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Ambush In The Andes, Day 2: Eric Roner and Adam Clark

The 2008 South American Photo Challenge

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He dropped it in the snow.

A camera and lens combo worth more than my car. But when it was dried and checked he found it was perfectly OK.

This morning we caught up with Roner and Clark, the latter shooting the former

in case you missed it yesterday

. Clark was shooting for the creative angle category and rigged his camera to a long metal pole with a remote trigger. As you can see in

this photo

, it’s not exactly easy to do. For starters, you’ve got to rig it just so, take a guess when the skier is at the optimal part of the frame, squeeze the remote shutter, and pray.

Clark was remarkably calm about dropping the camera. “I’ve been shooting for 11 years and I’ve only lost or broken about $2,500 worth of gear in that time,” he said. “So it’s not such a big deal.”

All of which taught us this: Shooting ski photography is equal parts art and science, with a little fraction of good and bad luck thrown in for good measure. Roner and Clark also shot for the powder and air categories today.

You’ll notice the latter here

, with Clark perched at the cliff’s edge and Roner nailing his grab.

Almost as riveting was watching the Austrian ski team eat. The Austrians come to Portillo every year to train. They eat dinner every night at the table next to ours, hunching their massive frames over their plates and speaking quietly to each other in German. This cross-cultural exchange taught us many important things. Chief among them, that nothing is more riveting than watching Herman Maier eat. When it comes to feeding himself, the Hermannator doesn’t mess around. Dinner was two salads followed by two haystack-sized piles of rice.

Then a mountain of spaghetti Bolognese.

Then MORE spaghetti Bolognese, scraped during a seamless, you-gonna-eat-that? plate-to-plate transfer from a teammate. And they weren’t having an eating contest.

Check back tomorrow: Tagging along with Jordan Manley and Chad Sayers with photography’s weirdest device, the “Canadarm.”

— — — —

The 2008 South American Photo Challenge is an invite-only, five-day event to determine who can shoot the best photography in five categories: air, powder, big mountain line, ski culture, and creative angle. The photo/athlete teams are Grant Gunderson shooting Pep Fujas, Adam Clark shooting Eric Roner, Steve Lloyd shooting Jason West, Jordan Manley shooting Chad Sayers, and Gene Dwarkin shooting Josh Van Jura. The winning shots will be published in the February issue of

Skiing magazine.

In the meantime, check

for daily updates.