Photography Director: David Reddick
Art Director: Tyler Hartlage
Photographer: Tal Roberts
Heidi: Who were you photographing for this story?
Tal: I joined three siblings, McKenna, Axel, and Dylan Peterson who happen to all be amazing skiers for a road trip through Southern Idaho with a plan to ski some of the smaller ski hills where you can still get a lift ticket for under $50. I got the chance to do the assignment because I had lived in Sun Valley, Idaho for a long time and had been a regular contributor to Powder.
What type of direction did you get from the magazine?
Drive around to these smaller ski hills, get a feel for the area, ski with the locals, and show that you can still find great places to ski for under $50 in the age of the $100 plus lift tickets.
Tell us about the opening spread image, how did that come about?
That shot is from an early morning at Pebble Creek Ski Area. On the shot before this I had the skier make a turn really close to me, and because it was really cold the snow was spraying up really high and got all over the front of my lens. Since the sun was still really low I decided to leave the snow on the lens and try a backlit shot next which creates that aperture shape print on the image.
What is going on in the shot with the snow explosion, was that luck?
The snow exploding like that isn’t really luck. It’s a result of communication with the skier to know where and how they are going to make their turn and having a good idea of what the snow condition is like and how it will react. Where we did get lucky was with the light. On our first chairlift ride up the mountain lightning struck an electrical tower really close to the chairlift while we were on it and shut down power to the whole mountain for a few minutes. When the chair began to move again we had ski down and stay in the lodge for the next hour until the thunder and lightning passed. The wind blew the storm clouds away and when we got back on slope this was the first image we shot.
How many takes for the shot with the nice line and the basin down below?
Just one, but I shot it in high-speed continuous mode so I had a few to pick fro
How many days a year do you ski and do you deliberately ski/train to garner these types of shoots?
Counting days that I was shooting and days just riding for fun I think I was on snow around 40-45 days last season. That’s a bit lower than it used to be since I used to live in Sun Valley, Idaho 2 minutes from the chairlift and now I live in Portland, Oregon. I wouldn’t say I train directly for shoots like this, but I do work to stay fit as it helps out a ton when hiking and riding with a heavy camera pack on. I wouldn’t really look at this as training either, but I have done years and years of snowboarding and without that experience I wouldn’t really be able to keep up and navigate more difficult terrain that we often shoot on. For example, this week I have been in British Columbia on a heli-skiing shoot in pretty wild, remote terrain with some of the deepest snow I have ever ridden, which would be a major struggle without a bit of experience in the backcountry.