I started obsessing over ski photography around age 12. I largely blame Dave Reddick, by way of Powder Magazine, his dedication to the highest of standards, and the story they ran about the Clambin Kids. It was a classic case: get new issue, read all the photo credits first. Study it. Study it some more.
Bound by a promise to my mother that I would go to college first, AND THEN be a ski bum, I found myself working towards a BFA in photography at RIT, and ultimately landing the dreamiest-of-dream internships at Powder Magazine (and accidentally/fortuitously Bike Magazine, too). That was nearly 20 years ago.
Like most American women I grew up bombarded by unrealistic ideals of female beauty, and within a culture of young girls that largely saw their self-worth tied to superficial things, most notably their own objectification. Meanwhile, I was an awkward, chubby teen in middle school with a strong female role model; a full-time working mother and business owner. Despite that, middle school is still extra tough for chubby teens, and I had this secret to fall back on. I knew there was a place outside of school where I was good at something. I knew I was good at skiing, but not in an ego-driven asshole kind of way. Skiing gave me confidence in a culture that is constantly trying to take it away.
I don’t recall exactly when, but somewhere down the road, I realized I could use my art for good, and social influence, to affect change in this world (such as addressing female stereotypes and a lack of visual representation in sports). I wondered what the world would be like if a group of all women got together to shoot photos or film. How does that affect the way they interact, how they ski, maybe what they ski, and how they show up in the world? And how does that effect change down the road? How do other people react and update their own point of view? So. Many. Questions. Why not embark on a lifelong experiment to find answers?
My goal has always been to create great ski photography first, that just-so-happens to feature women (always). At the same time, I wanted to offer women skiers another outlet to express themselves as both talented skiers and individual humans, which would in turn offer up more visual inspiration to other women and young girls. It’s partially a “see it” and “be it” philosophy, but I hope it inspires people to be their own selves (the weirder the better, I say!), and not someone else’s standard.
I recently read a definition of artist as someone who can’t live without making their art. Strip away any monetary gains and they will STILL make art. Beyond a vehicle for social change, ski photography is my art. That act of creating, most especially the act of creating as a team, gives me the most indescribable energy. I can be 5 days deep into a string of shoot days with an average of 4 hours sleep and have eleventy-billion times more energy than a week in the office with proper sleep. It may ebb and flow at times, but I will continue doing it for all my days.
Choosing a top 5 is hard. It barely scratches the surface of all the things I am proud of, the people I’ve had the great fortune to work with (and learn from), form deep everlasting friendships with, and grow with as human beings.