WSSF Pro Photographer Showdown Recap

What a night!

Late last evening, one of the most iconic and prestigious photo contents on the planet, the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown, went down during the World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler, B.C.

Wssf 2017 pro photo showdown recap crowd
A large and in charge crowd. Photo by Jeremy Allen (@thefulltimehobby)
As one of the marquee happenings of the festival, the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown never fails to disappoint, but this year's offering stood tall among giants, as it was without question one of the most awe-inspiring installments of the event in recent memory.

This year's incredibly impressive lineup included five diverse and world-renowned photographers, who put their life’s work on full display for the chance to take home $10,000, a truckload of gear from Olympus, and one of the finest looking feathers in a cap that the world of action sports photography has to offer.

Pro photo showdown 2017 lineup collage
This year's competitors.
The show began with a sunny start, courtesy of Ben Thouard, a Tahiti-based surf photographer who's action, landscape, lifestyle and underwater photography produced many a goosebumps among the 1,300 strong in attendance.

Following Thouard was Revelstoke-based ski and mountain bike photographer Bruno Long (who is both a Senior Photographer for Forecast and one of our favourite human beings to work with in the world), who wowed the crowd with his unparalleled expertise with textures, colours and diversity across two sports and too many exotic locales to list.

Batting third was 24-year-old skateboard photographer Jake Darwen, who after winning over the crowd with his boyish Kiwi charm and profound love of beer, proceeded to do the same with his show, which consisted of breathtaking cityscapes, moody black-and-white imagery, and exquisite use of reflections.

Wssf 2017 pro photo showdown recap jp
#WeLoveYouJP. Photo by Jeremy Allen (@thefulltimehobby)
Following a short intermission, the host with the most, and The Godfather of Freeskiing, Mike Douglas, welcomed one of the truest mountain men in ski photography to the stage, Daniel Ronnback. Ronnback, who spent ample time in high altitude with JP Auclair and Andrea Fransson prior to their tragic deaths in an avalanche (and was sadly with them when they passed), displayed some heart-pounding and heart string-pulling photography of the latter years of their life, which concurrently brought back fond memories while celebrating their lives and achievements.

And last but not least was Andrew Miller, one of the most sought-after snowboarder photographers in the scene. Based in Salt Lake City, Miller has made his way all over the world multiple times over with the legendary Jeremy Jones, and his imagery from their iconic and timeless trip to the Himalayas left many a jaws dropped.

Wssf 2017 pro photo showdown recap choice
The people have spoken. Photo by Jeremy Allen (@thefulltimehobby)

In the end though, there could only be one winner, or rather two, as both the audience and judges had the hardest jobs in the room, courtesy of selecting the People's Choice Award and Best of Show. The former ended up being bestowed to Thouard and his special brand surf photography, courtesy of the sun-starved Whistler locals on hand, while Darwen, who's skateboard-hardened feet had never set foot on snow until he set foot in Whistler this week, walked away with the ultimate prize.

Wssf 2017 pro photo showdown recap win
Who, me? Jake Darwen wins the 2017 Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown. Photo by Jeremy Allen (@thefulltimehobby)

For more on the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown and the World Ski & Snowboard Festival, peruse the press release below, along with visiting

Wssf 2017 begins social

Ben Thouard Wins People’s Choice Award

WHISTLER, BC – April 14, 2017 - Last night at the World Ski & Snowboard Festival (WSSF) in Whistler, BC, five of the top action sports photographers from around the world showcased their life’s work at the OLYMPUS Pro Photographer Showdown. New Zealand born, Jake Darwen and his playful skateboarding and the unique lifestyle photos wowed the judges and audience alike. The judges crowned Jake Darwen Best of Show and was awarded the grand prize of $10,000. The Tahiti based, French photographer, Ben Thouard warmed up the event with his tropical surf inspired presentation granting him the People’s Choice Award and $1,000 of prizing.

As the preeminent annual action sport photography contest in the world, the event is an unparalleled celebration of commitment to still images that capture both time and the human spirit. Similar to last year, four photographers were selected and invited to compete. The fifth spot was reserved for a Wild Card Entry whereby any action sport photographer could submit. All five photographers were flown in to showcase their life’s work, including Jake Darwen, Andrew Miller, Ben Thouard, Bruno Long and Wildcard Entry Daniel Ronnback.

Before this event, 24-year-old Jake Darwen had never touched snow before, he travelled across the world from Melbourne, Australia, where he is based, to show his life’s work at the OLYMPUS Pro Photographer Showdown. Jake's unique style comprised of fearless skateboarding, the youthful skateboarder community and lifestyle. Having the least experience out of all five photographers, Jake never expected to win the Showdown and was shocked when his name was called for the grand prize.

Event tickets for WSSF are still available and can be purchased online at To connect with the World Ski & Snowboard Festival online, Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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