Image Maker: Chris Owen
Devun Walsh ~ April, 2011
Oregon-based photographer Chris Owen has traveled the world capturing pictures of snowboarders doing what they love. We asked him put together some of his favorite photos from the past decade, like this switch back three floater by Devun Walsh in the Whistler backcountry. "The parking lot already had 20 trucks in it when we arrived at 6:45," says Owen. "It seemed like it was going to be a race to hit any of the well-known jumps, so we tried to think of something different." They rode out farther than everyone else and did something that rarely happens in the Whistler backcountry anymore -- they hit a brand new jump.
Curtis Ciszek ~ February, 2011
A master of choosing lines, Curtis Ciszek picked his way through a short but dicey run-in and sent it into the sweet spot at the bottom of this little pillow-covered pitch in the Kootenays. "Curtis is one of my favorite snowboarders," says Owen. "He might not have every triple cork on lock, but he knows how to ride his snowboard."
Danny Davis ~ November, 2008
On his way to shoot a rail in Aspen with Jeremy Jones and Keegan Valaika, Chris Owen stopped at Copper Mountain to check out practice for a pro halfpipe contest. This silhouette shot of Danny Davis happened right as Owen walked up to the bottom of the pipe. "It was really crowded in there, and it was impossible to tell who was who -- except for Danny," says Owen. "You can always tell when it's him." Owen knew that he only had enough lens to shoot the last hit and had no idea what Davis would pull when he got there. Lucky for us, he executed this impeccable frontside invert.
Josh Dirksen ~ February, 2005
Years before any gold medals got handed out at Sochi, Chris Owen traveled to Russia with a Mack Dawg film crew -- including rider Josh Dirksen -- and sessioned the natural spines and cornices of Krasnaya Polyana. At the time, the resort was just four rickety chairlifts positioned in a row leading to the very top of a giant ridgeline bordering Soviet Georgia. "I was blown away at riding all of these old chairlifts for an hour each morning to get to the top of some of the most insane terrain I'd ever seen inside a ski resort," says Owen.
Eric Jackson ~ February, 2011
"When I first met Eric Jackson, he was a teenage park and pipe rider from Mammoth," says Owen. "These days, he's so comfortable in the backcountry that I can't even imagine him riding a pipe." E-Jack's pursuit of powder led him to this snow-dolloped popper in the Kootenays, B.C., a few years ago, and this pretty picture is the result.
Elena Hight ~ April, 2007
Like Vancouver itself, this shot of a lofty air by Elena Hight at Grouse Mountain, B.C., is the perfect juxtaposition of mountains and city. "There was a weird kink in the landing of this hip that it made it really hard for anyone over five feet tall to land for some reason," says Owen. "Elena's small frame and strong legs got her through that stupid kink, and it made for a super fun session."
Kevin Pearce ~ April, 2009
This vintage Kevin Pearce alley-oop was captured during an epic spring session at Aspen Highlands, where Kevin and Luke Mitrani were riding and pushing each other long after everyone else had hung it up for the day. "They were both doing runs and one hitters that just pushed the limits of how big you can go in this pipe," says Owen. "This shot isn't Kevin's biggest air of the day, but I just like it."
Mark Landvik ~ February, 2005
Tucked into the shadowy side of Austria's Arlberg Valley, Stuben is packed with good terrain and yet remains relatively free of crowds. (Most tourists prefer the sun-facing slopes of Lech and Zrs.) "We found this road gap on the way down the hill after a long day of riding," says Owen. "Mark went frontside 540 just as this guy was coming down the cat track -- probably on his way to the bar."
Mads Jonsson ~ August, 2007
Mads Jonsson's dare-devilry is not confined to the winter months. Located just down the street from Burton headquarters in Burlington, Vermont, this cliff is upwards of 70-feet tall. On a sweltering August day, Jonsson and Owen broke out of a Burton studio shoot to go cool off in the water, and what you're looking at is the result. "This gainer was Mads' first and only jump off that cliff," says Owen.
Travis Rice ~ April, 2005
If you ever find yourself driving over Thompson Pass in Alaska and have time to burn, you could park your car and start hiking ... straight up. After a couple hours, you might stumble upon this jump. "The reason I like this shot is that it's probably the closest to civilization that Travis Rice ever gets on his film trips," says Owen. "I mean, most of the places he's riding you and I will never see." Not this spot, though. This one is "right off the highway."
Seth Huot ~ December, 2004
Though it's a decade old, this shot of Seth Huot's nosepress through the kink in Helsinki, Finland, still stands the test of time. "This was my first trip with Seth, and I'd never seen anyone nose press through a kink without looking sketchy or dropping the tail a bit," says Owen. "He handled this one quickly -- first night, first spot, and first shot of the trip."
Terje Haakonsen ~ May, 2009
Snapped at "the Big B" -- a Burton photo shoot on a playground of custom-made jumps and rails at Northstar-at-Tahoe, California, this shot shows that even one of the world's best snowboarders can just dork around once in a while. Burton's entire pro team was let loose on some amazing park terrain, and yet, "This is the shot that stands out for me," says Owen.