From the Archive: Dave Downing, 2001

Trevor Graves captures the moment with Dave Downing back in 2001

Photograph: Trevor Graves

I got some angry calls about this one from my peer group. Digital photography wasn’t really a thing yet, but I’d done some major photoshop shoots for the clothing brand Ecko Unltd so it was within my skill set to cut out a guy and put him on a ski lift cable. But the truth is, this shot is all organic. It was created with good old fashioned elbow grease.

“It was very important to Dave that he could legitimately jib the cable or the still shot would be unusable”

I was in Las Lenas, Argentina, with the Burton team. The secret is that this lift was closed due to an avalanche that had taken out one of the towers. The cable had fallen down and was stretched across the top of a knoll on the ski slope, and there was a decent landing about 20 feet down the cable. Dave, Marcus Egge and myself saw the potential and worked all day to dig the perfect in-run.

We pushed snow for what felt like about six hours to get the incline of the in-run to meet with the cable at a very slight pitch. The low angle was required because when Dave hopped onto the cable it would flex and bounce him off. It was very important to Dave that he could legitimately jib it or the still shot would be bogus and unusable. I used a 14mm lens, Fuji Velvia film, 1000th of a second at f5.6.

Dave actually slid the cable perfectly a total of about four times. I was literally just standing with my head next to it. In the meantime, the other 20 Burton riders were sessioning a 20-foot table top, which you can just make out in the lower right of the frame. But by the time we were able to capture this image, they were done for the day.

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