As a native Chicagoan, Brooks grew up skiing in the Midwest. His introduction to big mountain skiing and snowboarding came in the early Nineties when he was a student at the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver. Though Brooks started boarding six years ago, he has since returned to two planks. “I’m a speed freak. I just can’t go fast enough on a board,” he admits. Brooks has shown great versatility in his work for SKI, shooting subjects ranging from water bottles and aching backs for the Healthy Skier department to the “Bob Goes Skiing” regional style guide that appeared in the October 1999 SKI. For thisissue, Brooks shot ski fashions for the next millennium (“Brave New World”) at the historic Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colo. “It made for a great backdrop,” recalls Brooks.
The work of “Snappy”¿as Fred was affectionately known for the enormous amount of film he burned through on assignments¿hasn’t appeared in SKI for many years. But he deserves recognition in this retrospective issue for being the original dean of ski photographers, the consummate ski playboy and the only shooter to land two photos in this issue’s “Greatest Photos Of The Century” package. A native of Norway, Snap is an accomplished skier who landed the best assignments because he could hang with the best skiers (in this issue, that would be Alf Engen and Stein Eriksen). When Snap was contacted in his home in Sun Valley, Idaho, he faxed along this career update: “I’m doing very little ski photography these days. Let the kids shoot the cliff jumps. If I were doing that I’d have to hire a model, take out liability insurance, and on and on and on. I’m better off doing architecture, where I wander around monster-homes trying to find the light switch.” Then he offered this pearl of wisdom: “If you want to sell magazines, forget Alf Engen. What you need is a picture of my girlfriend.” His friends know precisely what that means.