Scouting for polar bears and solar eclipses, then back to Whistler 

Photographer Reuben Krabbe competes in the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown at WSSF

click to enlarge PHOTO BY REUBEN KRABBE - Behold the night Aurora Borealis lights up the night for a skier at Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon.
  • Photo by Reuben Krabbe
  • Behold the night Aurora Borealis lights up the night for a skier at Tombstone Territorial Park, Yukon.

Whistler action sports photographer Reuben Krabbe is in Norway with Salomon Freeski TV, trying to stake a spot in the Arctic to watch the solar eclipse due to unfold on March 20.

Contacted the day before he is due to go offline for 10 days, he emails that he is in a dormitory decked out in IKEA furniture in the northernmost town in the world, Longyearbyen, on the island of Svalbard.

"Sunrise, day, sunset and night melt slowly into each other, and gale force winds roll in with remarkable force," he says. "We're creating a destination ski touring episode, so tomorrow we'll ride snowmobiles out of town to set up a base camp to ski/ski mountaineer the polar circle."

He adds that the trip is exotic, though not too remote. It will, however, include nightly polar bear watches.

Krabbe will be back in Whistler to take part in the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown, part of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF). It takes place on Thursday, April 16, at the Whistler Conference Centre.

Every year, photographers from around the world submit their best work to the festival. This year, for the 20th year of WSSF, no pre-submissions were taken. Instead, organizers decided to invite some of the world's top pros.

Krabbe is one of five veteran photographers vying for the title Best in Show and the $10,000 grand prize.

The others include Brian Gaberman from northern California, Lorenz Holder from Munich, Germany, Swede Mattias Fredriksson and San Diego snapper Todd Glaser.

Originally from Alberta, 24-year-old Krabbe quit his final job as a night auditor in Whistler three years ago and has been working full time in photography ever since.

A volunteer at the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown in 2009, he was inspired to enter action sports photography after watching Jordan Manley's winning show that year.

Krabbe has flown the flag for Whistler before, winning the Deep Summer competition.

Of the WSSF show he says: "For me, this competition is the completion of a whole era of my life that started six years ago, when I watched the pro photo showdown and decided that I wanted to do it. Now, it's amazing to see where the pursuit has brought me, and I'm excited to share the evening with the town that has adopted me."

He says he will be showing off mainly his ski and mountain bike photography.

"I love shooting images that are single shots that stand as timeless images that encapsulate the emotion and passion behind skiing and mountain biking," he says.

"But on the other side, I love creating photo stories that explore a place or a person — often sport related. So my slideshow will include most of my larger projects, but in a compressed format."

Asked what is important when it comes to his work, Krabbe says the people he works with "are often a representative of the objective at hand."

He adds: "If it's a skill or team dependent trip, it will probably include the athletes who I call friends... I love working with athletes who have their own vision of movement, or creativity with landscapes, since they'll point out things that I don't see."

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