Behind the Lens
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Photo: Olav Stubberud

How countless moments culminate in the stunning imagery from Snowboarding: For Me

Published on, February 2015


After three days of dense cloud cover and gusty winds, the elements have finally come together. Terje Håkonsen, Nicolas Müller, Jake Blauvelt and Mark McMorris are atop the spindly peak, having just stepped off the helicopter.

Below them is a mountainside covered with a fresh layer of snow, untainted by man and board. A separate helicopter hovers above with a high-speed, state-of-the-art Shotover attached. There’s little opportunity for practice runs or mulligans. When the cameras start rolling, execution is critical.

Jeff Curtes stands nearby. He’s watched and listened as the four riders discuss and dissect the terrain; it’s on him to analyze and interpret each rider; to anticipate where their line will take them on the mountain. Experience and instincts take over. He’s seen the shot lists and spreadsheets, but they’re really just fodder for the “mental trashcan.”

“Once we’re on mountain, there’s not a lot of set-up, there’s not a lot of ‘I’m going to do that over there’ or ‘we’re going to go build this over here while you meander and find angles.’ Shit is really improvisational,” said Curtes, who’s been shooting snowboarding since the early 1990s. “You’ve always got to be one step ahead.”

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