October and November in British Columbia marked almost two months of cloudy skies at Whistler Blackcomb. With only a tickle of snow along the way, opening day on November 24 was prepped to be a rugged one. The locals had low expectations.

Then the storm came on November 20, and photographers Reuben Krabbe and Andrew Strain could feel the town’s energy transform into bottled excitement. Snow fell in fat flakes over four days until the lifts started spinning at the resort. The low-pressure system stuck around for seven days, bringing some 100 inches of snow to the ski area. With a fresh coat, mid-mountain stashes were ripe for the picking.

On November 25th, Krabbe and Strain set out to Blackcomb to take some early season shots with a rotating cast of local characters, mostly professional skiers still finalizing plans for the winter, much happier forgetting about days on the calendar. Krabbe recalls his first turns of the day in powder so deep he double ejected, “only to find Ian McIntosh digging himself out of a hole at the bottom of the run.”