And the #FirstTracks Winner is…..

Mother Nature rang and you answered the call.

In October, when rain sprinkled in the valleys, it dumped in the mountains. “It was the best day of 2016,” was a comment heard over and over as people hiked for fresh tracks well before the lifts opened.

The winners were the ones who got the goods. And the folks below who got the photos to prove it.

At Killington, the snow guns blasted as well, allowing Jesse Gomez to catch some air off Rime on October 10. At Pico, Per Devore and his dog Hank laid down some sweet tracks. Cory Ayotte and Hillary Wheeler were two of the many who carved up Mad River Glen in mid-October while Simone Hoffman and her uncle and dad hiked the Middlebury Snow Bowl for a little snowliage.

While we received many, many great shots from early season skiing and riding, readers on our Facebook page voted the 5 shown in the slideshow below as the best shots of the early season in our second annual #FirstTracks photo contest.

And the best? We asked our judges — veteran outdoor photographer Brian Mohr of EmberPhoto, Oliver Parini (who photos have appeared in The New York Times and multiple other venues) and our Vermont Ski + Ride art director David Pollard — for their top choices.

Some of the judges comments:

“The father and  daughter photo [Simone and Brady Hoffman] is the photo that speaks to me in the context of October skiing… leaves on trees, on snow, early season stoke, etc… Thus, it gets my vote. ” 

“My favorite is the snowboarder [Jesse Gomez] because of light and composition. It conveys a nice tension and is expressive. Followed by the dog [Per Devore] for texture and composition”

In the end, two of the three judges agreed on the winner: Mike Garceau’s shot of Jesse Gomez catching air at Killington. “Mondays, right? October 10, 2016. Unofficially, Day 1. Found @bigguccigomez and @joe_d_foster geared up in the parking lot after work today, grabbed my gear and joined for the hike! Beyond stoked,” Garceau wrote on Instagram.

Jesse Gomez finds some Rime at Killington on Oct. 10. Photo by Mike Garceau
Jesse Gomez finds some Rime at Killington on Oct. 10. Photo by Mike Garceau

Gomez and Garceau receive $100 for first place, plus publication in the next issue of VT SKI + RIDE magazine. Plus, a selfie stick “The Pole” and lift tickets.

In the meantime, congratulations to our five finalists. And to Kevin Duniho whose shot of the maple leaf in snow wins our “Artistic Merit” vote!






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Lisa Lynn

Editor of VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports.