'Twas An Adventure

Andy Earl and I have been discussing the prospects of doing an overnighter just to iron out any kinks we had in our gear/packing habits/oral hygiene, etc. We plan to do quite a bit of multi-day touring next season, so we wanted to get a feel for how things would go; a trial run, if you will. We opted to go up to Wolverine Cirque because the forecast was predicting that steep, north facing terrain would be the best for early saturday morning skiing and riding, and Twin Lakes pass is fairly sheltered from the wind, and totally sheltered from avalanche danger if you camp just near the pass.
Click on the photo to view a larger version, it looks neat. Taken about 1:30 am

Technically it's illegal to camp anywhere in Little Cottonwood Canyon because of Watershed restrictions, and you're also not allowed to do any overnight parking in the town of Alta without a permit (I'm not sure why. I would assume because of a lack of space). We pulled into the Grizzly Gulch trailhead parking lot and I thought we were sunk when an Alta police officer came over and rolled down his window. He asked us if we were going touring, and when we replied in the affirmative, he just reminded us that there was a scheduled UDOT canyon closure for avalanche control in the morning, and didn't harass us at all about parking in the "No Overnight Parking" zone. 
My snowshoes and Andy's splitboard on the way up.

Both my pack and Andy's pack together must've weighed in at about seven million kilograms, and by the time we reached the pass I was totally beat, but it was super cool to be able to get some rad photos along the way, and the just have the experience. 
My buddy David Kaplan met us up near the pass early the next morning and we went up and over Patsey Marley and did one drop on Mt. Wolverine. The snow was pretty variable, and lots of wind loading. Andy popped a decent size wind pocket that sluffed out pretty dramatically (albeit it wasn't very big or dangerous), but it was just an indicator that our chosen location wasn't the safest zone to be shredding in, so we called it a day. Epic knee deep turns down through the north facing slope of Grizzly Gulch ended the day with a bang. I definitely can't complain, and I also learned quite a bit about camping overnight in the backcountry, and expecting to shred the next day. I'll be doing it again very soon.
Twin Lakes Pass, with the BCC cabins and Guardsman Pass glaring in the background
The infamous Wolverine Cirque. Andy and David atop Mt. Wolverine at left.
Getting to the zone is certainly not for the faint at heart.


Portrait Time

For some reason, lately I've just been in the mood to photograph people. Doing portraits is really intersting to me, mostly due to the post-production aspect. Don't get me wrong, I love working with the subject, and that's extremely rewarding, especially when I'm working with my friends, like the stunning Erin McMullin featured in this post. Yeah, that's great, and I enjoy it and all that, but I really get stoked when I pull each image into Photoshop for some minor retouching. Now, although I do mention Photoshop, the caveat is that I really don't use that much. I do a teeny tiny little bit of skin smoothing and eye enhancements, then I dodge and burn sometimes, it just depends on the image and the look I'm going for, but it's been nice as I've gained more experience to learn how to accomplish certain looks with the camera exposure settings so I have less work to do when it comes down to Photoshop. To me, it always seems like it takes a lot less time to tweak a camera setup or exposure setting than it does to tweak something in Photoshop. Anyway, I love taking pictures of people. Thanks, Erin, for coming over and having a quick little shoot. These were all shot with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EF 24-70 ƒ/2.8L USM lens, and two Promaster 160A studio flashes with diffusion and reflector umbrellas used. Enjoy.
My personal favorite of the session.
She wanted to show off her curves.



My buddy Luke Beachley called me earlier today while I was on my way to Park City to snowboard, and asked if I had time to shoot some photos of his brother-in-law Dan Burton. Mr. Burton is running for public office against a sixteen year incumbent and will be launching his website very soon. Luke wanted to take pictures of him with blood dripping from his mouth and a gun in his hand, showcasing how he'll defend American interests tooth and nail, but I didn't think it was the best way to approach a first time run at public office. I'm not sure which one would have been more effective... I'll update this post as soon as the website goes live. If you live in Utah County, check him out, and watch for flyers and posters and such, because they have images taken by yours truly.

Here's Dan's website: www.dan4sheriff.com

204 Determination + Giveaway

In response to what viewers like you have asked for, the Wasatch Team put a whole lot of miles on their boots, snowmobiles, and chairlifts to generate the hardest hitting episode yet. With locations varying from the streets of Ogden, to the 11,000 foot faces, Episode Four will leave you wishing the season were longer.

Principle Cinematography shot on Canon 5D Mark II by Parker Alec Cross
Colorist: Parker Alec Cross

Featuring the talents of Parker Cross, Andy Earl, Daryl Young, JP Sokolowski, Uriel Ruvalcaba, Derek Olthuis, Stain Reichman, Cooper Hoffmeister, Ben Millsaps, Jason Hindman and Stosh Lemberes.

Well, it's time for another episode. Check it out above, and make sure to watch it in fullscreen mode for full effect. In order to qualify for the giveaway, you need to become a fan of Wasatch: The Official Production Podcast on Facebook. Since winter is winding down, we need to show the world how much we love the snow. Post a picture of yourself skiing or snowboarding on the wall of the Facebook page, and we'll choose the picture that is the raddest as the winner of this week's Nomis hoody giveaway. Thanks to John at Board of Provo for hooking up the giveaway.


Turning Up the Volume

In my screenwriting class, my teacher is always talking about ways for us as writers to "turn up the volume." My goal as a new media producer is to generate content that gets people stoked and makes them want to come back for more–in essence, my goal is to turn up the volume. The better my stuff is, and the cooler the content, the more hits we get and the better we look to potential sponsors, and the better my peanut butter sandwiches taste because I know that I can actually kind of afford it, instead of pilfering it from my mom's pantry when she's not home.

That being said, it is very tough being the sole camera man/director/producer/creative genius/editor/distributor to get super rad stuff. It's a lot of the supplementary stuff that really makes an episode cool, and it's very very tough to do it solo. We've been trying though, even if it means waking up at 3:30 in the morning to catch a sunrise session, or staying out all night and dodging the police to get a shot on an urban feature, and I think that this next episode will show just how far we've actually come with our progression. Below is a link to the new teaser, and you'll see just how much we've improved in a very short amount of time. I hope you like it.
Ep. 4 Teaser 2 - Wasatch: The Official Production Podcast from Parker Alec Cross on Vimeo.
You asked for it, we delivered. Due to all the feedback we've received on the blog, we decided to make our episodes even more rad than they've ever been. And we're doing it all for your enjoyment. Episode Four is coming at you in a matter of days, so tell all your friends and get rad.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II
GoPro HD Hero

EF 24-70 ƒ/2.8L USM
EF 70-200 ƒ/2.8 IS USM
Sigma 15mm ƒ/2.8 Fisheye

Cinematography and Post-production by Parker Alec Cross
Additional camera operation by Andy Earl



Getting Deeper

I'm just now starting to go to the places I've been aching for all season, because we're starting to get a decent base in the Wasatch, and it's filling in all the bony scary sections that were too exposed to ski. I'm also pretty excited of the GoPro HD Hero helmet camera that Andy and I purchased last week. Took her on her maiden voyage today, and she performed wonderfully. The workflow is identical to the 5D Mark II, so it makes things pretty simple for me to work with. Anyway, check out the teaser trailer for the newest episode, which I haven't started editing yet, but I've been compiling the footage and I think it's going to be really good.

Episode Four Trailer - Wasatch: The Official Production Podcast from Parker Alec Cross on Vimeo.
Episode Four is ready to deliver on what everyone has been asking for. More of.......everything. More shredding, more rails, more jumps, more powder, and more intensity. Get pumped because it's coming at you in the next few days. Filmed on a GoPro HD Hero.


One Plus One Equals One

In terms of splitboarding, one plus one really does equal one. You take each half of your sliced-in-two board, put them together and get one snowboard. It's a pretty amazing process, and It's even more amazing that the bulk of the dudes out there on splitboards probably did it in their garage, just like Andy and I did a couple hours ago. Voile is probably considered the industry leader when it comes to backcountry accessories for snowboarders, and their DIY Split-Kit is a handy dandy little friend for any of you wanting to go deeper than the average snowboarder. Splitboarding is the ultimate way to get into the backcountry on those zones where you can't take a snowmobile (which is most of the Central Wasatch), and although it's not cheap to do it yourself, it's a whole lot cheaper than buying a splitboard from, say, Burton. The other thing that's rad is the fact that Voile-USA is located right in Salt Lake City, so you're getting homegrown products. 

If backcountry touring is your cup of tea, or you'd like it to be, make a stop at Wasatch Touring, a shop in SLC. It's definitely your destination location for everything backcountry, and then some.


Featured Write-Up

I got an email on Vimeo yesterday from Denver Riddle, who runs the Digital Cinema Foundry blog, and he asked me a few questions and if I'd be willing to be featured on the site. Of course, this is right up my alley, so jump on over to the website by clicking here, and check out the little write-up about Wasatch: The Official Production Podcast and what it takes to shoot in the backcountry.


Day 50 - Dry Fork (AKA Heaven)

My 50th day on snow this season was incredible. I got a phone call Friday night from my longtime friend Blake Nyman, and the conversation went a little something like this:

Me: "Hello?"
Blake: "Hey Parker, how you doin'?"
Me: "Doing well, sir. What's up?"
Blake: "What are you doing tomorrow?"
Me: "Ok, you talked me into it."

Every time I go out skiing with Blake it's hammers. You may remember episode three from last year (click here), so he didn't even have to tell me what was going down for me to say yes. But ultimately it turned into one of the most fun days I've had all year, and certainly the best consistent turns I've had all year. 
We ended up heading out to the Tibble Fork trailhead in American Fork Canyon and tandem sledding out to Dry Fork to meet up with J. Eichhorst, Eliel Hindert, Adam Clark, and a couple other homies to sessions some lines and little jumps. It's always good times to come out and hang out with good people and super talented photographers and athletes, and I'm just stoked that Blake brought me along for the ride.
It was like a billion degrees at the base of Tibble Fork, and Blake's sled was getting a little grumpy so we had to take a couple brief breaks to make sure she didn't overheat on us, but we finally made it up by Point Supreme and the snow was incredible. A little zipper-crust at first, but quickly vanished as the temperatures rose just slightly.
Blake scoped a rad natty rock jump feature, sent a huge first tracks 360, and stomped it super hard, followed by a few more massive hits by the homies. The action shot above is actually a freeze frame from the video that I was shooting. The light quickly vanished and Blake couldn't quite pull off his zero spin, but we relocated to meet up with a snowboard crew that was filming in a similar area and I snapped a few lifestyle shots of those guys. Thanks, Blake, for the invite, and I'm stoked to do it again anytime. Also mad props to all the talent that showed up. Big ups all around and I'm pumped to work with any of you guys anytime. The best part of the day, however, was the fact that I got to ski the nearly 2,000 ft decent down into Dry Fork while Blake took his sled back down. Creamy east/north-east facing pow all the way to the bottom. Amazing turns. Thanks again, everyone.
HDRI of the cliffs above the jump. So epic.
Parker Duke strapping in.
Blake camping out on his sled enjoying the views.
Another epic shot of the face below the cliffs. Parker Duke ready to drop.
Blake was a hero and carried my tripod.



It was my first day out on sleds for 2010, and it turned into a pretty amazing day. Daryl Young called me the night before and asked if I wanted to join him and Dallin and Tyson for a little trek out to Claytons and the backside of Pioneer peak. I said yes. We started with a quick small cliff drop and let the boys do a little warm up, then went and poached a jump that was built earlier in the season. Dallin and Daryl both landed shots, and the stuff looks good. Thanks to Tyson for the snowmobile, and let's do it again soon!
Daryl packing up all his avalanche gear
Daryl hiking up for another drop on the cliff
Freeze frame from the video of Daryl's drop

Mighty Mount Timpanogos

It taunts me. The vast majority of my life has been spent in the looming shadow of Utah's mightiest massif. The enormous west face of Timp is over four miles across the ridge, and rises 4,000 feet of exposed skiable terrain from the valley floor. The 11,749 ft summit beckons to every rider interested in big mountain descents (like myself). 

It's gnarly. Timp is one of the most avalanche prone mountains in the lower 48, and as such it's rarely sessioned. Add to the complication that there's no helicopter operations that are permitted to set down on the summit, making your only option the hike, and hike for at long time. One drop on Mount Timpanogos is a full day mission, leaving before the sun comes up, and quite possibly doing your decent near sunset. A trail that takes me 1:45 to reach the saddle in the summer time, will more than likely take 6 in the winter on a split board. But I'm up for the challenge. Andy and I are on the prowl for people who have experience with doing a winter summit on the peak, and plan to do it this season as long as the snow conditions permit.

It will be mine.


"And the Forecast Says...

...Another scorcher, with mostly sunny skies, and a considerable danger of wet slab avalanches toward the afternoon with rising temperatures." Mt. Baldy staring down at us from the Davenport/Honeycomb cliffs area, after we hiked up Grizzly Gulch in search of a jump spot. We knew that most southfacing stuff was going to be suncrusted from yesterday's immense heat, but the forecast was saying that it was going to turn into soup by about noon, so it was going to be a fun jump session into slushy, heavy, west coast style powder. At least that's what the forecast said. It lied.
High hopes certainly abounded, despite the crust and high cloudy skies, especially when we bumped into a bunch of pro skiers and a huge media crew heading up to the infamous Chad's gap to shoot with Mike Wilson and Tim Durtschi as well as Bjorn Leines and his mad group of Celtek rippers. Needless to say we were pretty pumped.
Despite the graybird skies, we were confident that the forecast would hold up and we'd get enough sun to make the jump worth while, and indeed while we were hiking the sun popped out a little bit and made things look pretty nice. As a matter-of-fact, there were a couple times after the jump was fully built that JP Sokolowski, Derek Olthuis, Stain Reichman, and James Stewart were able to see the run-in well enough to actually hit the feature, and we got come pretty cool video footage. Nothing mind-blowing or life-changing, but some solid tricks on a decent sized kicker in the backcountry, which is always cool.
It wasn't mean to last, however. About 2:30 PM the light completely vanished. Each of the kids tried one last drop, and when you really can't see anything because the light is so flat, it's super difficult to reach the end of the jump, and if you're lucky enough to do that, then it's nearly impossible to land on solid suncrusted bomb holes because it never warmed up enough for the snow to soften in the least bit. The Poor Boyz productions filmers had to go home empty handed without any footage of Chad's Gap because the sun was never consistently glaring down long enough to soften the landing. 
Once the light went to poop I opted to take the camera off the tripod and shoot a few photos and see if I could pull out a little bit more contrast and color in the images than we were bound to see in the video. Somehow Derek put his big-boy pants on and dropped in one last time to do a massive 360 double grab with his eyes closed. Well, I'm not sure if his eyes were closed, but it wouldn't have made a difference because the lighting was so flat the result would have been the same. Big ups to the boys for hiking tons and brutalizing their bodies. It was a really fun day.

The Heavy Pack

"Dude, Parker, your pack is so freaking heavy!" Being a fairly common phrase uttered, I get nervous anytime one of my friends goes to pick up my pack because I don't want to be liable for future lumbar problems, or a separated shoulder or something. In all seriousness though, my pack is seriously ridiculous. Spending 5 out of the last 8 days in the backcountry without a snowmobile, it's starting to become more of a reality than a bother, but it's interesting to me exactly what it takes to really get it done. I just count my blessings that I don't have to carry all my gear in a toboggan behind me. I'll probably need to hire an assistant at some point just to help carry camera gear. But first I need to make enough money to survive for myself (you hear that, sponsors? Starving photographer over here!). But since we were on the topic of packs, I thought I'd give a list of what accompanies me on any given shoot in the backcountry:

Bindings (duh)
Avalanche Shovel
Avalanche Probe
Avalanche Transceiver
Gloves (x3)
Goggles (x2)
Beanie/facemask (x2)
Extra dry firstlayer
Collapsable touring poles
Red Bull
Peanut butter sandwiches
Manfrotto Tripod
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 70-200 ƒ/2.8 IS USM
EF 24-70 ƒ/2.8 IS USM
Sigma 15mm ƒ/2.8 Fishey
Sigma 20mm ƒ/1.8 Wide Angle
Rode Stereo Video Mic
Extra Compact Flash cards
Extra batteries
Gaffer's Tape
Plus whatever I'm wearing on my person (like a jacket or something)
iPhone + Stealth Ear Bud headphones by SIEGE Audio for some hiking tunes

This is what I'm currently carrying in my sweet Ogio Patroller pack that I picked up last year. It's pretty amazing how much crap you can fit into one of those, but it definitely is ridiculously heavy when it's all said and done. But hey, it's worth it, right?

And since I mentioned my iPhone and music, I guess it's fitting to talk about music just a little bit. I'm sure you guys have noticed on the podcast episodes that there tends to be a lot of folk influenced Rock music, and that's just the stuff that definitely makes me tick. I pulled up my iPhone and checked the top five most played songs, and they are as follows:

5. "Rock and Roll All Nite" by Kiss
4. "Night On the Sun" by Modest Mouse
3. "Reckoner (The Twelves Remix)" by Radiohead
2. "The Crane Wife 3" by The Decemberists
1. "Things Fall Apart" by Built To Spill 


Cardiff Revisisted

5:00 am. The sky was still dark, and the stars bright when we pulled out of my driveway this morning. Jon Van Wagoner, Andy Earl, and Uriel Ruvalcaba riding passenger as we made our way to Little Cottonwood Canyon to meet up with Mo, Tanner, Daryl, JP, Whitney, Eric, and Tony Loco. The plan was to session Little Superior Buttress before the snow got too warm, resulting in wet slab avalanches, making it pretty dangerous. Unfortunately for our original plans, and for Andy's new splitboard, we didn't go to Little Superior because someone forgot his beacon, and we had to turn around, thereby not making it to Little Superior in time to ride it. I'm not going to name any names, but you can check out his blog right here

As a result, we sessioned Cardiff Peak again, and it was really really fun. Thanks to everyone for coming out and having a good time with us. Check out a couple fun mini pics. Video will more than likely be in the next podcast episode, but if you haven't seen episode three yet, check it out by clicking here! Definitely have a greater appreciation for the big mountain riders out there, and hoping to keep pushing our personal limits and getting a lot gnarlier. Thanks for stopping by!
Andy and Uri atop the ridge
Zoomed version of the last photo
Daryl loves snowboarding, and it makes him smile.