today is Nov 28, 2021

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that a photographer who’s spent 40 years at Alta would become known as “the Godfather of the pow shot.” To some people, all deep snow shots might look the same, but not to Lee Cohen. His friend Parker once said that Lee had told him, “Pow explosions are like fingerprints, every single one is unique”.

Since the 1980’s, Lee Cohen has had the drive, the skill, and the good fortune of being at the right place at the right time to capture powder shots at and near Alta, Utah. Although getting pigeon holed as the deep pow photographer sometimes annoys him, he simultaneously embraces it. “The biggest payoff I can get is when someone I don’t know tells me “Your photos are a big part of the reason I moved here” or when I walk into a place I’ve never been and see a pic of mine torn out of a mag and pinned up on the fridge or the wall somewhere.”

Lee’s contribution to the art of ski photography can’t be overstated. He is one of the best to ever do it. With his pure vision, vibrant character, and deep love of skiing, he’s captured, in countless brilliant moments, what it means to experience the deepest of the deep.

Lee’s chosen this selection as the Top 5 of his career thus far.

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Photo Credit: Lee Cohen

Dave McReynolds, Alta, Utah. An all-time pow shot that almost made the cover of Powder but lost out to a pic of Seth tucked up on a small air. What can you do? It was one of those classic Alta days, right-side up blower pow. This is what people want in Utah and powder skiing doesn’t really get any better than this.

No reproduction of any kind without permission

Photo Credit: Lee Cohen

Dave McReynolds, Wasatch backcountry, Utah. I think this is the longest contrail I’ve ever gotten in a shot. McReynolds on a run called Sweetly’s, skiing on the edge of a rock band while out with Wasatch Powderbird Guides. It was only a few inches of hoar frosted snow on top but it hung in the air like no tomorrow. Pretty surprised that this pic has never run anywhere.

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Photo Credit: Lee Cohen

Dave Richards, Alta backcountry, Utah. This was at the end of the day and I almost didn’t even bother with the shot. It had been a long day and I felt like the crew was probably over it. I went back and forth inside myself over whether to ask Dave Richards, AKA Grom, to hit this spot across a gully. It would be a few turns and take about thirty seconds. It seemed like a long time but was really only a few seconds before I asked him. Sure glad I did.

No reproduction of any kind without permission

Photo Credit: Lee Cohen

Valais, Switzerland. This was what my mind’s eye wanted a photo of ski touring in Europe to be and it just fell into place randomly after we left Cabane du Bertol on our way to Zermatt. My companions (Craig DiPietro, James Harvey, Rob Story) are at the bottom of the frame while up on the horizon of the skin track is another touring party. I saw that we could make it happen so told them to go on ahead and make sure they spaced out enough so they did not block each other in the pic. The wind had sculpted the snow and the shadow of the clouds added another element. I was gleaming so hard when this opportunity presented itself and it came together just how I wanted.

Sam Cohen at Alta, Utah

Photo Credit: Lee Cohen

Sam Cohen, Alta, Utah. Early-ups morning on the Shoulder, a place that’s been a go to for me for years to start the day. It’s rarely this perfect because patrol usually does some control work there, but on this day it was spotless. My son, Sammo, nailed it just like I was hoping on this first hit of the day with the hues and blues of sky and shadow coming together like a dream.

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