The event, which is in its fifth year, has become a Whistler institution. Six major, and for the most part local, photographers are invited and square up for $6,000 of prize money. The shooters and a team of athletes of their choosing, have three days to capture as much as they can within the ski area boundary, during the hours that the lifts are operating. Then, they have a day to put together a slideshow of their best shots, which they show to a packed house, and a panel of big name judges, like former kings of storms Jordan Manley and Paul Morrison.
They’re at the mercy of the weather, and deep winter isn’t just a catchy moniker. The contest is timed to synch with Whistler’s mid-winter storm cycle, and this year it more than lived up to its name. It snowed. Then it sneeted, then it full-on rained. Then it did it all over again. The photographers were faced with flat light, flooded lenses and heavy, slushy snow. It was high pressure, no-time-for-screw-ups conditions, and by Saturday night most of the athletes and photographers looked like they hadn’t slept much.