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07-10-2007, 05:48 AM

Ski photo contest draws 800 entries
By Mike Gorrell
The Salt Lake Tribune

Photographer Lee Cohen did not know what to expect when he and skiers Cody Barnhill and Julian Carr headed to Rocky Point one late spring day.

He knew photographers and their skier/boarder models flock to picturesque backcountry perches every good-weather day. So he figured a popular spot like Rocky Point, on the Brighton side of the Catherine's Pass ridgeline from Alta, would be crowded.

"It's usually a zoo out there, but lo and behold, it was pristine. There was nobody in town," said Cohen, who won the fourth annual Ski Utah Photo Contest with a shot of Barnhill making a tip-crossing move after hurtling off Rocky Point, far above a steep, deep landing zone.

"We hung around and worked it," he added. "It clouded up. You can see the sky was a little milky. So I worked with Cody blocking the sun. It had a neat effect, a little different from the normal bluebird day shot."

The effect worked for judges from Ski Utah and pictureline, the Salt Lake City photographic company that helped sponsor the contest.

More than 800 photos were submitted, up from 500 the previous winter. As the grand prize winner, Cohen, of Cottonwood Heights, is eligible for two round-trip airfares to Salt Lake City on Delta Air Lines, five nights of lodging for two, four days of skiing/snowboarding for two, a $200 Hertz voucher and a $500 gift certificate toward the purchase of a Canon digital SLT camera at pictureline.

Cohen also won an award for the best picture of a "perfect powder" day while Dan Campbell Lloyd and Michael Schirf took first and second places, respectively. Honorable mention photographs shot by Julie Shipman, Marty Brammer and Matt Roon will be used in Ski Utah's "Winter Vacation Planner," circulation roughly 500,000.

Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty was delighted by the number of contest entries and the quality of the winning entries.

"We're lucky to have some of the best professional and amateur snowsports photographers anywhere living right here in Utah," he said. "You wouldn't be able to tell we had an 'off' year in terms of snowfall by those pics."

Cohen, 48, a longtime Alta skier and a photographer with a lengthy list of magazine credits, said he had a pretty decent season in 2006-07 despite the spotty snowfall.

"When it dumped in February it worked out really well for me," he said. "There was probably a two-week period where we had outstanding snow, it would clear up perfectly and I would get the shot."

For new Ski Utah spokeswoman Jessica Kunzer, Cohen's observations and his pictures emphasized that "even a bad year in Utah is better than a good year in other places. The constant presence of snow inspires a lot of local skiers and visitors to get out there and have the fun and family experiences that can be had in Utah's mountains, whether we have powder or nice groomers."

And releasing these pictures now, with temperatures daily approaching 100 degrees in the Salt Lake Valley, also is designed to produce a result.

"It should inspire people to pray for a little more snow this next season," Kunzer said.

Hot shots
A skier hurtling off a ridge into steep, deep powder, and more deep powder on a plunging shoulder and among the trees captured the judges' attention in the 2006-07 Ski Utah Photo Contest. The winners were:
* Grand Prize: Lee Cohen
* First Prize: Dan Campbell Lloyd
* Second Prize: Michael Schirf
* Perfect Powder Winner: Lee Cohen
* Honorable Mentions: Matt Roon, Julie Shipman, Marty Brammer, Kevin Winzeler, Nate Young (2005-06 winner), Will Wissman, Joel Addams, Justin Olsen