a ride to heaven. Which it did feel like at the time. I’d brought my old Nikon D90 camera, since it was actually the first time I’d be bringing a DSLR camera in my backpack while skiing. Luckily though, the camera dealt with the darkness and extremely high contrast perfectly, proving you don’t always need a top quality full frame camera. Vision and content beat gear any time. I also shot a short video of one of these rides, which may actually have been my first foray into video. Queue divine American Beauty music for full dramatic effect.