A few weeks ago, we set out on a herculean task: to identify the best Alta photos that have ever graced the pages of POWDER and then put them up for an audience vote on which is the greatest of them all. We sent Director of Photography Dave Reddick deep into the magazine’s archive, and he emerged — many days later and demanding a ticket to Salt Lake — with eight from which to choose.

Over the course of three rounds, thousands of you made your voices heard, and the contenders went back and forth like some sort of wrestling cage match, only with static, two-dimensional images capturing some of the best skiing you’ve ever seen instead of huge fat guys in spandex singlets. Would it be the one with chest deep powder? Or the skier bathed in golden light and flashing snow crystals? Or the new school-meets-old school air in a snowstorm? In the end, only two could be the winner.

That’s right, two.

The final tally was so close, so within the margin of error, that a clear victor could not be determined. But, upon review, that actually makes sense. We didn’t need statistical analysis to know that an iconic air shot can’t really be “better” than an iconic deep pow shot, but your votes proved it. So, we’re proud to announce the two winners of POWDER’s Best Alta Photo Contest:

Volume 36 / Number 1 / September, 2007 / SKIER: Dave McReynolds / PHOTO: Lee Cohen

Dave McReynolds, captured by Lee Cohen in the September, 2007 issue. Not that the year matters — if there is a more timeless image taken by a photographer with a legitimate claim as Alta’s Poet Lauréat, we haven’t seen it (and we’ve seen most of them).

28.2 / October, 1999 / Shooting Gallery / SKIER: Chad Zurinskas / PHOTO: Brent Benson

Chad Zurinskas, captured by Brent Benson in the October, 1999 issue. Before some of the world’s most famous skiers hit Chad’s Gap, there were legitimate questions about whether or not it was possible. Zurinskas showed everyone the answer, and that’s how you get one of the sport’s most famous jumps named after you.

Check back soon to learn which voters won the Grand Prize and Runner Up prize package drawings.