In 2009 I left a corporate finance career in New York City to move west in search of a lifestyle that would be centered around the outdoors. I landed in Salt Lake City, Utah with no idea what I would do except spend my first winter as a ski bum at Snowbird Ski Resort. I landed a job working inside a small photography shop at the resort called Powdershots where I’d be able to ride every day and work the afternoon shift. Up until this point I had never shown much interest for photography or art in general. I probably had never picked up a Powder magazine or watched a TGR movie, but at the ripe age of 32, I was instantly mesmerized by ski photography. After a few months of working in the shop and learning how to use a camera in my free time, the owner offered me a chance to capture ski photos during a powder day on the hill. I remember being both nervous and excited to post up in the back bowl at Snowbird. I took photos until there was no powder left before returning to the shop to view the results. That afternoon I sold a set of digital images to a tourist who was beyond stoked that I captured him in deep powder. My boss came up to me, congratulated me, and informed me that I should now consider myself a professional photographer! While I was far from it, that day will always be etched in memory as the start of my photography career.
Over the next few years I consumed myself with learning everything I could about photography while also learning how to become a more proficient snowboarder. I gravitated towards shooting skiing as many of the friends I made on the mountain happened to be skiers and would invite me out to shoot photos of them. I bought every ski magazine I could and studied skier form, composition and use of light. I eventually worked my way into the backcountry and started to explore more terrain with my friends. When it was not winter I worked hard to develop a portfolio of landscape imagery which drove me to explore the unknown and accomplish my initial goal of being outside.
In the Spring of 2013 I mustered up the courage to send over my best images from the past winter to Powder Magazine, and soon after, I had my first image published. At that moment in time I knew ski photography was something I would pursue to my fullest ability.
Fast forward to 2021 and I am beyond grateful for what the ski community has provided to me. I’ve traveled to beautiful locations in Alaska, Canada, Norway and across the states in pursuit of capturing a fleeting moment of a skier in powder. To have my images published alongside some of the greatest sports photographers in the world is an honor that will never get old. Until then, I will continue my career as a photographer spending my winters in the deepest powder I can find. I’m truly living my dream and proof you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to.
Selecting my top 5 images almost felt like a punishment. Trying to decide which images, which friends of mine I would include, while also showing a variety of work was a challenge. I hope you enjoy the five I’ve selected. — Jay Dash
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