October 27th 2010

October pow in the Wasatch

Brant Moles getting the goods

this was Brant’s 3rd turn of the year. starting things off right

another storm is on our doorstep time to get back in the mountains

Red Bull Illume

Stoked to have made the final 50 images in this years Red Bull illume Photo Contest with this shot of Reggie Crist. It was entered in the Playground category. Have to say the winning image for Playground was pretty epic. A bmx tube ride shot by Tim Korbmacher rider Stefan Lantschner. Cant argue with Tim and Stefan’s win. Check it out Here

Reggie Crist skiing Haines Alaska

I have to give props to Red Bull, although I wouldn’t jump to promote their product, the support they lend to the action sport arena is undeniable. This photo contest is a rare opportunity for action photographers to display their work. For the most part (Action Sports Photography) is relegated to the major sports… Baseball, Basketball, Football etc. So called extreme sports are sometimes considered second class often leaving both the photographers and athletes with limited access to recognition among the general public. This contest is one of the rare opportunities for the world to see some of the top work being produced. Thanks Red Bull!

Also have to thanks the boys at SEABA. Without those guys images like this never happen.

WFR… Time to get Educated

I was invited as an out of state guest to attend a Wilderness First Responders class in Ketchum Idaho last winter. The 10 day commitment had a brutal schedule and initially stoke was hard to come by.  With the last minute addition of a local Salt Lake crew spirits began to rise. The group consisted of friends Carlo Travarelli, Ben Wheeler and Brant Moles. Together the four of use hit the road for Idaho eager to hone our backcountry skills.

The Drive

We were an attentive group, the classroom setting was less than familiar but it wasn’t long before the note taking skills were at full strength.

We had two instructors Melissa Arnot and Thaddeus Josephson. It was amazing how much knowledge these two had. Questions were flying in the classroom as real world scenarios were played out over and over.

Here Melissa shows the class proper technique for immobilizing a patient on a back board

Brothers Zach and Reggie Crist were part of the course along with Tom Wayes and Eric Leidecker among others. With the class consisting of nearly all career skiers it was interesting to hear everyones medical history. In the end consensus was clear, Tom Wayes and Brant Moles were easily the most experienced when it came to injuries in the backcountry.

We were a lively bunch and the needle practice became a class favorite

Zach's not afraid

Brant Moles take one from the Mongoose

Brant Moles takes one from the Mongoose

It wasn’t all classroom work, fortunately we spent a good deal of time outside working on real world scenarios.

The triage scenes were the most exciting. In this set up im suffering from a fractured skull and broken leg, Im laid out unconscious next to my Kayak along the banks of the make believe waterfall. I wasn’t aware that the WFR curriculum included a crash course in acting.

What you cant see is the blood running down my thigh

By day 9 the once attentive group was starting to slip a little. The reality of our 200 question test was starting to loom, we were going to have to power through these last couple days.

More coffee please

Moles finally gives in

The written test was a beast taking nearly 4 hours to complete. Then came the practical, assessing an injured patient. I was teamed up with Carlo for this final test and together we scored a perfect 31 out of 31, nice work Carlo.

In the end it was a life altering experience. I learned an amazing amount over that 10 days and was stoked to have made the commitment. Spending the amount of time I do in the backcountry its nice to be armed with a little more knowledge.

The Hammers 2010

For the second year in a row I had the opportunity to attend King of the Hammers, a grueling 130 mile off road race. The venue is located on a dry lake bed in California’s Johnson Valley.  I was invited by a good friend Tom Wayes who was entering the race for his 3rd consecutive year.

Mobile City... spectators number in the tens of thousands

The Start Line

The course consists of varied terrain from high speed desert to wandering rock canyons. Each rig takes an unbelievable pounding.

here Wayes enjoys a high speed section

and he gets the pass

the rock sections can really inflict some damage

With rock crawling comes hazards. Out of the 100 competitors less than 50 will cross the finish line

going for it

like I said not many finish

Top speeds reach over 100mph, this race is no joke….

Tom Wayes with the power slide

Jason Scherer winner 2009 King of the Hammers

Loren Healy winner 2010 King of the Hammers

until next year……

Southern Utah

It was a strange winter here in Utah’s Wasatch Backcountry.  A strong southern flow was pushing the bulk of early season storms away from the fabled Cottonwood Canyons. Not only did we have below average snowfall but avy danger was at record highs. By mid January there was a deep snowpack developing over huge portions of southern Utah and Nevada. With this kind of coverage it was feasible that you could ski some real lines amongst the red rocks of The Desert Southwest.

Only way to find out was get down there and check it out


Along with my long time friend Ash Christensen we set out on an exploratory mission

After days of hiking/exploring we started to find some rideable terrain


The luck continued as we experienced two months of ideal conditions. All told we made 4 separate missions into the rocks of southern Utah. Working our way into this terrain took a lot of time and persistence. With no real history of avalanche conditions each slope had to be evaluated from scratch. The terrain is complicated ritteled with terrain traps, mandatory exits, and an unpredictable deep snowpack.  With the exception of just a few lines you were forced to hike up what you just rode down, exits were hard to come by!

In a zone like this you want to trust who you ride with. I was fortunate to work with a group of guys who had the experience and motivation to tackle a mission like this one. Both Zach and Reggie Crist joined, along with Ash and  Jamey Parks, together we were able to explore some unbelievable terrain.

Below is just a glimpse into those 4 missions.

Ash Christansen finally finds a route in

Zach Crist right behind him getting a gem of his own

Reggie Crist with a little airtime

Jamey Parks smooth as usual

Ash found this nice little line on our last mission

Jamey enjoys the last light of the day

Exploring Idaho

Over an 11 month span I made 8 separate ventures into the mountains of Idaho. Multiple projects lead me to gain an appreciation of this sometimes misunderstood region. Know for its Potatoes Idaho offers a Mecca of winter terrain.

wissman_IdahoEssay_71 The Heyburn Couloir one in a sea of Idaho Peaks


Trip # 1 October 8-11 2008:  Reggie Crist spending some time on his bike before the snow flies. These two images are part of a 4 year personal project stay tuned for updates




Trip #2 November 1-5 2009:   Sun Valley Resort

wissman_09_IMG_4372 Reggie Crist enjoying two natural wonders at once snowfall and forest fires

wissman_Idaho_069 Jeff Mintz showing me the goods

wissman_09_IMG_4147 theres always a catch


Trip #3:  January 4-7 2009: Recon mission into the Lost River Range.

wissman_Idaho_001 Base of operations the Stoecklein ranch

wissman_09_IMG_4563 Drew Stoecklein leading the way into uncharted territory


Scope76 The Objective

Drew being Drew


Trip #4  January 12-15 2009: Shooting with the Crist family for a Warren Miller Segment


70 year old Roger Crist showing us how its done


Zack Crist getting some turns on Galena Pass


Trip #5 March 4-12 2009: Backcountry skiing via horseback check here for the full trip report






Trip #6 April 16-20 2009: Skiing the Heyburn Couloir with the Crist Brothers



This decent is a true classic viewed right from the town of Stanley. Here Zack races his sluff to the choke


Trip #7 May 14-15 2009: Adjective Mcgowen Peak another classic


Tom Wayes just starting the grueling approach to McGowan

Good look at Tom’s line from above

Reggie Crist was Tom’s partner for the day here you can just see him on the lookers right. He’s staring down one of the best lines in the Sawtooth.

Snow conditions couldnt have been better considering it was May 15th

Reggie getting rewarded for a 5 hour hike


Trip # 8 May 21-22 2009: Objective The Grand Mogul

Spring had finally hit the Sawtooth. Just a week earlier this lake was still completley frozen over. The open water allowed us to cut almost 3 hours off our approach with a 10 minute boat ride.

Good view of the blind roolover, just below the horizon is a 150 foot rappelll

Those were some tasty beers


Check out The Ski Journal Volume 4.1 for a full feature on our adventures in the Sawtooth


Some AK favorites

wissman_LPGallery_03 copy

wissman_LPGallery_13 copy

Enak Gavaggio sexy spines

wissman_selects_10 copy Reggie Crist  sparkle spines

wissman_LPGallery_32 copy Chris Davenport tordrillo mountains

wissman_LPGallery_27 copy Tom Wayes lightmeter

Tom Wayes goat towers

Tom Wayes on a down day aboard the sundowner  Thanks Bruce

wissmanw_042 copy Daron Rahlves lightmeter

wissman_08_22 copy Cody Townsend tordrillo mountains

wissman_08_17 copy Cody Townsend tordrillo mountains

wissman_selects_06 copy Reggie Crist tomahawk

wissman_LPGallery_44 copy

the end


Reggie Crist Las Lenas Argentina

Drew Stoecklein Alta Utah

Rachael Burks Alta Utah

Brant Moles Alta Utah

Brant Moles Alta Utah

Brant Moles Little Cottonwood Canyon Utah

Robert Fratton Alta Backcountry

Reggie Crist Spitsbergen Norway

Adrien Coirier Alta Utah

Ash Cristensen Little Cottonwood Canyon Utah

Argentina 2009

With summer heat dragging on a little time in the southern hemisphere is just plain good for the soul

Heading to Las Lenas for a month of summer pow. First order of business get your bags packed. Travel gear can really stack up when your a skier, add in winter camping and photography

this is what your looking at

Managed to make it work

We showed up at the tail end of a huge storm. The next day skiing around the resort locals were claiming 3 meters of snow in the previous week. From sandals to snow shoes it was a welcome transition

Lenas has endless backcountry.  After the storm broke it was time to get our hike on

 Reggie Crist rewarded for his efforts

                                        Zach Crist going for the goalpost

The Andes are infomous for the prevailing winds. Lenas is no exception, and when it blows its something to wrecken with. Glad the crew was willing to battle the gusts as we were able to come away with some unique images.

Reggie isnt afraid of a little wind

Neither is Lynsey Dyer

With the addition of a couple new cats Lenas is expanding their snowcat opperation.

Here the whole crew is stoked after an epic day on the cat

Just a little piece of the terrain

Reggie mid slope with another 1000 vert below him

Lynsey getting into a little sluff

Pow turns and Sluff in September thats hard to beat.

This is truley one of the worlds best snowcat locations. To find out more about the zone check here

Argentina produces some of the worlds best wine. Drink up Zach

And no argument the worlds best meat. Long story short this was the best meal of my life.

Jose your the man

Spent a day enjoying some Argentinian hot springs

Spent a night camping at this aboandoned resort/spa. It sits under the impressive Mt. Sociaonado. With an elevation over 16,000 Socionado  leaves the eyes hugry for high elevation exploring.

Maybe next year