32 Degrees: Member Profile Linda Guerrette
(This article appears in the Fall 2021 Issue of 32 Degrees, for other great stories you can read the full issue online.)
When you read 32 Degrees, what likely catches your eye is Linda Guerrette’s photos. Her impressive images – captured with an eye for the movement and emotion of snowsports – have graced this magazine’s covers and interior pages for many years… so now it’s high-time to turn the lens on Linda.
A member of PSIA-AASI for 40 years, Linda has her Alpine Level III certification and Children’s Specialist 2 credentials and often shoots PSIA-AASI events including National Academy and Interski. Driven by adventure and making connections with others, you’ll find Linda on the skin track or single track with her dog Levi.
How did you get started as a skier, and as an instructor?
I learned to ski at age three, and started racing at the local ski hill when I was eight. One year later I won my first ski race and was totally stoked on the sport.
I continued to race through high school and NCAA Division 1 in college. My goal after college was to start a coaching career at a ski academy. I interviewed for an entry level-coaching job with Warren Witherell at Burke Mountain Academy. Although I didn’t get the job, Warren advised me to instruct for a couple years then reconsider coaching.
I moved to Colorado and taught at Keystone for the 1981-82 season. Forty years later, I’m still in Colorado and have never looked back. I’ve been instructing ever since. Ski teaching is where I belong.
When did you start your photography career?
From the time I can remember, my mother documented our childhood with photos. I’m sure I would have been on YouTube if had it existed then. Like my mother, I’ve always played with photography. I even took a few photography courses in college, however, the business side of photography always intimidated me so I shied away from it professionally.
Seven years ago, I started to explore my passion for photography to see if I could turn it into a career. I’m glad I took the leap of faith and am extremely grateful to everyone who has supported me along this journey.
What is it about combining these professional passions that excites you every day?
You may have heard the statement, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” What they don’t tell you is if you do what you love you will always be working!
Seriously though, combining my passions is the best thing for me. It gives me energy, feeds my creativity, and connects me to the great outdoors. The opportunity to observe and work with people as they come to life when they’re outside, be it a ski slope, off-piste, singletrack, or the backcountry is a gift. Capturing people in their element brings me immense joy.
You have shot some huge events including National Academies and Interski 2019 in Pamporovo, Bulgaria. What highlights stand out?
The human connections, openness, and joy that PSIA-AASI events create is incredible. I work on producing still images that tell stories as well as create a level of energy, which gives the viewer the sense of connections to other people in the image or to the environment. These events are often life changing for participants, and I like to capture images that allow the participants to see themselves in a way that transcends their experiences into forever memories.
PSIA-AASI’s mission of “Creating lifelong adventures through education” is similar to your motto “life is an adventure.” How does your moto inspire the work you do?
I see adventure as embracing the unknown and making the most of those experiences. I believe I stretch myself and grow through adventure.
Most of my photography assignments are filled with a lot of unknowns based on the dynamic environments I work in and the human variable in those environments. I always have some specific expectations to meet from the client and personal expectations on delivering.
Ahead of every shoot I envision images. Most of my work is not staged, therefore it’s important for me to stay engaged throughout the entire shoot. In a way, it’s like creating mini adventures for myself throughout the larger adventure. Incredibly the envisioned images appear, more often than not, which is beyond words to describe that feeling I have at that moment.
Are there any people or places you would love to capture on film?
I’d like to capture more backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Big mountain powder riding is always on my radar. I also want to capture more top athletes while they’re training, to capture the moments that make athletes more relatable and intriguing.