Behind the Lens: the importance of snow

Snow-covered trees near the summit of Gore Mountain. Photo by Mike Lynch

One of the stories we’re currently working on is about the future of snow, which has become more unreliable in recent years due to climate change and warming temperatures.

Alpine ski resorts figure to be prominently featured in the story, so on Tuesday I visited Gore Mountain to capture images for the story.

We choose this venue for the assignment because state-run facilities have made a pledge to use more green energy to offset their traditional energy uses. Gore gets energy from a solar panels and has been transitioning to more efficient snow-making equipment. Ski resorts are also economic drivers in the region and a large part of the winter culture.

Gore Mountain base operations from above. Photo by Mike Lynch

As I arrived at Gore Mountain shortly after sunrise, alpenglow caused the resort’s slopes to glow with a reddish hue. Unfortunately, I was arriving at the tail end of this scene and didn’t get any photos. But that was okay, there was still plenty of scenic photos to be captured.

Shortly after I arrived, I met with Howie Carbone, Gore’s assistant mountain manager. After talking a few minutes, we headed up the mountain on a snowmobile to look at some of the different types of snow guns – which have become more efficient in recent years – and some of the related infrastructure.

A snow gun runs in the early morning hours. Photo by Mike Lynch

After the snowmobile tour, we grabbed our skis and explored the mountain. Howie gave me a tour and then I went off on my own. From this point on, I wanted to capture images that showed “the importance of snow.”

One place that seemed to fit the theme of our story was a section of the mountain called the “Natural North.” Here, skiers get to enjoy natural snow, as opposed to that made by the many snow guns on the trails.

Some skiers seek out trails with natural snow. Photo by Mike Lynch

But I was also trying to find aesthetically pleasing winter settings where I could put skiers in the foreground. One of the obvious ways to do this was to photograph the chairlifts in front of scenic backdrops.  

Skiers ride the lift on the way up the mountain. Photo by Mike Lynch

But the place that really caught my attention was the summit. Here, the trees were coated in snow and seem to have the most wintry feel at the resort, not to mention a great view of the High Peaks. I spent a good deal of the early afternoon standing there photographing the different scenes, watching the scene unfold before me.

A view from the summit of Gore Mountain. Photo by Mike Lynch

Behinds the Lens is a regular column by multimedia reporter Mike Lynch about photography and his assignments. It appears the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month.

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