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This epic urban snowboard photo was more than a decade in the making

Photographer Evan Chandler-Soanes finally caught this great shot at North Vancouver's Waterfront Park
Adam Franks (snowboarder) Evan Chandler-Soanes (photographer) - web
Snowboarder Adam Franks pulls off a neat trick in an unlikely spot. Photographer Evan Chandler-Soanes dreamed of capturing this shot in North Vancouver's Waterfront Park for years before he finally got his chance in January 2020.

A rare snowstorm in North Vancouver allowed a local photographer to finally capture the snowboard shot he’s been dreaming of for decades.

Evan Chandler-Soanes has spent tons of time up on Mount Seymour, shooting snowboard photos, but the shot he always wanted needed some help from Mother Nature to bring the snow all the way down to the ocean at North Vancouver’s Waterfront Park. That’s where a sculpture known as Cathedral is located, and Chandler-Soanes has been enthralled with that piece of public art since he first laid eyes on it. The story has a neat tie-in to our humble little community newspaper as well.

“My first recollection of this sculpture goes back to 1989 when my dad let me climb on it as a six-year-old, and a random newspaper photographer got a picture that was published in the local newspaper,” Chandler-Soanes said in a note to the North Shore News (which happens to be the aforementioned local newspaper). “My mom tells me she didn’t talk to my dad for days after she saw this picture in the paper. [She] must not have trusted my climbing skills.”

As young Evan grew up to become a snowboard photographer, he always dreamed of coming back to that spot to get an epic shot. He’s been hunting the photo in earnest for more than a decade, he says. There was one major, obvious problem.

“The issue with the spot is that it needs snow at sea level, which is not too common in Vancouver even when it snows,” he said. “It also needs sundown at the right time of year for it to work, and it needed a winch. Having this particular idea in my head for so many years, I was basically waiting for a miracle to happen.”

That miracle finally occurred in January 2020, when an unusually large dump of snow hit the Lower Mainland and stuck around for a while, even at sea level.

Snowboarder Adam Franks jumped at the opportunity of starring in the shot, and the two of them managed to convince their friend Matt Heneghan to let them borrow his winch even though he couldn’t make it to the shoot. Finally, on one of the last remaining snow days, with the sun setting, it was time to capture the magic.

“I don’t think I had ever been that nervous with anticipation to shoot a spot,” said Chandler-Soanes. “It’s a very surreal feeling to be trying to capture the image I have been dreaming about for what seems like forever. By the time it was set up and there were a few attempts to get the winch sorted, the light was starting to fade fast. Franks had the perfect trick for the spot and got a few glory attempts in the golden hour in front of a rad pose of boarders who were all wrapping up their street boarding in the city.”

Chandler-Soanes finally had his dream image, and it is pretty awesome. The photo ended up on the cover of Snowboard Canada Magazine, and Chandler-Soanes was gracious enough to share it with us.

“Thanks to the perfect culmination of events it had finally happened,” he said. “Thank you everyone involved … not many photos are 30 years in the making.”