Park City Powder Cat Guides – The American Worker #8

JohnnyStairStepsV2This entry into The American Worker Series led me way up high to some of the very best back country skiing terrain available in the country.     I was very fortunate recently to have been invited to join the guides of Park City Powder Cats on the beautiful 1000 Peaks Ranch in the high Uinta Mountains  just east of Park City Utah for two days during a storm that dumped well over foot and a half of fresh powder on of some of the most epic terrain I have ever ridden.   Over the two days I met some amazing people and got some really great photos while getting access to some of the most epic skiing and snowboarding terrain one can find.    *Note-  Some of these images need to be seen large to really get enormity of the terrain…. click the image to see a larger version.PCPowdercats1394PCPowdercats1553For those of you that have not heard of back country Powder Cat skiing,  you don’t know what you have been missing.    Instead of skiing within the boundaries of a ski resort and being herded with the hoards and masses up ski lifts where you are lucky if you get one un-tracked line on a powder day,  you are instead being brought up a private mountain in a heated Powder Cat coach that delivers you and 9 or 10 other lucky skiers and snowboarders to the top of some of the best un-tracked terrain in the country.    At Park City Powder Cats they have over 43,000 acres of private land to choose from.   That is an area larger than Vail,  Aspen and Killington Mountains combined.    What that means is you can go for days and days and never have to ski over someone’s tracks if you choose not to.       We are talking HUGE bowls of steep and deep riding in some of the lightest and fluffiest powder I have ever experienced,  which says a lot as I have well over 20 years on the snow.

A warning though….  a few good days here will literally ruin your experience at even the very best ski resort out there.    It sets the benchmark way high and everything else pales by comparison.  🙂

CatOnPeak1 PCPowdercats1604v2sqSo epic skiing aside,  my reason for being here was to shoot the people that make it all happen at PCcats.     I wanted to document the hard working ski guides,  snow safety and drivers that take people out day after day into some of the most incredible,  (yet potentially dangerous) areas to feed their nonstop craving for fresh un-tracked powder.       Over our two day shoot I had the pleasure of shooting and riding with their amazing guides Johnny,  Jason, Chris and Nancy.     These folks have the best jobs in the world and they are very good at it.    Their ever present positive attitude is infectious.     Though I guess it would be easy to be positive given the venue in which they work!

PCPowdercats0456Sq PCPowdercats1802sq It’s not all just “atta boy’s and good jobs” though,  in addition to making sure people have a great time,  this hard working team’s most important job is one of making sure your experience is a safe one.   You have to remember that this is the back country and it can be extremely dangerous if you do not respect it and know what you are doing.  Avalance potential is ever present in the back country and it is paramount that you know what to do and not to do.   Every skiier is given an avalanche beacon and a safety briefing in the morning before leaving base camp.    Before each individual run,  they tell you exactly where to go, or (more importantly), where not to go to keep you safe.    The guides work very closely with their expert snow safety patrols.   Together they constantly assess the conditions and determine where their next run will be and exactly what parts of each peak will be not only the best run,  but also how to best approach these runs to get everyone down safely without incedent.PCPowdercats0371

PCPowdercats0865sqTheir snow safety team are constantly out on the various parts of the mountain during the day cutting new lines,  knocking down dangerous cornices and throwing the occasional explosive charge to help mitigate much of the avalanche risk.    They work hand in hand with the guides to help them to craft the perfect day for their guests and keep them out of harm’s way.PCPowdercats0952-2v3The image above shows snow safety patrollers Dave and Wes setting a charge to help shake loose any dangerous snow that might potentially be a problem to their guests.   This particular shot was from Day 1 of our shoot way up high around 11,000 feet on a seriously steep grade with a dangerous cornice during one of the only moments where the visibility was good and not a complete white out.    Nothing like heading out to the top of the world and throwing explosives, all in the name of safety!     They have to be on top of their game and have razor sharp focus as without what they do,  as the guides would have no way of knowing what each face is doing on that particular day without them.

 

PCPowdercats1815webThis is General Manager and head honcho Ron.    This guy is amazing.   He is quite literally everywhere doing every conceivable job you can think of… from helping coordinate guests, to running a cat up the mountain to groom the cat trails so that the drivers can get the guests to where they need to be, to shuttling people out on snowmobiles that need to get to different areas around the mountain, to coordinating with a production company filming a movie on property.  He does everything and all with a constant smile on his face!   With him running the show and his amazing “Can Do” attitude it is no surprise that he has such a well oiled and positive team.   Good management filters down through the ranks and it shows throughout their entire operation.

PCPowdercats0265Last but not least are their team of talented powder cat drivers.    Without these guys at the helm they wouldn’t be able to deliver their guests to these amazing spots.    Make no mistake, their job is not easy.    They have to be experts at what they are doing.  These are large, HEAVY pieces of machinery,  they do everything from crossing running ice cold river beds to climbing up super steep grades and chugging through giant snow drifts that can take 5 or 6 tries to get through.    There are many times on any given climb when you look out the window and realize you are motoring up a steep grade riding on only a tiny ridge line with no room to spare on either side, and thousand foot drops to your right and left.    These guys do it without breaking a sweat!!

If you are an advanced skiier and you’ve never done this before,   you owe it to yourself to save up and go out and do it at least once.     I guarantee when you leave, you will leave craving your next opportunity!     You can reach them here to book your next trip!!

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Earlybird Wake Skating Shoot! 5:00 a.m. 52 degrees

The earlybird catches the wake skater!         Got up early on this morning to shoot wake skaters at Camp Modin.    Nothing like waking up at 4:15 and on the water at 5:00 am on a crisp 52 degree summer morning in Maine.    These kids braved the cold and never once complained.    When it’s chilly like that the water actually seems really warm!

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Marlins Spring Training

Got a chance to shoot a little of the Marlins Spring Training this year.  Mostly just their new recruits and prospects doing drills.  Little known fact that the Marlins and Cardinals train just a mile away from where I live here in Jupiter.   Looking forward to doing more with them in the future.

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Go Go Speed Racer!

Here is a new personal work project I’ve been working on shooting drag racers.

Like most guys,  I have always liked going to the races.   The only thing better than going to the races as a spectator is getting credentials to shoot them.   I have had the good fortune to shoot many races over the years.    From Formula One,  to assignments from Dodge to shoot the Nascar races at Homestead Motor Speedway & Daytona, to projects for Bloomberg Markets shooting events where the a private luxury car club rents an airstrip for the day to race a multitude of ultra high end supercars at speeds of well over 200 mph.

Of all that I have shot,  nothing trumps the thrill of drag racing.   The sound of the engines roaring as the cars speed down the track.    The smell and sight of the smoke of the burning rubber as they do their burn outs.   It is thrilling.     These guys are fearless.     From the souped up street cars rocking 800 horsepower knocking out 10 second 1/4 miles,  to the top fueled dragsters with up to almost 8,000 horsepower that go from 0 to over 300 mph in less than 4 seconds.   Many equate it to the forces you’d feel taking off in the space shuttle as it puts 5 to 6 times the G forces on you as you rocket down the race track.   They are the fastest accelerating land vehicles on the planet.

I love getting out and shooting all this.     As you kneel down next to them when they do their burnouts you can feel the sound waves pounding you like someone beating you repeatedly really fast with large heavy pillows.   It shakes the ground under you and were it not for the ear muffs, would permanently damage your hearing.  It’s unnerving and super exciting all at the same time.    These are just a few images from part one of an at least 3 part series of shoots.   We have both still and video shoots planned at the Top Fuel NHRA races in Charlotte Motor Speedway in March and the IHRA Nitro drag series in April here in West Palm.

To see more of my work go to the Speed Racer section on my site @       http://www.petebarrett.com/Personal-Work/Speed-Racer/1 or follow me on Instagram   @PeteBarrettPhoto   and stay tuned for more exciting stuff in the coming months!

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1:00 Sports Demo Reel from Pure Protein Shoot

Here is a compilation of video taken from the spots I recently directed for Pure Protein.

Client:  Pure Protein

Agency:   Moosylvania

Director:  Pete Barrett   www.petebarrett.com

Cinematographer:  David Hall  www.iphotoinc.com

Editor:  Emily Mitchell    www.filmsaboutfamily.com

Shooting with the Moose and Pure Protein

Just wrapped an awesome shoot with St Louis based Moosylvania and Pure Protein!   We spent the better part of a week in production shooting a series of 5 print ads and 5 commercials for Pure Protein to be released in the coming months.     I can’t show anything just yet but we did some killer stuff!   Shooting all sports and active lifestyle.    Great clients and a fantastic crew,   Thanks everyone!   Images and footage to come as soon as I can show them.

Sports Illustrated/McDonalds- Jack Sock

We recently did few shoots for Sports Illustrated for an advertorial for McDonalds.     This first one was with pro tennis player Jack Sock.     The assignment was to take him out to a location with a “Florida feel”  and capture him in various action poses while dressed in his street clothes.     There was an accompanying interview article with Jack about his background and his quick rise to fame within the pro tennis world.

Jack was really great to work with.    He gave us his all despite it being quite hot on the beach and having to jump many times in jeans and a button down shirt.    In the end  it made for a nice shot.    This is one of my favorites from the shoot.   The magazine went with a slightly different angle where he was performing his signature serve.    This one feels a bit more dynamic to me.

Nascar for Dodge

We had the opportunity a while back to shoot some Nascar racing at the Homestead Motor Speedway for the Dodge Race Team.    If you’ve never had the opportunity to get right down in the hot zone on Pit Row,  I highly recommend it.    Super cool to see these crews at work.    They are a well oiled machine.   Everyone has their specific job and when that car rolls in, they jump to it and zip zap,  the car is jacked up, all 4 tires changed,  fully fueled,  windshield cleaned and water for the driver… all in a matter of seconds.     While he is out screaming around the track at over 200 mph,  the crew is hard at work, scraping the tires to analyze the rubber to see what the track condition is doing to the wheels and a team of guys watches on screens,  monitoring the car and keeping in constant contact with the driver.    It is awesome!

Also, there is nothing like Nascar Fans…  these folks are die hard,  hard core fans.   Everyone has their favorite and there is no telling them otherwise.   In their mind, that person is a king Sh*t racing legend and is GOING to win this time!   Nothing like a hot afternoon,  cold beer and fast cars.

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