Skiers hike out the gate at Crystal Mountain. Courtesy:

Skiers hike out the gate at Crystal Mountain. Courtesy:

Behind every beautiful ski shot, there is discussion and decision. Are you beeping? What's the aspect? What's the history of the snowpack, and what is the weather doing? Are you missing any red flags? Where are the islands of safety? And finally, is it safe?

While those conversations happen daily in the backcountry, the process rarely, if ever, gets filmed. All we see is the result of a skier ripping a sexy line. The preparation and decision-making process is maintained only within that group.

But a consortium of ski industry members is hoping to change that. A contest called "Know the Snow" is asking for skiers and snowboarders to film their backcountry preparation. The contest started at the beginning of March, and the deadline was recently extended to April 7. Submissions will be eligible to win prizes such as cat skiing, free skiing, and fresh gear.

An outgrowth of "Project Zero"—a campaign led by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education—"Know the Snow" is intended to expose the preparation that goes into every deep powder line. Along with Project Zero, the goal is not to instill fear, but rather educate backcountry users about how to mitigate their risk in the avalanche terrain.

For more information and submission guidelines, go to And to get involved with Project Zero, click-in to