On Christmas day there were presents in the living room of the rented cottage on Cox Bay, BC wrapped in well read pages of the New York Times. They were pages from this story, a story I had heard about, but had not yet been able to bring myself to read beyond a brief scan of the on line multimedia piece. Every so often I post a link to a gallery or a short video because I want to share something I’ve found which interests or inspires me creatively as a photographer. This morning I knew that I had to return to something that I have been putting off for weeks, the New York Times’ Snow Fall – The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.
I’ve spent much of this morning with this piece, with the galleries and the interviews, reviewing the graphics and, at times, clearing the tears from under my glasses. This is a story about tragedy and heartbreak the details of which I will leave for you to discover. When I was young, I spent every moment I could on Whistler or Blackcomb Mountains. If I wasn’t skiing I was thinking about skiing and conspiring with a few close friends of our next weekend on the hill. By the time I left for University I had been trained as an instructor and had volunteered with the Ski Patrol. The only future self I imagined was much closer to the men and women featured in this story than who I have eventually become.
I can’t imagine there are many multimedia pieces as well crafted as this, and this is the real reason for this post. It isn’t about specific images, videos, interviews or subjects, it is about how these elements have been brought together by reporters, editors, producers and photographers. Snow Fall is an unbelievably good piece of reporting and story telling that will affect you even if you’ve never spent a day in the mountains or have taken a single turn on skis. Be prepared, however, this is not a quick read, take your time and follow every link and finish by watching the 10 minute documentary at the end.