SNOWBOARDER Photographer Ethan Fortier’s Favorite Photos of the Year


Happy New Year! For the end of the year round ups, we thought we would give our senior photographers a chance to share some of their favorites! Enjoy long-time staffer Ethan Fortier AKA E-Stone’s favorite photos from the year!

This year is coming to an end and we are all setting our sights on 2020. Hoping to correct our errors from the past year and hopefully do better in the new year. Maybe your hoping to ride more in 2020 or quit smoking or maybe save more money what ever it might be this is your chance at a clean slate. As we all ponder how to be better in the new year, I always take the opportunity to take a look back. Take a look through all my photos of the 2019 season and remember some of my favorite moments.

And 2019 was a pretty amazing season if you lived in Utah like I do. It was one of the snowiest seasons I can remember with good snow in the streets off and on from Dec. 1 until March. The mountains just got a continuous hammering and stacked up one of the deepest bases we have had in some time, giving the locals an amazing amount of powder days. It was really the perfect season… and I only hope we can be so lucky to have another one just like it this coming year. A nice snow year in Utah means more shooting at home and that is always a great thing. It’s good to be reminded why I came here in the first place!

Check out this gallery of some of my favorite photos of 2019. It’s really hard to narrow it down as I feel connected to so many photos for so many reasons. Maybe it’s what went into getting the photo or because the rider worked so hard to get it with you. Either way, you end up emotionally connected to certain photos and those become your favorites. With the amount of photos I shoot in a year narrowing it down to 10 photos was quite the challenge for me. I made my picks and here in no special order are my 10 favorite photos of 2019!

This article originally appeared on and was republished with permission.

This was one of the first spots we shot for the season.

I knew it would take a smaller rider with some good tranny skills to hit this spot because you had to duck through a short doorway and then be ready for the tranny to get up the wall and onto the ceiling. It’s so rare so find an indoor spot like this and it was really fun to shoot. Lots of angles and cool ways to play with the lighting. The wide angle made it on the cover of the last issue of SNOWBOARDER mag but I also really like this long angle as it shows the feature in a really good way.

Photo: Courtesy of E-Stone/SNOWBOARDER Magazine

We actually got kicked out the first time we set this feature up.

We got it all built and Eric was just about to give it a go and then, bam, the Parks and Rec guy was kicking us out. They always seem to wait until you have it fully built and put in tons of work before they give you the boot. They tore it down with a large snow plow but we were too stoked on it to let it get away. We came in the night setting it up in the dark making sure it was 100% ready for action. Then we came at first light hoping to get it done before anyone discovered what we were doing. Eric had it done and stomped before the sun even popped over the mountains. He actually waited for the sun to blast the feature with that nice light and then hit it a few more times so we could get this lighting in the photo.

Photo: Courtesy of E-Stone/SNOWBOARDER Magazine

Bode had permission from the owner of this house to snowboard on it.

So, when the cops rolled by and tried to give us a hard time we could tell them to beat it! It was a great feeling. This image is on my top-ten list not only because the trick Bode is doing is really sick but I also love how Chip’s dog Red is chilling in the foreground taking it all in. Red has probably seen more dope snowboarding go down then any other dog on Earth. She sits on jumps to help them set up and always knows to stay out of the way of the snowboarders and where to hang when we start shooting.

Photo: Courtesy of E-Stone/SNOWBOARDER Magazine

We drove for a couple hours from SLC to Idaho just to hit this rail.

It was such a beast. Forty-plus stairs with an abrupt extra long donkey at the end. Grenier, Bode and Justin Keniston (aka Chip) battled this bad boy all day long and in the end Chip pulled this board slide just as the last light was leaving the rail and it would be too dark to film. Bode and Chip were both battling to see who could pull a board slide first so I like how Bode is watching him in the background. Fun fact: Bode pulled a 50-50 on this rail in his first three tries so everyone thought it was going to be easy to get some tricks done on it. In the end the kink on the end made it really hard for them as you build up a ton of speed and got super bucked off it. It turned into an all-day battle session with us walking away with 50-50’s for Bode and Grenier and Chip’s buzzer beater board slide.

Photo: Courtesy of E-Stone/SNOWBOARDER Magazine

In late January I went to Finland with the Salomon team after Helsinki got its largest storm in 7 years!

This rail was located right in downtown Helsinki. There was a ton of foot traffic because it was located right near a busy bus stop. In the USA we would have been busted before we even got the spot set up but in Finland they love that you are enjoying the outdoors and braving the cold temps. This feature had lots of cool angles but I really like this one because of all the kids watching Riley shred in the foreground. The kids were super excited. Who knows, maybe seeing this will inspire them to try out snowboarding.

Photo: Courtesy of E-Stone/SNOWBOARDER Magazine

This photo was also shot in Helsinki, Finland.

This crazy snow chute is used by the plow drivers to move the snow from the top level of a parking garage down to the bottom so they can fully clear the parking area of snow. This was a dream spot for the riders and they all had a super good time riding it. Seb got my favorite photo of the session when he did this super deep press down the side of the snow chute.

These last four images were all taken during a week-long night shoot we did for the Contrast movie in Brighton’s backcountry. Bode had us fully switch up our schedules to become nocturnal. Most afternoons we would go up and check out what we wanted to shoot that night while there was still some light to see the terrain or spend time building until the sun went down. Bode and Erik were only using the lights from their headlamps to see no special film lighting. We were hiking around the backcountry at night so we could only bring what we could carry and had to be mindful of avalanche conditions. I had to be very selective as to what flashes I could bring as the normal large Elinchrom I like to shoot with for night shooting was way too heavy to hike around with. This project was very challenging and tons of fun to shoot. Getting your focus dialed in the dark is no easy task and with powder you really only get one shot at it and then its tracked so you really need to be on your A game. I’m really stoked Bode pushed us to do this and Im really happy with how everything came out. After spending so much time focusing on urban snowboarding this was some of the most fun I have had shooting ever. If you want to see the video that goes along with these photo’s then be sure to check out the night portion of the Contrast edit. Paul Osbourne did an amazing job putting it all together.

Photo: Courtesy of E-Stone/SNOWBOARDER Magazine

Bode has a huge smile on his face as he lights up the night with this pow slash at Brighton, UT.

If any photographers are reading this, the secret to getting the moody lighting is to have the rider actually hold your flash or attach it to their pack and trigger it with a Pocket Wizard. The flash lighting bounces off the snow in a different way every time and gives you some really cool results. You need to have some trust that the riders your working with wont drop your flash and be sure to put the flash in a bag to keep it dry. You can mess around with putting the flash in the back or the front of the rider and also pointing the flash away from or right at the rider. All of these techniques will give you different results but either way the snow will bounce the light around and light up your subject in amazing ways that would not be possible with standard flash techniques. The effect is so much fun to play with and in my opinion creates really cool results. It’s really easy to mess these shots up but luckily everything resets after the next storm and you can try it all again.

Photo: Courtesy of E-Stone/SNOWBOARDER Magazine

Bode does a one foot front three landing with only the light of his head lamp. Brighton, UT.

This was shot with the camera on tripod with a shutter release cord. Opening up the shutter right as he leaves the jump and then trigger your Pocket Wizard with your other hand to pop the flashes at the key moment of the trick. After he lands close the shutter completing the photo. The open shutter captures the trail of the headlamps and picks up some ambient light for the background and then the flash of course captures the action. The hardest part is its so dark out you can’t see the rider very well making it really hard to know when to pop the flashes. You have to really try to time when the peak of the air will be and need to know how the rider does the trick so you can use a sixth sense and really feel the right moment to pop the flash. Landings on pow jumps get ruined real fast so you need to be on point as you might only get one chance to get it right.

Photo: Courtesy of E-Stone/SNOWBOARDER Magazine

Erik Leon, Brighton, UT

I’m hyped on the mood the lighting gives this photo. The flash is in his back hand pointing at him giving the nice back lit effect you see. The back layer of pow spray is lit up from the light bouncing off of him and then lighting up the snow but the front layer is back lit creating the black silhouetted snow.

Photo: Courtesy of E-Stone/SNOWBOARDER Magazine

The three riders took the last chair up Milly lift at Brighton while the filmer Paul and I went up the Crest lift.

Paul and I needed to be set up on an opposing peak so we could get a clear view of them riding down Tuscarora peak and be at a vantage point where we could clearly see the whole mountain. Both crews spent some time hiking to get into position and then we set up and waited for it to get dark. We communicated with radios and one-by-one they did their lines. This is image is a composite of three images. Randy, Bode and Erik from right to left riding from top to bottom and with the shutter kept open from drop-in until when they stop the light of their head lamps show us the line they took and then each image is blended into one to show you all three lines in one image. The orange sky is the light pollution of SLC reflecting off the clouds over Mount Tuscarora. If you want to try to get an image like this just make sure to get a really nice tripod and a shutter release cord is a must.

Photo: Courtesy of E-Stone/SNOWBOARDER Magazine

The post SNOWBOARDER Photographer Ethan Fortier's Favorite Photos of the Year appeared first on Men's Journal.

Comments are closed.