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Snow Shooter: Cedric Bernardini

Bernardini skis Vallée Blanche powder. [Photo] Minna Riihimaki

Bernardini skis Vallée Blanche powder. [Photo] Minna Riihimaki

Born just outside of Chamonix, France, Cedric Bernardini didn’t become a skier right away. He has traveled all over, from Paris to Zimbabwe, and it was in the Sierra Nevada where he picked up his love for skiing. “That is where I become a skier, maybe more of a ski bum dwelling in a van going up and down the mountains,” Bernardini wrote on his website. “My favorite moment is when I come back from a day, download my pictures and look for the good surprise. There is always one…there is always the shot that will surprise me.”

Now, back in Chamonix and taking full advantage of the skiing and photography found there, Bernardini hopes to quit his day job at a hotel in the next few years and become a full-time photographer. When Backcountry got him on the phone, Bernardini talked about days off, being lazy and skiing with friends.

Backcountry: How did you get into photography?

Cedric Bernardini: It’s always been a hobby, but I bought a proper camera only three years ago just because those little point-and-shoots were very frustrating. I always thought [skiing] was very photogenic. That was a good way for me to tell [people] what I was doing, whether I was in Mammoth or here in Chamonix. It was always a good way to share what I’m out doing everyday, with all kinds of people. So, professionally, it has been just three years. I had started to hang out with a lot of people that were sponsored and pro riders and stuff like that, and that’s how I got to the whole professional side of everything.

BCM: What goes into making a great shot?

CB: That depends what you call a great shot. A shot that is meaningful for me is different than a shot that would be a great shot for magazines or a great shot for some website. It’s the difference of who’s going to look at that shot. For me, a lot of that [comes from] the story behind the shot or if I went somewhere and I’m able to take something that is spontaneous and something that tells the story of where I was and what I was doing.

But for a magazine you have to just go out when there’s perfect light and have a perfect skier and a perfect scene, and then you can work that all together for a few hours in the same place. Whenever I ski it’s really a day off, so I like to enjoy it.

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Bernardini high in the mountains during an ascent of Aiguille d’Entrèves. [Photo] Luca Pandolfi

BCM: What’s your biggest weakness?

CB: My biggest weakness in the outdoor thing is that I’m pretty lazy. I don’t go after performance. It’s hard for me to train in the fall or even in the summer. I am still doing a little bit, but it is a little hard.

BCM: What are some defining moments or high points in your career? 

CB: [Being a part of the first snowboard descent on] Monviso’s Coolidge Couloir would be my best moment. That’s pretty much how I started to be a more professional photographer, because I made a beautiful picture of a snowboarder and it was a first snowboard descent. That’s how everything got publicized, and we were stoked. But it was a really good summit in Italy and a beautiful descent.

BCM: Where does your inspiration come from?

CB: The people I go [skiing] with a lot of the time. When it’s a good group of people and there’s a lot of good energy between the group, I feel compelled to take a lot of pictures. When we go on two- or three-day trips, the beauty of the place where we’re going and how remote and special and original it is [inspires]. But it’s definitely about the people around me.

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