Mike Douglas in Chile. PHOTO: GRANT GUNDERSON


WORDS: Kade Krichko

Skiers know that certain moments deserve a picture, not its 1000 word equivalent. But, unfortunately, many don’t know how to get that picture. Instead, they struggle with a frozen iPhone or fumble their new point-and-shoot, eventually conceding the special moment to the “delete” button.

For those interested in elevating their ski photography game, three ski photographers have teamed up to develop Valle Nevado’s Image Quest, a weeklong photo workshop and ski excursion at Valle Nevado Ski Resort in Chile. From September 7-14, participants will get a shot to work side-by-side with ski industry veterans Tom Winter, Grant Gunderson, and Nils Schlebusch.

“For those passionate about skiing and photography, it’s a pretty cool opportunity to learn how to combine them and see how the industry really works,” says Gunderson, current photography editor of The Ski Journal.

By providing a mix of world-class skiing and photo instruction, the program caters to the career-oriented action photographer, but also passionate skiers that want to take, “good action shots of their buddies,” says Gunderson.

And with operations based out of Valle Nevado, campers will have a chance to do just that. “There is a lot to work with, from lifestyle to action, to fantastic backcountry and landscapes,” says Winter. “And it’s all really accessible.”

From the instructor’s point of view, the camp is a chance to give something back to the photo community that supported them. “Photography creates the opportunity for more adventures, it opens doors that allow you to travel to amazing places, with amazing people,” says Winter. “I want to give people the keys to be able to open those doors.”

Learning from three well-known ski photographers with spreads in POWDER, Freeskier, Ski, and Skiing is a good way to start prying at those doors. Winter’s 20 years in photojournalism, Gunderson’s action photography, and Schlesbusch’s success in the high fashion world offer diverse photographic perspectives.

“It’s great because there’s three different photographers here with three different styles,” adds Gunderson. “I think campers get a lot more out of it that way.”

Days will consist of on-hill photography instruction as well as enough skiing to satiate the hungriest powder hounds. Instructors will rotate daily, so each camper will get a chance to interact with every instructor. After the lifts close, there will be a après seminar to give students time to go over the day’s work, refine technical skills, and pick the photographer’s brains, says Winter.

But while Gunderson urges students take full advantage of the instruction opportunity, he hopes they enjoy the opportunity as a whole. “I just want people to get some quality images and have fun. As long as it’s fun, I’ll keep going back.”
For more information on Image Quest, visit Valle Nevado’s website.