I’m so excited to share the photos from Christine and Jordan’s backcountry skiing elopement with you all! I’ve been lucky to capture some really unique elopements over the years (like Liz and Bo’s hot air balloon elopement), but nothing is closer to my hear than playing in the snow. This was one of those wedding days where I could not wipe the giant smile off my face, and when I came home and talked to Justin about it, I kept thinking how this is how we would have done our own wedding if we’d know back in 2011 what we know now.
When the Boulder-based couple first reached out to me, their plan was to have their backcountry skiing elopement ceremony at Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, then skin up to Lake Helene for more photos and some turns. Then the government shutdown happened, and we had to come up with new location ideas since RMNP was closed. We were throwing around different options in Indian Peaks Wilderness, before finally settling on this area in White River National Forest, between Leadville and Copper Mountain.
It was important for all of us to have a private location rather than going in a busy area where there would be lots of people around. Luckily with eloping on a Friday in January, we only ran into a few people on the first part of the hike/skin up, then had the cirque completely to ourselves for the elopement ceremony!
As we were heading up the mountain, Christine and Jordan were telling me how they’d told one of their friends that they were doing a backcountry skiing elopement, and that her reaction had been “OF COURSE you are!” And I really think those are the absolute best kinds of weddings – where you create a day that truly speaks to your relationship and what you love doing!
I’ve been more and more drawn to capturing real moments instead of staging things for the “perfect” photo lately, and I love how that’s exactly what happened when Christine and Jordan got dressed next to an old mining cabin. With our gear spread out all over the place, Jordan packing down the “ceremony site” with his backcountry shovel, and Christine getting dressed standing on a sleeping pad, it was real life and so much better than any staged shots.
I was super impressed when they pulled dress shoes and ankle boots out of their bags, but the nice shoes created some fun situations as they tried walking through the knee-deep snow without falling. Then at the end of their ceremony, as they went in for their first kiss as husband and wife, they both slipped and fell into the snow! We were all laughing so hard, but it really was the perfect moment.
After the ceremony, we munched on homemade cookies and PB&J sandwiches while sipping champagne, then packed up and headed out to earn some turns. The snow was about as crappy as you’d expect from a sunny day in early January – knee deep with a thick crusty layer on top – but we still had so much fun! By the time we got back down to our cars, we had been out for their backcountry skiing elopement for seven hours, and if not for sunset I easily could have hung out with Christine and Jordan for another seven!
If you’re planning a ski or snowboarding elopement, I have a whole guide to them here. And if you’re looking for a Colorado elopement photographer who can keep up with you in the snow, get in touch – I’d love to work with you!
Christine and Jordan also left me the sweetest review after their backcountry skiing elopement!
Nina is a fantastic photographer who made us feel at ease from the moment we met her at the trailhead. The hours we spent together flew by, and she was both professional and fun for the entire day. As it was just us and Nina, it could have been awkward or weird, but it was like meeting a friend and having a nice chat over coffee. She gave us suggestions to help when they were needed, but otherwise during the most precious parts of our day she was unobtrusive and, in the best way, you could almost forget she was there. As we left the area and the sun was setting, she was still capturing every moment she thought we should document. There was no rush to any part of our day (except for us getting caught in terrible i-70 traffic, but Nina patiently waited for us), and we cannot thank her enough for the job she did. Every part of the planning process, which included moving the venue due to the government shutdown, was done quickly and easily. She returned the album of photos incredibly rapidly, and we can’t stop looking at the literally hundreds of incredible photos she captured from our day. Everyone we have shared them with agrees they are magnificent. We are backcountry skiers, and weren’t sure at first if we could find someone who was as down for adventure as we were, but Nina was amazing. In summary, if you want someone who will make planning a breeze, follow you into the Colorado backcountry chatting like old friends, take absolutely breathtaking photos, and make the whole day feel like a dream–hire Nina! 12/10 would do it again in a heartbeat.