First Steps: Moss Halladay


Moss thrives on the north faces of mountains.

So does Moss Halladay, a Truckee, CA-based professional snowboarder and photographer. His visuals speak of his experience both in front of and behind the lens. He’s been out there on some of Alaska’s finest lines, and so he knows the spirit of the mountains, knows what to look for and expect when shooting.

“AK had always been a dream of mine. Well before I ever took photography serious I dreamed of riding the big lines the Chugach had to offer. Growing up watching Standard films and MDP really helped me get excited about those mountains.”

Moss got his opportunity when his friends, Nick Perata and Mark Sullivan, organized an event called Tailgate Alaska.  The idea behind Tailgate was to make Alaska “more accessible to the average snowboarder and not just the super pro.”  Moss feels fortunate to have joined this event back before it got hugely popular.  He recalls, “On my first trip I think we had a total of 25 people including the staff. Instantly I knew this place was magical and that I wanted to learn these mountains. I sat at Thompson pass watching helicopters and snowmobiles ripping all around me in awe that I actually made it.”

“My first AK run was on the Berlin Wall. I watched two of my friends drop before me and ride some of the best looking powder I had ever seen. It was my turn to drop and once I dropped I felt pure freedom. All I could hear was the turns I was making and the sound of perfect snow….at least I thought it was perfect.

I started to ride rider’s right to get into a small chute when POP! I was on my back heading towards a massive amount of rocks. The powder was not perfect and I had just set off a large sized avalanche. I scratched and clawed my way out and stopped right before the exposure.

Watching the snow cascade over the rocks and to the valley floor was wild, it was like a scene from Planet Earth. We were all in shock that this had just happened and that  I was ok. I quickly gathered my composure and rode down to everyone. Most of us had not experienced a slide quite like that so the emotions were high. I took a 30 minute break to analyze what happened and than decided to make are way up to top of Python which was across the valley on another aspect.

The entire time I was gripped out of my mind but I made it to the top one step at a time. I managed to suppress the fears and dropped in. Once I again all I could hear was the turns I was making and this time the snow stayed perfect the entire time. I reached the bottom and was ecstatic with how fun my run was.  My first trip to Alaska taught me first-hand the dangers that your face when you step into the Alaskan backcountry, but it also showed me what I had been dreaming since I was a kid.”

All Photos by Moss Halladay

First Steps: Moss Halladay

About The Author
- Jeff McElroy is a Ventura and Mammoth Lakes-based writer. His surf/coast-inspired short story collections, CALIFORNIOS and CALIFORNIOS 2 have received awards and accolades within the boardsport and literary communities. He writes about adventure athletes and the wild places for EDGEtv Network. When he's not writing, he's surfing, backpacking, snowboarding, and trail-running with his wife and Jack Russell Terrier.

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