The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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U Student Participates in Major Ski Photo Competition

Alex Fulton skiing the backside of Baldy at Snowbird Ski Resort
Alex Fulton skiing the backside of Baldy at Snowbird Ski Resort

Each year, local skiers and expert photographers from around the world take to the Wasatch Mountains in an attempt to take the perfect photo. This year, two U students are representing each category in the competition.

Utah has hosted the photo contest, The Ski City Shootout, for the past nine years. Wray Sinclair, a junior in marketing, is one of the finalists for this year’s competition, taking place from Feb. 22 to 27. Sinclair also competed last year and said he is better prepared to face obstacles from last year, such as, “dealing with the fast pace of it.”

“Because you’re out all day and you’re constantly shooting,” Sinclair said, “when you get home you have to dump images and edit them, dry out gear, re-pack and be up at it the next day.”

Sinclair felt like the rookie last year. But now he is part of a tight-knit community of ski photographers and is excited to be with them again.

Shawn Stinson, spokesperson for Visit Salt Lake, said Sinclair was the dark horse last year and no one expected him to be the fantastic competitor he is. However, Sinclar did not walk away with any prizes.

“Everyone was pretty impressed by his abilities, and to this day, he has taken off,” Stinson said. “He definitely earned his stripes last year.”

Cash prizes are all funded by Visit Salt Lake and vary from $500 to $3,700. Awards go to the best portfolio, best of show, athlete’s choice and other categories.

Photographers must submit everything by Friday night, and a panel of judges made up of magazine editors and established ski photographers pick out the best shots. The competition takes place at four resorts — Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude — and photographers rotate resorts each day. The award ceremony will be at Brewvies Cinema Pub on Saturday, Feb. 27. The event is $15 and open to the public.

Each photographer is paired with three skiers — one they choose and two chosen through draft-style selection the night before the competition.

Sinclair selected fellow U student Jonnie Merrill, a junior in mechanical engineering, as his skier this year.

This is Merrill’s first year participating, and he said he’s excited for four days of free skiing with top-notch skiers. It will be hard to juggle tests and classes while on the slopes all day, but Merrill said he is excited for the chance to network with world-class skiers and photographers.

“We’ll probably both be hungry … to get a little bit of exposure and get some cool shots,” Merrill said.

Everyone is hoping for good weather, lighting and snow, which all play a factor in getting the perfect shot. Sinclair said he has already pre-visualized a lot of photos he hopes to capture but is ready for whatever the elements give him.

“It’s not just setting up and taking a picture,” he said. “It’s knowledge of the terrain, the resort, your athletes and the sport.”

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