Corey Rich is a Photographer, Director and DP at Corey Rich Productions, as well as co-owner and Vice President at Aurora Photos and Novus Select. He is considered one of the most recognized visual storytellers of adventure sports and outdoor lifestyle. Over the last two decades Corey has combined his creativity, athleticism and burning desire for exploration to capture some of the wildest places on earth, and has documented some of the world’s greatest athletes in extreme locations spanning the globe, such as alpine climbing in Pakistan’s Karakoram Mountains and snowboarding in Papua New Guinea. Corey’s work has been featured in a host of top editorial publications, and he has directed and shot still and motion campaigns for some of the most innovative companies of our time. He has also created many photographs for Ski Lake Tahoe (including those on this website).
With a resume like that, he could live anywhere, but has chosen Lake Tahoe as his home. So we were really excited when he agreed to let us interview him for our Ask A Local series.
What brought you to Tahoe? As many great journeys begin, I was chasing a girl. Ironically I chased a girl to Sacramento, California. And I found myself living in downtown Sacramento and traveling a lot for my job, because very little of my job takes place in cities. I found that every free moment of time I was driving up to South Lake Tahoe to climb and play in the mountains and visit my friends.
Eventually the relationship petered out and I moved to South Lake Tahoe. It was a moment in time where I could have literally chosen anywhere in the country that was relatively close to an airport. But I decided that the geographic location (of Lake Tahoe) was the best in the world. It was close to Yosemite at the northern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountains – it’s as good as it gets. Great snow, amazing rock, fantastic trails, a lake to swim in and amazing friends.
And as the irony would go, I moved to South Lake Tahoe, and years later fell in love with my wife while living here. It’s not really the norm to fall in love with a woman in a ski town, but I got lucky.
Skier or snowboarder? I’m a skier. I’ve always loved skiing. I learned to ski when I was a kid. The older I got and the more I photographed and filmed in the mountains, the more I realized the value of skiing. You’re incredibly mobile and the ability to traverse, step up, and step down the hill to get into that perfect position is much more plausible when on skis than on a snowboard. That said I have many fantastic friends who are snowboarders!
Describe an ideal winter’s day. For me that ideal winter day actually starts the night before, when you have a foot of snow falling an hour (or close to that), and you look out the window and realize that there’s 24 inches of cold fresh snow and you check the thermometer and it’s in the 20s. At that moment I begin staging the athletes I’ll be photographing the next morning, and alerting the ski resorts as to where we want to shoot on the mountain. And at that point I’m prepping gear and getting ready for an amazing day. Of course the weather check is the final element. It’s not just that we want 24-36 inches of cold snow overnight, but blue skies the next morning.
When all of that comes together and I’m standing on the mountain at sunrise with some of my best friends and amazing athletes, doing what I love, which is taking pictures in the Lake Tahoe basin looking at my backyard that’s when I feel like the luckiest guy on earth. And of course that day ends with drinking beers in one of our local pubs in town, and today the final end to that day is hugging my wife and our little daughter Leila Rich.
What is one place a visitor can’t miss while here? The Divided Sky is one the great hangs of South Lake Tahoe for drinking a cold beer and catching up with friends. And of course you need to ski tour somewhere in the Hope Valley region.