Photographer Mark Gallup debuted his exhibit of snowboarder Craig Kelly at The Arts Station.

Photographer Mark Gallup debuted his exhibit of snowboarder Craig Kelly at The Arts Station.

Slopes of Craig Kelly captured

Photographer Mark Gallup showcased the other sides of famous snowboarder Craig Kelly in his dozen-portrait exhibit titled Life With Style.

A by-product of fame is that one is often placed on a pedestal. A person becomes known by a single professional façade they choose to show to the world.

Fernie-based photographer Mark Gallup attempted to showcase the other sides of famous snowboarder Craig Kelly in his dozen-portrait exhibit titled Life With Style.

The requisite photographs of Kelly’s board kicking up powder are present, but amongst them are also solitary photographs Gallup said have never been released to the world.

Though Gallup noted that the exhibit’s photographs could be replaced on a weekly basis with his revolving door collection of perpetual Kelly shots, the debut of the collection had been a dream of his since Kelly’s death in a 2003 avalanche near Revelstoke.

“Ever since he died I’ve wanted to do this exhibit,” said Gallup. “It’s really hard for me to pick images that the public would like. I try to find a balance between things that have never been published and also some iconic images that people will remember.”

Among the famous shots is one of the ‘hole in the wall’ in Fernie; a rock tunnel the pair discovered by accident on one helicopter ride to the mountains.

This is paralleled with a calm shot of Kelly, casually seated at The Gathering music festival of 2001.

Other photographs depict Kelly ripping down mountains fearlessly in the extreme isolation of Greenland, outside of his home in Seaside, Oregon where he used to surf and on the powdery slopes of Island Lake Lodge where Gallup broadened Kelly’s mind with everything Fernie’s mountains had to offer.

Fernie was one of the first steps that Kelly took following his shocking decision to leave competitive snowboarding behind in order to pursue a career in professional freeriding — an unheard of approach to the sport at that time.

“He was the first guy at a time when snowboarding was all about competition to stop doing competitions,” said Gallup. “As soon as he started exploring around Island Lake Lodge and accessing backcountry snowboarding it kind of opened his world.”

According to Gallup, Kelly never sought to become a pioneer in his craft; he simply always pursued what he wanted to.

“He never had an ego about him and I don’t think he ever thought, ‘I want to be the first person to do this or that’ he just knew what he wanted to do,” said Gallup.

This included training to become the first snowboarding Certified Canadian Mountain Guide, a halfway-completed effort that ultimately resulted in the loss of his life in the aforementioned avalanche.

Gallup notes that Kelly’s fame seems to increase with every year since his passing.

“Kids who get into snowboarding grow up knowing him, his name and his style,” said Gallup. “To them, he’s a legend. And to me, he was just a really great guy.”

Over the twenty years of their friendship, Gallup captured the many sides of Kelly through thousands of photographs across numerous countries.

Photographer Mark Gallup with his portraits of Kelly. — S. Kucharski

Gallup wrote lengthy captions to accompany his photos of Kelly, each describing the story behind the shot.

For every caption, there comes a small glimpse into the parts of Kelly that his admirers didn’t see and a slew of anecdotes from Gallup about the man behind the talented athlete the general public doesn’t know — a practical joker, a deep thinker and a close friend.

The exhibit will be available for viewing at The Arts Station until January 26.