My friend and professional free-skier Hadley Hammer is one of today’s top female ski athletes. 4 years ago, shortly after we met, she hiked up to the top of a line called Smart Bastard in the backcountry adjacent to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. What happened next quickly became part of local legend. I stood in a location where probably dozens of photographers have stood to photograph skiers dropping this precarious backcountry line. So while I wasn’t redefining any part of photography history, Hadley Hammer had a different plan.
When she finally decided to ski Smart Bastard, she skied it like a downhill racer. She pointed her skis straight down the fall line only making one giant sweeping turn to the drop. Got close to 70 feet of air. Then simply skied away from the cliff zone. The crowd that gathered that morning let out a resounding “Fuck” as she took off and landed. There is a photo from that sequence that has been published dozens of times in the last four years since I created it. It’s been in Powder Magazine, our local JH Skier magazine and even in National Geographic to name just a few.
This fall, Line Skis came to me with an emergency. Hadley was going to be part of the upcoming Teton Gravity Research ski movie and she needed a poster to sign at the dozen or so premieres that were coming up. The poster need to go to print in 24 hours. They wanted to know what I had. Together, Line Skis and I thought it would be cool to create a sequence of the whole air combined into the one poster scene.
I opened all of the photos in Photoshop and roughly masked Hadley out of each frame. Line Skis loved the result. Their marketing department then took my quick mockup, perfected it, and built it into a poster. 48 hours later Hadley Hammer signed a copy for me at the premiere of TGR’s 21st ski film, “Tight Loose”.