Bud Fawcett by Tom Hsieh, 1987, Boreal
Tom and TK at Mt. Baker. No highbacks.
A young ripper from South Shore, Vito Loconte was always fun for photos as he had some great style for the early days.
Intro to first five years
Shooting with the early Tahoe posse and seeing my photos on the pages of mags was the driving force for me to make countless road trips from Santa Barbara to Tahoe in early 1985. I enjoyed more than five years of couch surfing and shooting the antics of early legends, which was as much fun as the action. Much of the credit for my early success was also due to the lesser famous b-team and sometimes no-team riders that visited North Shore. They were my teachers as well as my pupils and I have so much respect for all of them.
Jamie Johnston at Carson Pass. My first snowboard action photo.
Jamie Johnston, Chuck Barfoot, Bryan Judge at Carson Pass, after my first day on a snowboard (our tracks on right).
January 1985 - April 1985
Ultimate Road Trip
TK at Mt. Baker (2nd Place). My first published snowboard photo in North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.
Donner Ski Ranch and Sierra Cup.
I spent lots of time going to the snow from a rental darkroom in Santa Barbara where I quickly developed the 400 speed Tri-X under careful scrutiny of proprietor Walt Welker. Actually, in many cases I agitated the film tanks too much in my excitement to see the results. (Over agitation causes the edges of the film to over-develop, making the edges of the prints lighter.) My next trip back to Tahoe was for the Sierra Cup (downhill and halfpipe) on Feb 9-10 in 1985. I arrived early and BK put me up at his parents' guest house. In a typical February dump, I can remember finding my car the next morning when I shoveled down to the sunroof…a good five footer. It was Friday morning before the Sierra Cup and I met up with Tom Sims, Terry Kidwell, and Shaun Palmer at Donner Ski Ranch. I-80 had closed because of “too much snow,” so we pretty much had first, second, and third tracks. My personal achievement that day was making my first top-to-bottom powder run without stopping or falling. My photo achievement was taking two photos that are among my most recognized. I shot about two rolls of Plus-X black and white (lucky me) that day.
The next day we returned to the summit for the first and only Sierra Cup (Feb 9-10) at Soda Springs at Donner Summit.
(L to R) (1) Shaun Palmer, 1985 at Soda Springs. (2) BK had blown his knee out and now was an official judge of the upcoming Pro Am. (3) Tom and TK at Mt. Baker. No Highbacks. (4) Joel Gomez (Sessions) navigates the bottom gates.
Tom Burt at the Slide Mountain halfpipe (now a part of Mt. Rose Ski area).
Dan Donnelly tail grab at the '85 Pro Am.
Keith Kimmel, backside air at Soda snowditch as Keith Daly looks on.
Snowboarding Pro Am.
My last road trip to Tahoe was to shoot the World Snowboarding Pro AM (Downhill, Slalom, Halfpipe) at Soda Springs on Mar 29, 30, 31st. It was the third year of the event before it moved to Breckenridge in 1986. Sidelined by his knee injury, BK was a fine host as the legends of snowboarding trickled in and out of his parents' guest house for the weekend. Heingartner, Coghlan, Gomez, Loconte, Palmer, Kimmel, just to mention a few. I had spent the week deciding that I really wanted to move to the snow but had not discovered how I was going to pull that off. Tahoe had its share of ski photographers that were just starting to discover snowboarding and I was still pretty green at this shooting thing. In March 1985, Absolutely Radical (renamed Int’l Snowboard Magazine in the second issue) was published by a young Tom Hsieh Jr. of San Francisco and magically appeared at the final events of the season. Keith “Slasher” Kimmel appeared on the cover.