Blotto X Burton > Gate Keeper


In the mid-nineties I was living in Vail, Colorado with Brian ‘Wookie’ Fleming, my longtime friend, shred partner and overall amazing human, snowboarding Beaver Creek and Vail Mountain on the regular. Between the two mountains we had all the terrain and powder we could handle, while occasionally trekking over to Summit County to ride A-Basin or Breckenridge as these resorts stayed open further into the spring than Eagle County establishments. We got to know Summit County fairly well along with our band of snowboarding brothers that occupied these slopes, it was good times attacking groomers, learning switch methods on side hits and of course attending a fresh cut Breck pipe when Frank Wells hit us on the bat phone.

Fast forward many years as I’ve continued to visit Breckenridge for photo shoots, filming opportunities and contests, connecting with the OG squad, new friends and loads of out-of-towners. Sitting high in the Colorado Rockies this area has a plethora of snowboarding terrain parks throughout the county, making for epic freestyle sessions and plenty of powder days in the trees that surround these groomed affairs.

One such day in early December after Dew Tour activities, Frankie Chapin and I were cruising around Breckenridge scouting, collecting location photographs for an upcoming photo shoot, combing each and every street in town for shred and portrait possibilities.

A few months later Marin Horikawa started working on the 2017 Family Tree graphics package, asking that I submit ‘snowy tree’ images from all worldly locations. With that request I began digging in the crates (DITC) selecting a balanced variety of snow covered tree photography that represented all styles of forests throughout the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Over the course of a couple days I managed to pull hundreds of photos from the hard drives in hopes Marin would have what he needed to successfully present a collection to the Hard Goods team at Burton.

Over the next few months Burton went through the design process with Marin that involved five stages of image selection, narrowing down the 2017 Family Tree collection to ten photos spread over eight snowboards. One of the images I collected that day in Breckenridge became the base graphic for the Gate Keeper.

When I’m out collecting images for a specific purpose, random photo missions or a simple point and shoot while passing something along the way, you never know where that splattering of mega pixels will end up. It’s a dumb luck process at times, never ceasing to amaze me how photographs play into print, digital and beyond.

The technical data for this image is as follows: SL1 DSLR body, 40mm lens, 1/1250 shutter speed, f/6.3 aperature at 200 ISO. As with all of my camera gear, this set up was purchased locally at Lezot Camera in Burlington, Vermont.

I asked Marin the basic process in determining which photos go on which board and he noted that “…you have to think in one-hundred percent product size…try and avoid the habit of judging things on a computer screen which would look different in real scale…” He also said “…the name of each board plays a roll on photo selection…each deck attracts a different style of rider so they tried to keep that in mind…”

For more information on the Gate Keeper, visit and get stoked! Thanks for reading y’all! Blotto



All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016