A couple of years ago a group of extreme snowboarders went there. They piled into two helicopters and a ski-plane in Anchorage, the northernmost city in the United States, and flew west for an hour. They landed at the foot of the Tordrillo mountains, which rise from America’s last truly untracked wilderness to about 11,000 feet (3,350 metres), and waited ten days for the cloud to lift.
The Tordrillos are technically part of the Aleutian range, but they look north towards Mount McKinley and catch moisture from all directions in the form of snow that hangs from their steep summit ridges like curtains of thick icing.
After the blizzard, the brown granite of the mountains was almost hidden by soft but stable snow, several metres deep. The team’s guide, also its paramedic, gave the all-clear. What followed went straight into the annals of gravity-assisted sporting madness. Scott Serfas, the expedition photographer, sees it more as a coming-together of conditions, skill, topography and daring.
After this shot was taken, the helicopter plunged past the snowboarder in free fall and still had plenty of room to level out. "He’s dropped everyone off," says Serfas. "He can fool around a bit." The trip was funded by Red Bull, and a six-foot print of this image hangs on the wall at its head office near Salzburg, Austria