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Adventure: What were you thinking at this moment?
Max Kuszaj: This photo is quite unique due to that fact that it was taken in the pitch dark, with minimal lighting, thus making it extremely difficult to see while skiing. My main thought was to make polished ski turns, while being basically blind … skiing off of feel and instinct.
A: Where are you in? Why was it a good spot?
MK: Believe it or not, but this photo was taken right on the side of the bi-pass road in between Alta and Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon. When the lake-effect storms unleash Utah’s classic, light snow, anywhere you ski will be top notch. This location had the best ingredients, perfect angle/pitch, picturesque sunset, perfect snow, and the ability for photographer Erik Seo to set up all his photography flashes to light the shot.
A: Were you able to appreciate the sunset while skiing?
MK: Yes! No “photoshopping” involved here. Little Cottonwood Canyon has amazing sunsets all season long, and we were able to successfully capture one in this photo. As far as appreciating it, I try to appreciate every single one I witness while at Alta.
A: You are a freeskier and BASE jumper. Do you think the two sports are complimentary?
MK: Absolutely. BASE jumping and freeskiing take similar mindsets, as far as athletes go. There are many factors involved with skiing a line; from snow pack and exposure, to safe line choices, terrain, and equipment assessment. BASE jumping is quite similar with the proper protocols and routines. Both sports involve a rare breed of individual that seeks adventure and adrenaline in one of the most purest forms.
A: You must love playing with gravity or something. What do you think it is?
MK: It would be a straight line if I directly stated I didn’t like to play with gravity. I truly do. I also greatly enjoy the speed, the independence, and, more important, the freedom the two sports offer me as an athlete and individual. To be able to ski untracked snow and have that sensation of floating down a mountain, or to step off that 2000-foot cliff and take flight allows me to cross the boundaries that are drawn for humans. It’s beyond gratifying to be able to experience these moments first hand.
Where are you based and why?
MK: I am originally from New Hartford, Connecticut, but now I’m based in the recreational outdoor mecca of Salt Lake City, Utah.
In my many travels, I have yet to experience a place that has the geological offerings that Utah does. The Wasatch Mountain range offers amazing freeskiing terrain with world class snow. Beyond the skiing, Utah offers outstanding year-round recreation opportunities statewide including; BASE Jumping, Paragliding, Mountain Biking, Climbing and hiking. The ease of travel in and out of Salt Lake by all means just adds to the selling points.