WHISTLER, BC – Iconic Whistler photographer Blake Jorgenson took home the King of Storms title at the fifth annual Deep Winter Photo Challenge, presented by ARC’TERYX and Whistler Blackcomb. Second place went to the event’s first-ever female competitor, Robin O’Neill, and third went to up-and-coming photographer Andrew Strain. Ten-year photography veteran, Ilja Herb’s epic ski photo was voted Best in Show by the panel of judges.
“I don’t think winning is as exciting as executing an idea and bringing it to life in front of the audience. For me that’s the thrill.” says Jorgenson. “As a photographer, I never choose the photos that get printed. It’s always somebody else’s choice. To come up with a concept and bring it to life exactly the way I want, in front of a home crowd, is the best thing ever.”
Jorgenson took home the $3,000 grand prize and will have his name added to the King of Storms trophy, a new addition to the event that was designed by Keith Berens at Live Metal Promo. All previous Deep Winter winners will be added to the trophy to commemorate their achievements.
The six photographers had three days to shoot in bounds at Whistler Blackcomb with their athlete teams. In addition to the photographers named above and powerhouse of athletes, Snowboard Canada Photo Editor John Scarth and accomplished snowboard photographer, Tim Zimmerman joined the quest for ‘King/Queen of Storms’ title and a total prize purse of $6,000.
As always, the competition fostered a friendly rivalry, which spurred photographer and athlete teams to designate themselves with off-beat team names such as: Team Storm Wizard, Team Steam Train, and Team Scarth.
Social Media played an ever-growing role in the competition with many of the Deep Winter athletes and photographers tweeting live throughout the competition. To find unique behind-the-scenes video and photos, and other interesting commentary, search #deepwinter on Twitter.
The final slideshows were played in front of a sold-out audience of 1200 spectators at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. The judging panel included: three-time Deep Winter and one-time SAINT Deep Summer Photo Challenge winner Jordan Manley
; Ski Journal editor, Mike Berard; SKIER Magazine editor, Leslie Anthony; veteran photographer, Eric Berger, freelance photographer, Bonny Mackarewicz; and honorary judge and first ever King of Storms, Paul Morrison.
Jorgenson’s slideshow featured dramatic and moody photography with big mountain athletes Kye Peterson and Dan Treadway, while O’Neill brought a woman’s touch to the competition; highlighting powerful female locals, including Whistler Blackcomb ski patroller, Darlene Douglas, who was featured throwing an avalanche bomb in one slide and kissing her child good night in the next. Strain’s approach was more grassroots; using light, color and comical portraits, such as an athlete wearing a beard of lichen.
The Deep Winter Photo Challenge, presented by ARC’TERYX was the signature event of GORE-TEX Deep Winter Experience, running January 8 – 16, featuring Roxy Snow Camps, Extremely Canadian ski clinics and discounts on GORE-TEX outerwear.