Atop Rendezvous Mountain at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Olaf Koehler’s beard serves as a windsock as he prepares for a ski run. The valley kayaker, mountain biker and skier works on a ranch in Spring Gulch. (Chris Figenshau)

Chris Figenshau has a tough assignment. He’s supposed to get the “photo of the day,” five days a week during ski season at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

While it might sound like a dream job, the resort rises to 10,450 feet, winter in the Tetons is cold and snowy, and the aerial tram gets you as close as you can be to the jet stream in Wyoming without having to climb.

“It can be really easy,” “Figs” said of his assignment.  “It’s not that hard to get yourself out when it’s great snow. This year it hasn’t been hard to get good shots.”

Things get difficult when conditions turn for the worse, when the light is flat, the snow firm, or not that many people are skiing. “You still have to go,” Figenshau said. “It kind of keeps you honest.”

The photograph of Olaf Koehler, a skier, kayaker and ranch hand, is an example of an unexpected opportunity. “Locals adapt…Storm skiing couture by Olaf” ran March 7.

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“The day was pretty rough,” Figenshau said. “I just had to get something. I was just hanging around at the top of the tram … here comes Olaf with his beard.”

His top tip to aspiring photographers is exemplified by the Koehler picture;  “You gotta show up.”

Follow Figenshau on Instagram @jxnfigs or visit his website for more images.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at or (307)...

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