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Cole Richardson: The Air Apparent

Last season I was approached by SBC Skier Magazine to write an article about one of the skiers that I work with, Cole Richardson.  Never having written anything other than an instagram post since my university days, I was beyond excited.  The article was eventually published in January 2020 in Volume 18, Issue 2.  Below is the entire article along with some photos (by yours truly of course) of this outstanding athlete. 


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The first time I worked with Cole Richardson was late in the season of 2018 at Lake Louise. Cole was 16 at the time and we set off on the kind of blue bird, spring day that makes you excited to be a skier. A popular hit at ‘The Lake’ known as Split Rock was our destination. The sun had done a great job in heating up and clearing the lower rocks, while leaving a seamless white canvas around them for the perfect foreground to my frame with a deep blue sky background. All I needed was an interesting action moment to seal the deal. Cole drops in with a simple, but stylish safety grab, complete with a sweet snow contrail behind him for added effect. One shot and done. I knew right there I was working with some one special.

What makes a particular skier stand out from the crowd? With Cole, it’s the strong, technical skiing style, combined with an old school touch and heaps of game in the air. A complete package you could say. A successful sport image is, primarily, the result of an effective collaboration between the photographer and the athlete; each contributing their vision and experience. Cole gets this and that’s what makes him stand above the crowd. On any given day, there is a boatload of good skiers on the mountain, but only a few can deliver over and over again. Delivery isn’t a problem for Cole.

>> One shot and done.  I knew right there I was working with someone special.<<

Born into a family with a deep history in alpine racing in the Rocky Mountains, exposure to skiing came at a young age for Cole. On skis at the age of two and racing by nine, Cole would spend his formative years dodging plastic gates. However, it was inevitable that he would turn to freeride before long. “When the coach called for lunch I would go lap the park for an hour and when we stopped for the day, back to the park.” And when his coach refused to cancel training on a powder day, Cole recalls thinking, “I was so bummed watching everyone shred under the lift. I knew that would be my last year of racing and I’d never miss another powder day again.” The die was cast.

With numerous magazine gallery shots, a first place at the very competitive Whistler Noram Championships in 2016, which helped Cole cinch the overall IFSA title that year and winner of the 2019 Quiksilver Youg Guns Ski contest, Cole’s ability as an athlete has not gone unnoticed in the freeskiing world. In fact, significant support from Head Skis allowed Cole to ride in their Mt. Baker freeride edit with the likes of Sam Kuch, Evan McEachran and Aaron Bunck. A solid foundation for any big mountain skier.

Safety grabs have now become cork 7s and triple backs, with a dub 10 in the works for this season. Ever progressing and pushing his limits combined with a solid work ethic and an intense desire to “get it right”’ Cole has a bright future indeed.

More photos of Cole Richardson

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Graham McKerrell

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Hey!  Thanks for visiting my blog!  I am a commercial photographer with a deep desire to be in the mountains.  In fact, it's sometimes difficult for me to slow down to take photos as I often get caught up in the moment of the sports and lifestyle that I should be shooting.  Aside from my passion for photography, I enjoy backcountry and alpine skiing, both road and mountain biking and hiking with my pup, Denali. If you represent a business and want to do some work together or you're an athlete with some notable talent, feel free to connect with me.  Let's make some magic!

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