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Methven Heli ~ Methven, New Zealand
August 18, 2008

Stepping off the plane after the long trip to the Southern Hemisphere is always harsh. One minute you are in the dead heat of the American summertime, and next thing you know you are walking between terminals in the Auckland International Airport in the damp morning chill. It's cold, it's early, and it's winter.

For the past 11 years, I've been making the journey down south, mainly to the central part of New Zealand's South Island, to a small town called Methven. Nestled quaintly at the base of the massive Southern Alps, Methven's helicopter-accessed backcountry terrain is arguably the best in the world.

Shooting on a heli trip is "all in." There is very little difference between rider and photographer and guide. We ride as a crew, analyzing conditions for safety and picking out shots and angles together. It's definitely the hardest (and most dangerous) way to shoot snowboarding, but without a doubt, it's the one that reaps the largest rewards. Some moments out there are truly epic.

This shot is unique in that I was actually able to isolate myself from the riders. We landed on a small ridge and decided that it would be best if the boys rode down a safe line to better see the terrain that was below where I stood. They took a hot lap down to the heli pick up zone, and it was then that I snagged this shot. I love the dark moody valley floor below the spinning bird and the awaiting huddle of riders and gear.

Can hardly wait until next year.

The LZ

Jeff Curtes

24" x 16"
100 unsigned prints
Only 2 Prints Remain

36" x 24"
70 limited-edition signed and numbered prints

60" x 40" 
40 limited-edition signed and numbered prints

*All sizes listed are the image size.
*All photographs come with a 1" boarder on all sides.

Light Jet Photographic print on Fuji Crystal Archive

$95.00 - $195.00 $175.00 - $700.00

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about the artist

Jeff Curtes

Sydney, Australia | Portland, Oregon

Jeff Curtes (b. 1969) has been at the forefront of the snowboarding industry's imagery since his first published images back in 1992. In 1994, Curtes signed with Burton Snowboards and had been their Principal Photographer until 2012, nearly 20 years behind the lens on the snow. Jeff is currently repped by Jonathan Retseck, (RXR) based in NYC. Together they are pursuing commercial work both in and out of the snow.

Visit Jeff Curtes's Artist Page »