Although there are many pro action sports photography contests nowadays, Whistler's Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown during the resort's TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF), which is taking place April 15-24, is one of the most highly-regarded.
Over 40 photographer entries for the contest came from as far away as Spain, Germany, Japan, and Australia. A five-judge panel selected the six finalists to compete in Whistler.
The finalists will present their best images in a nine-minute slideshow on Thursday night during WSSF and the winner will take home a $10,000 grand prize.
Photographer Re Wikstrom is the first woman to be accepted as one of the finalists. "I attended the Pro Photographer Showdown last year and thought maybe I could make it in the next five years or so, but I decided to go ahead and enter this year," Wikstrom says. "A week later, I got a phone call telling me I was chosen as a finalist. It is a crazy mix of nervous anxiety, major excitement, and supreme honor just to be a finalist and have the opportunity to show my photos at this event."
Other photographers selected include Whistler-based Blake Jorgenson, a previous winner of this contest, as well as Bryn Hughes, Russell Dalby, Steve Lloyd, and Mike Yoshida.
This is the first time Utah-based photographer Steve Lloyd has entered this contest. "I am excited because it is a competition of work that you have already done," Lloyd says. "You put together your best work from what you have already shot and make a nine-minute slide show and enter it. So it's basically your portfolio."
Images in the slideshow will be shots of snowboarding, skiing, surfing, skateboarding, mountain biking and more.
"This year's response was unprecedented and of an amazingly high caliber," said event producer Lilli Clark, "which is indicative of the value of the Pro Photographer Showdown in this industry, and of the commitment and talent among the entering photographers."
TELUS' long-standing 72-hour Filmmaker Showdown will also return this year, but with double the prize money for the best in show award (first place now gets $10,000). Filmmakers will screen their final edits in the Whistler Conference Centre on Tuesday, April 19.
Says Clark: "It's a fantastic kick off to a week full of madness and we can't wait to see what the filmmakers come up with this year."