Photos and words by Brent Benson
Utah mining history is one of the reasons you see so many gap jumps coming out of Utah. Little Cottonwood Canyon is a mecca for mine tailing piles, and the 550-inch average snowfall doesn’t hurt either. I call Grizzly Gulch in Little Cottonwood Canyon “The Greatest Superpark On Earth.” Note: All of these gap jumps were hand-built and some required up to 200 man-hours. Everything has to be perfect, not just the jump. Kris Ostness’ favorite quote on the subject: “A perfect in-run makes for a perfect landing.”
About Brent Benson: Photographer Brent Benson (brentbensonphotography.com) was one of the catalysts behind the monster gap craze that swept Utah in the late 90s, early 00s, launching the careers of pro skiers such as Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, the Collins Brothers, and Jamie Pierre, and putting otherwise underground local Jedis such as Chad Zurinskas, Rick Roblewski and Chris Minneci in the skiing limelight. As such, he and Kris Ostness were often the only ones on scene to document the first time many of these behemoths were hit. In those days, the kicker was often destroyed as soon as the session ended to eliminate copy cats. We asked Brent to send us some of his best moments in monster gap history… And we’re happy that he kindly obliged. Enjoy.