I point out to my kids that it doesn’t matter if you’re watching Mark Abma or Angel Collinson in a ski film, or Ted Ligety or Mikaela Shiffrin in a World Cup, the fundamentals are the same. Hands forward. Core engaged. Don’t break at the waist. Keep breathing. And, vitally, don’t let what you think you know about good form override your natural athleticism and feel for the snow. Bode Miller swings his arms like a bronc rider to hold his line. When the Alaskan snow sloughed off around him, the late big mountain pioneer Doug Coombs would just stand up a little taller and flow. Those are not PSIA taught skills.
So when Senior Contributing Photographer Lee Cohen pitched us on a compare and contrast photo essay featuring two of his favorite subjects—Blizzard skier Marcus Caston and Scott skier (and Lee’s son) Sam Cohen, I was sold. Marcus, 27, grew up in Snowbird’s race program. Sammo, 23, was raised with the Alta Freeride Team groms. Different styles on firm snow for sure, but off trail in deep snow? “The last couple of winters my most productive days shooting have been with Sammo and Marcus,” says Lee. “They’re both great skiers, but they have totally different styles. I’ve gotta say though, after looking carefully at the pics, you cannot detect much difference.” —Marc Peruzzi
“Marcus skis with incredible power and emphasis. When he sails through the air, his knees are tucked up in the classic race position.” —Lee Cohen
“Sam has been playing around on the steep and deep since he was a little kid. He entered some comps along the way and graduated to Alaska, where he’s been throwing down noteworthy lines the last few years.” —Lee Cohen
“Marcus grew up racing, but has a strong freeskiing background as well. He has a super powerful, springy, dynamic style that often finds him jettisoning out of the snow. That does wonders for photographers.” —Lee Cohen
“Sammo grew up freeskiing at Alta. He skis big mountain style—smooth with minimal body movement, making it look easy. It’s deceptive how fast he’s going.” —Lee Cohen
From our Gallery 2016 issue.