Sick Days: Alberta Spring Shoot

Words and Photos: Mike Yoshida

Over the years I've spent quite a few days on hill shooting spring park features. From the early days of Think Thank to the handful of Launch and Superparks that I've been to… the tally is high. The more park shoots I go to, the harder I find it to seek out new angles or a different perspective than the last time. So when I was invited up to Alberta for a park shoot with the SFD crew, there was no doubt that I was excited for this one. I had always loved the imagery that came out of the early Superparks held in the land of our neighbors to the north. Not only did the features look massive, but the back drops were world class, and I knew we were in for a treat.

The Canadian Rockies version of the Matterhorn.

We had the opportunity to shoot at two world class resorts, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise. Our first shoot went down at Sunshine, and it was a massive gap jump with a breathtaking backdrop. A massive pyramid-like peak rose out of the Canadian rockies, similar to the Matterhorn. When we did the site check, Bridges realized that this could be ideal for both a sunrise and sunset shoot. Although grueling for the riders and media crew, these types of back-to-back shoots always produce amazing imagery, and lends to a nice afternoon nap in between sessions.

Sun, rain, clouds, trees… Alberta is tight.

The riders were stacked. We had: Roope Tonteri, Hans and Nils Mindnich, Dustin Craven, Jake Blauvelt, Max Parrot, Matt Ladley, and Elena Hight. Roope and Max went to work quick, throwing down double corks, 1080s, and 1260s… these contest jocks new what to do and how to do it all with ease. Hans and Nils took the more creative approach with their contorting grabs and spins. At the end of the first sunset session, we had some great shots in the bag and rode down in the dark back to the hotel. The next morning, we awoke at 4:00am to get on hill via cat for the sunrise shoot. The warm morning light adorned the peaks in the background of the jump. The window of golden light is much smaller at dawn, so we made quick work of that session and proceeded to move on. The riders stuck to mostly stock tricks, since the snow was bulletproof and grogginess factored in at 6:00am.

This light is worth the early mornings and late nights.

The second feature we had lined up was a massive hip at Lake Louise. This was basically an exact replica of the hip that was shot at the Superpark that went down in the early 2000s. A young Dustin Craven was catapulted into the limelight because of his massive air that he landed at the age of 15, and he was back at it again a solid 13 years later to emulate that same air on the hip. Transition masters Ladley, Elena and Blauvelt went to work on the thing, boosting massive methods and pushing the limits on how far down the landing they could send it. The hip had two sides to it, so we would session the right side during the day, and the left side in the evening when the sun set perfectly behind it. Quite the session.

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