We spoke to Max Lowe, the photographer on our latest shoot in British Columbia, about his work, the trip and what it was like out in the powder wilderness of BC.
All images in this article © Max Lowe.
Q: Hi Max, tell us a little bit about yourself!
A: My name is Max Lowe, I am from Bozeman Montana and I am an adventure storyteller. I started as a still photographer at the beginning of my career and have since gone on to shoot and direct film as well, but my heart still ties me to still photography in something I just truly love.
Q: What was your role on the shoot in British Columbia?
A: I joined the Faction crew in B.C. to do a week at the Sunrise Hut, shooting stills with a small crew of skiers as we traversed an amazing spectrum of some of the most beautiful skiing terrain I have been privy to. We spent a week up there, cut off from the outside world purely focused on getting into the mountains from sunup to sundown.
Q: How would you describe Sunrise Lodge?
A: Sunrise lodge is everything you could ever need in a backcountry hut while still being basic. With cooking and wood fired heating, beds for everyone and even a little sauna, it’s the perfect home base for long days.
Q: To outsiders, BC has an almost spiritual reputation as a dream location. Would you say that’s true? Is there a special aura around this place?
A: I would say that B.C. definitely holds some sort of spiritual sway. There are snowy mountains the world across, but in B.C., where you can look out and see massive peaks and infinite potential to ski pretty much as far as the eye can see, it’s easy to see it as the legendary Valhalla for those who value snow sliding. During out stay at Sunrise as well, I feel like the spiritual aspect of the place really came to the forefront as well in the sense that we felt so utterly isolated in this amazing snowscape. The snow is so deep that no animals really venture that high up, and even the birds don’t go much above the tree line so your walking through these snowy landscapes that seem almost sterilely quiet and pristine.
Q: What were the team’s plans for the trip? Are there any particular lines / routes / peaks that stick out to you?
A: When we flew in, we honestly didn’t really know what we would find. We hadn’t hired a guide, and didn’t have much knowledge of the area beyond some topo maps we had scoured, but that didn’t end up mattering much anyway. When you get to the hut, your immediately drawn to the high alpine; these huge peaks towering above, so those became our objectives pretty quickly, but as the week went by we started to discover all these other amazing lines that we had overlooked in the trees and side country near the lodge.
Q: What’s it like working with Tim, Duncan, Antti & Etienne?
A: Working with the crew we had up there was amazing, it always amazes me when I am able to shoot with professional athletes like them. There is a beautiful formula that occurs when as a photographer your able to take a landscape and the talents of athletes who can take your vision as the creative and bring it to life.
Q: It was Antti’s first time skinning right? How was his backcountry debut?
A: Antti did well over all! I was super surprised how well he kept up with the crew for it being his first time touring, and we did some huge days that definitely were pushing my boundaries of comfort.
Q: What is your process for shooting on a trip like this? Tell us about how you choose your angles and spots?
A: In general I try and work with the light as much as possible regardless of what I am shooting and that doesn’t change when it comes to skiing. I think its always fun to try and find new angles and challenging frames where timing and placement of the athlete in the image is going to have to be precise as well.
Q: Is there one moment that has stuck with you from this trip?
A: Our first day out was mostly an exploratory mission just scoping zones, but on our way back to the hut we topped out on this big peak overlooking the hut and the whole valley it was nestled down in. The sun was setting and at the same time a wicked wind was blowing super hard and snow was thick in the air, and it was the moment that it all really came home how wild and remote this place was out here in the mountains.
Q: Do you think you’d go back?
A: Oh god, without a doubt! I am already scheming a trip for next year..