the dan milner photography blog: tales of an adventuring photo chimp

April 18, 2009

Going Deep in Alaska March-April 09

Filed under: snow — danmilner @ 6:02 pm

Well, what a blast that was. I just returned from a 4 week trip to Alaska, accompanying legendary snowboard names Jeremy Jones, Travis Rice, Jonaven Moore and Johan Ollafson and snowboard legend/guide Tom Burt in a quest to drive the big mountain aspect of snowboarding into new terrain, new challenges and new experiences. The trip was a quintessential part of an ongoing two-year TGR film project entitled DEEPER, whose aim is to leave behind the normal theatre of freeriding and re-introduce the element of adventure and exploration to big mountain snowboarding, a side of the sport that has largely become a heliski-driven circus of late. The pioneering aspect was firmly driven home by setting up a base camp deep in the Glacier Bay National Park (a zone that prohibits helicopter use) and solely using splitboards to hike the mountains for lines to ride and shoot surrounding the camp. Needless to say, attempting such a project among the big mountains and glaciers of Alaska, a place that is synonymous with the pioneering spirit, would be apt, but presents its own set of logistical and safety issues

After a scouting flight to select a suitable arena for the session, our group was dropped off by skiplane, whose subsequent  departure signaled the severing of the umbilical cord with the outside world, leaving us to our own devices to access the incredible terrain literally on our doorstep. Sunrise ascents and sunset descents  became the order of the four good weather days while a ten-day storm and -20 C temperatures at night tested both our resolve and our camera battery’s stamina (for the camera geeks, my Canon EOS 1D mkII’s muscley power packs coped fine, but the EOS 5D’s wimpy batteries died quickly living in this envrionment).  As if climbing into a cold sleeping bag isn’t uncomfortable enough at these kind of temperatures, having to sleep with your boot liners and batteries in your sleeping bag with you to prevent freezing just added to the mental challenge. Needless to say when it was on, it was “on”, making sure I came home with a healthy bag of keepers. The story is set to run next season in a number of titles including Transworld Snowboarding (USA), WhiteLines (UK), Snowboarder MBM (Germany) and Snowsurf (France) magazines.


The Jones takes a pre-breakfast scamper through our glacial back yard

The Jones takes a pre-breakfast scamper through our glacial back yard



  1. dan – this shot is dope!

    see you soon


    Comment by tom w-n — May 21, 2009 @ 11:34 am

    • Thanks Tom. Sometimes getting up at 5.30 am and braving the minus 20 C temperatures to shoot before breakfast pays off, and it isn’t often I will readily admit that.

      Comment by danmilner — June 21, 2009 @ 10:00 am

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