Frode Sandbech wins Whistler's WSSF Pro Photographer Showdown 

Norwegian photographer wins over crowd and judges

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAVE BUZZARD WWW.DAVEBUZZARD.COM - TAKING GOLD Frode Sandbech (right) celebrates winning the WSSF Pro Photographer Showdown with emcee for the night Mike Douglas.
  • Photo by Dave Buzzard www.davebuzzard.com
  • TAKING GOLD Frode Sandbech (right) celebrates winning the WSSF Pro Photographer Showdown with emcee for the night Mike Douglas.

The peoples' choice was also the judges' choice last night, April 17, at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown.

To a sold out crown emcee for the evening Mike Douglas announced that Frode Sandbech would take the win for 2014, and the $10,000 prize money.

His images captured the imagination of the audience with action and landscapes seeped with colour and atmosphere. Sandbech's show covered surfing, snowboarding in the backcountry, in-bounds and in the city, and made good use of his country's beautiful northern light displays - which framed his snowboarder subjects.

A particularly popular shot with the audience was of a snowboarder who seemed to be stepping off a cliff and onto the full moon.

In taking the prize Douglas asked how it felt coming in first - Sandbech's brother Staale just brought home a silver medal from the 2014 Olympics in men's slopestyle.

"Yes, my brother won silver but now I guess I've won the gold medal," Sandbech, originally from Oslo, told the cheering crowd.

The Norwegian was also the overwhelming winner of the people's choice award as well, with the audience casting its vote with green Ping-Pong balls placed into large vases. Sandbech's vase was overflowing, something Douglas said he'd never seen before in the competition.

Sandbech traded in his electric guitar for an old Pentax camera in 1994. In 2001 he sold his first photo, then in 2004 had an international breakthrough landing the cover of Transworld Snowboarding Photo Annual. He has now had more then 50 magazine covers; enjoyed worldwide travels with top athletes and international photo campaigns for various companies.

"In my photography, I try to balance creativity with clean graphical lines," a WSSF release on the photographer said.

"I usually strive to find a simple composition that brings out the rider, tells a story and make you 'dream.' This way I aim to create photos that are aesthetic and comfortable for the eye, and at the same time true to the riders personal styles. I also try to push myself and always ways to improve both technically and creative in photography.

The evening started with a photo tribute to Whistler photojournalist Bonny Makarewicz created by long-time colleague and friend Eric Berger. As the powerful images played the house audience fell silent.

Makarewicz, 50, lost a private and courageous battle to cancer last month.

The Pro Photographer runners up, each of whom take $1,500 home were: Brent Benson, Christoph Oberschneider, Florian Breitenberger and Morgan Maassen.

The WSSF's Intersection ran April 16, and The Manboys, a group of friends based out of Whistler took the win and the $10,000 prize.

Now in its fourth year Intersection, presented by Bromley Baseboards, gives crews only seven days to shoot, edit and produce a five- to seven-minute ski or snowboard short film. Each film must contain 30 seconds of park footage, 30 seconds of Whistler Blackcomb in-bound terrain, it must be shot within 100 kilometres of Whistler and 75 per cent of all footage must be on snow.

The Manboys are currently working on a web series in partnership with Transworld Snowboarding. The Manboys are Mark Sollors, Rusty Ockenden, Jody Wachniak, Robjn Taylor, Matt Belzile, and Chris Rasman.

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