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Tomas Annerby Interview

Tomas Annerby is one of the few photographers shooting the new world of freeheel skiing. Who's behind the lens of the awesome photos? The Descender interview.

Descender: How did you get started?

Tomas Annerby: I started a few years ago after spending some seasons in the alps. I got a little tired of just hanging around doing nothing, but snowboarding and this felt like fun.

D: Why did you decide to shoot tele skiers?

T: I didn't. It just turned out that way. But I also felt there was a lack of good tele pics that showed a little more of what tele skiers can do. All the pics you found a few years ago were all the same. Nothing that even resembled any of the radical stuff teleskiers were doing.

D: Do you freeheel?

T: Yea I do now. I started when we went to Alta two years ago. When snowboards are banned what else is there to do - when alpine skis were out of the question?

D: What is your favorite place to shoot?

T: Teton pass for it's incredible light and quick light changes. The only way to get untracked snow and to be able to work undisturbed in US is to go to where there are no lifts. That is the major problem when working there. Small ski areas, too many skiers and hard regulations makes it really difficult. There are a lot of positive things too, but these get in the way when it comes to shooting. Alta is great too. In the Alps it's definitely Verbier.

Photo: Annerby Location: Jackson WY

Teton Pass, WY

D: What's your favorite place to ski for fun?

T: Verbier

D: What is your fave ski areas in North America?

T: Jackson and Alta.

D: How'd you meet Oscar?

T: It was back in the 95/96 season in Whistler. I went up to the wind lip in Blackcomb with some friends to check it out and met Oscar and some other Swedes. Oscar warmed up with a 50 meter triple back flip on teles. Maybe he slightly over rotated and landed on his head, but it was smooth and with style. No fear. We've been working together since that day.

D: Who else do you regularly work with?

T: Mainly other Swedes. Jonas Heimdahl, Mats Thorman and Staffan Andersson, all telemarkers, and a Swedish girl living in Verbier. Johanna Matsson.

If you could shoot any skier in the world, who would it be?

T: Myself. But I suck on skis.

D: Are free heelers cool to work with, or are they lazy bastards?

T: The ones that I work with are definitely not lazy and I have to stop them from doing crazy things. I don't know were they get their energy from. Most of the times they hike back to the top faster than I can reload my camera. Cool bastards maybe, but not lazy ones!

D: What sucks about being a photographer?

T: When you get back home and have to sort those darn slides and choose which ones to send. That really sucks. I'm very close to quitting when it comes to that.

D: What kind of photo gear do you use?

T: Canon Eos 1 N body, 17-35/2.8L, 28-70/2.8L, and a 70-200/2.8L lens, and some other stuff.

D: Any advice for us wannabe photographers?

T: It's easy. I didn't even own a camera before I started and photography wasn't a hobby either. Don't start off thinking you have to live off of it. That totally ruins it. If it's not fun and you won't shoot good pics. And most importantly: Buy the best and most expensive gear there is!

D: Any chance of shooting a ski film?

T: I've actually made one already, but when it was finished I realized I should focus on stills instead. But it's a classic.

D: Tell us about your calendar.

T: It's a calendar with telemark pictures that I planned to print last year but it got a little delayed so I'm printing it this year instead. It contains telemark pics from the last three years, but I think alpine skiers will like it to. Order now!

D: Can you come out and shoot the Descender team?

T: Anytime!

Cool! We'll be waiting.

Visit Tomas' site to see more great shots:

Of course, the Web doesn't do Tomas' work any justice. He will frame and sign any of the shots you see in his portfolio. Keep checking with Descender for his new calendar, we're trying to make it available to folks here in the US.