Snowbowl Wednesday

Carlos Daniel and I got back out on the splitboards for another tour on the San Francisco Peaks, selecting a route on the opposite side of the mountain from our prior day’s mission. Our goal was to find some soft snow and rip a few pow turns to satisfy the soul while working around potential avalanche hazards due to the recent snowfall and a couple of wind events thereafter.

After submitting our route and plan to friends not on the mission we headed up the Arizona Snowbowl chairlift system, disembarking at 10,200 feet (3108 meters), switching over into touring mode and beginning the 1,500 (457 meters) vertical foot ascent to our destination. Around the 11,000 foot (3352 meters) mark we encountered some B24 airplane wreckage, landing gear sticking straight out of the snow, something you don’t see everyday! We thanked those who served then continued up through the trees before breaking out onto a ridge, greeted by significant wind speed. We knew going into the mission winds would be picking up throughout the day so we skinned up as far as it was comfortable and safe and started a snow assessment at the 11,700 foot mark (3566 meters).

‘Digging a Pit‘ is the common term in seeing what the snow layers are up to on any given slope you plan to descend, ours being a 32-degree pitch, rider’s left of a known slide path. Aside from assessing the snow and the layers through a series of tests, common sense plays a big part in not being greedy, like dropping in on a convex roll next to a known slide path just because “the snow looks so good!” This is never the approach any of us take while in the backcountry, it’s not worth it, please remember that.

After completing our test, we knew avy danger was low on our selected route, so we felt good in descending for some quality turns, which we did successfully and safely. The remainder of the run concluded with variable conditions through the trees back into the resort and a solid high-five for another successful tour in the Arizona backcountry.

The next move was switching out the backcountry gear for the twintip board and ripping chairlift laps for the remainder of the day through the various terrain parks and natural features around the mountain. Overall another fine day on the The San Francisco Peaks for outdoor enthusiasts like you and I, it’s hard to beat a split tour in the morning and groomers in the afternoon! Blotto

Please visit Kachinapeaks.org for up to date snowpack conditions, weather forecast, education and training opportunities. Don’t go into the backcountry unprepared, get your friends together and take your avalanche courses, aight!

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2017

Snowbowl Tuesday

Great day on the Arizona Snowbowl slopes with Yosh, Ryan, Carlos, Alfie and the other rad locals I met along the way. After some fresh groomer laps on the Grand Canyon Express chair we headed up Agassiz Chairlift as the Upper Bowl hike had just opened (patrol was running through avalanche safety procedures prior), so we scored some left-over powder that was sitting there asking to be slashed.

After enjoying the beautiful views of the incoming weather at 11,800 feet (3596 meters) we handled a few runs over on the Humphrey’s Chair, taking advantage of the newly constructed Daydreamer Progression Park, the third and newest terrain park our main man Yosh and his park staff are creating and maintaining.

Not to let the day slip away without additional powder riding, Carlos Daniel invited me up for a splitboard mission in the area of Agassiz peak, so we grabbed the safety equipment, the Burton Family Tree splitboards, let our friends know where we were headed and caught last chair up. Much to our chagrin, the weather had moved in something fierce, making visibility not that rad. Not to be discouraged we charged up to our predetermined location anyway in hopes for a break in the cold dark wind, reassembled the outfits into snowboard mode and waited it out. After an hour kicking it in a protected area, we decided to shred the gnar in the conditions Mother Nature was offering us and we fully enjoyed the ten turns of soft snow, making the mission one-hundred percent worth it.

Overall an epic day of riding the San Francisco Peaks that included everything from corduroy to park features to pow slashing…all things Snowbowl. If you’re in Arizona, get up to the Bowl, you deserve it. Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto

Arizona Desert Snow

When the big storms roll through Arizona it’s a given the northern and eastern sections of the state will receive significant snowfall, but when the temps drop just enough the desert mountains on the east side of Phoenix get their share. It’s a beautiful sight witnessing the Superstition Mountains, Weaver’s Needle, Mazatzal Range and beyond receive Mother Nature’s frozen precipitation, blanketing a region that’s widely known as a hot and dry desert climate. These images were from New Years Day 2015 as a serious cold front moved through the region, so I hopped in the car and shot around Highway 87 and 60 grabbing as many frames as possible during the event.

If you’re in Arizona right now, enjoy this current round of moisture hammering the area and you should consider heading up to Flagstaff to enjoy another weekend of epic powder riding! It’s been really really good at Snowbowl all season long. Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto

Blue Mountain Tones

Over the past couple of days I’ve been posting images from Haines, Alaska, a truly special region of the world in the Southeast portion of the 49th state. The blue tones produced in the months of March and April is something else and capturing that with the contrast of the snow is a dreamy photographic situation. In addition to the scenic photographs, I’m often treated to some amazing snowboarding on these very same slopes, that my friends, is a good time. Blotto

All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto

CHAIRLIFT

‘Tis the season for moving up the mountain on the chairlift while enjoying the pleasant descent back down the mountain engulfed in powder, edging groomers or busting through the chowder. This image from Mammoth Mountain during a great day of edge to edge movement while snapping off the tail whenever possible…Blotto

Time Photo

 

Nice article over at Time Photo by Josh Raab, outlining ten snowboard photographers to follow on Instagram, including my name on the list, thank you!!! Blotto

10 Snowboard Photographers to Follow on Instagram

Jan 27, 2017

Snowboarding is about pushing the limits. Not only for the athletes but for the photographers who document them.

The sport has its roots in counter culture, but has risen to competition-level where only the fittest and creative prevail. And, again, the same can be said for the photographers who are branching out into alternative processing, creative lighting and layout techniques to elevate their work.

Constantly changing terrain and long hours spent waiting for riders to come down the mountain set the stage for experimentation.

Snowboard photographer-turned-fine art photographer Cole Barash explains that “90% percent of the time you are isolated to environments that are white with nothing else but white. No lines, no color, just white.” It was up to him to change the variables to make his images stand out whether it be by using film, lighting or even by playing with the composition.

Of the many snowboard photographers out there, these are 10 to follow as the winter progresses.

Pray For Snow Gallery

TheGoodLife! and Fice Gallery put on one heck of a benefit photo show last night! What a great time seeing all the heads roll through, catching up, listening to the solid sounds of Jesse Tré and TJ Mizell, checking out TheGoodLife! photographer collective’s work and enjoying beverages from 10 Barrel Brewing Company, all while raising money for the good folks at POW.

If you couldn’t make it through last night, Fice is open seven days a week and you’re more than welcome to stop in and check the photography (all proceeds going to POW), it’s showing for the next month. They’re located at 2654 Walnut Street in Denver, Colorado.

Once again, BIG UP to all who stopped in and supported the cause! Blotto

Photos in this blog post by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto

Cover Archives X Trevor Andrew

Publication: Pleasure Magazin (Germany)

Publish Date: 2008

Rider: Trevor Andrew

Location:  Snowpark, New Zealand

Film Processing: Digital Image

Image by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto

PRAY FOR SNOW

TheGoodLife! would like to cordially invite you to join us on Wednesday, January 25th for the opening of “Pray For Snow” at Fice Gallery in Denver!

“Pray For Snow” is a group exhibition featuring renowned photographers Jimmy Chin, Cole Barash, Dean Blotto Gray, Laura Austin, Meg Haywood-Sullivan, and Craig Wetherby. “Pray for Snow” is dedicated to spreading awareness of the decreasing resource of snow on our planet with proceeds from print sales going directly to benefit Protect Our Winters.

“Pray For Snow” was made possible by our friends at 10 Barrel Brewing. Full info below:
Opening Reception
Fice Gallery
2654 Walnut Street, Denver
6pm – 9pm
Afterparty to Follow
10 Barrel Brewing
2620 Walnut Street, Denver
9pm – Midnight
Music by JesseTré & TJ Mizell  |  Hospitality by 10 Barrel Brewing


“Pray For Snow” will run from 1/25 through 2/25 with viewing hours of 11am-8pm Monday to Saturday and noon to 6pm on Sunday. Come check it out!

About TheGoodLife!
TheGoodLife! is a consortium of artists, athletes, activists, and friends who specialize in creating experiences with unparalleled impact. Join the movement @wearethegoodlife on Instagram and at wearethegoodlife.com.

About Protect Our Winters
Protect Our Winters is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that engages and mobilizes the outdoor sports community to lead the fight against climate change through educational initiatives, political advocacy and community-based activism. Founded by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones in 2007, Protect Our Winters works with businesses, athletes and the community to harness the collective power of the outdoor sports industry to take meaningful action against climate change. For more information, visit protectourwinters.org.