Story Behind the Image - “Chair 48”

A ski area chair lift sits at a standstill as the early morning light shines on the snow.


The world had stopped. Everything was quiet, no planes in the sky. It was scary and strange. A sense of uncertainty and not knowing what was to come hung above us. COVID-19 had caused the world to be out of alignment. In the state of Montana, the value of exercise and fresh air in nature was not denied. The ski areas had closed but we were still able to move our bodies and breath. Many mornings, I spent, arriving early to skin uphill and catch the warm glow of the sunrise and the reality of a new day with my camera. This image of the Bridger Ski lift chair was captured on one of those special mornings.

Being curious, wondering, and daydreaming about what would come next was my playlist of thought as I skinned uphill. Inhale. Exhale. There is no better place other than nature to reflect and contemplate life’s questions. Creative ideas are not born while looking at a computer screen. Creative ideas are inspired by the action of movement. Experiencing the sunrise each morning maintained my circadian rhythm and more importantly reminded me each new day brings a new opportunity. An opportunity to learn, grow as an individual and listen for ways to contribute to our communities.

What caught my eye to make this photograph? The tiny icicles dripped from the Bridger chair. The growth of these icicles for several days represented that the chair hadn’t turned in weeks. The old snow sitting on the top of the chair also indicated that the chair had been still for days. It was as if the chair was frozen in place. The warm light cresting the horizon illuminated the Northern Gallatin and the Absaroka Ranges to the south providing a fresh new start to the day. Reminding me to breathe in the new day and believe, in a time of anxiety, that all will move forward through the thick storm clouds and toward the calm skies.