As a kid I grew up with sounds of sleds in the garage from the time I was born. That was more than 43 years ago, today I continue the passion for snow and sleds. Who am I? Good question, I am still trying to figure that out. For now I am the proud father of 6 incredible kids, my oldest is 16 and my youngest are identical twin girls age 2, I know I will have my hands full with them, for now just trying to keep up is more work than trying to keep up with boondocking pro athletes, heck I have a hard time keeping up with my 12 year old on the snow.  Needless to say the gray hair is coming on strong. I married my sweetheart 20 years ago. Being a photographers wife takes someone very special, since I am gone weekends, no set schedule, last minute shoots, having to leave at a moments notice, up at all hours editing and working on deadlines. She has been supportive from day 1 and has sacrificed so much. I am blessed beyond what I deserve for sure, she has made it possible for me to do all of this.

I took a hiatus from sledding for some years, skiing became my passion, don’t get me wrong I still went sledding just not as often as, oh say every weekend.  In high school my buddies and I would get home from school hop on the sleds, ride right out of the garage and up to the mountains with skis strapped on our backs. I have to say I got to ski some pretty incredible lines and snow as a teen because of areas we could access on the snowmobiles. Looking back, I am surprised none of us died in an avalanche. I was buried neck deep in one but we laughed it off and kept skiing. I am so glad for the knowledge, equipment and training that is now available.

I lost my father almost 2 years ago in a tragic sledding accident, he was killed instantly after going over the top of a hill and off a ledge into the tree’s, he knew it was there and had warned his sister to watch her speed at the top so she would not go over. No one knew the mountains of Northern Utah better than my father. We are not sure why he went over and off at such a high rate of speed, but are grateful it was instant. I bring this all up because without him I would not be doing any of this. I wish every day he could be here to be a part of all of this, I thank God for the blessing he was and is in my life and the lives of so many others. He was a true pioneer in the snowmobile industry.

In 1992 I spent 2 years in Moscow, Russia as a missionary for my church. This launched me into considering a career in the State Dept. After my mission I returned home and went to school majoring in Political Science with and emphasis in International Relations, and a minor in Russian, before finishing I got married and headed to the Embassy in Moscow with my wife for a 2 year job offer. We stayed for 2.5 years (extended 6 months) came home pregnent with every intention of going back after Abby was born. In the meanwhile I continued my passion for photography, skiing and sledding. I got hired on as full time ski photographer at Snowbird and since then we never looked back at doing anything different. That was 16 years ago. Since then I have been shooting winter action sports. I started my own company in 2010 at Snowbasin Ski Resort called FaceShots Photography at the same time I launched RLT Photos, my Snowmobile side of photography. I still own and run FaceShots Photography at Snowbasin, we do all of their on mountain guest service and marketing photography. If you see any images on billboards or images promoting Snowbasin, those are images I most likely took and they are most likely my kids in the images. An image of my 12 year old skiing is on the side of a Delta Airlines 737.

RLT Photos, I started shooting the RMSHA (Rocky Mountain States Hillclimb Association) races in 2010. I grew up on the hillclimb circuit as my uncles and dad were some of the originals in the Hillclimbing circuit, the Jackson Hole World Championship Hillclimbs were annual event. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that shooting the hillclimb circuit would propel me in so many incredible directions and land so many incredible opportunities in my lap. Yamaha Snowmobiles noticed my work and brought me on as their mountain photographer for their world wide ad campaigns and catalogs, as well as hired me to photograph the Yamaha race team at the Jackson Hole World Championship Hillclimbs year after year. I also built a relationship with Klim and Nathan Blaylock,  Klim’s Snowmobile Promotions, Events and Sponsorship Manager. Nate was tragically taken from his family and those that knew him in an auto accident, it was a huge blow to everyone since he was such an incredible person and friend to so many including myself. My relationship has continued with Klim and the incredible employees that work there, most notably Sid Huntsman who had big shoes to fill with Nate’s passing. Sid is one of the most down to earth genuine people I know and is the epitome of why Klim continues to dominate in quality and inovation. I have been blessed to work with Klim and its pro athletes all these years providing hillclimb imagery and doing what I can to promote their brand, which I truly believe in and have tested it to every imaginable limit with the same results, dry and warm. I can’t even begin to emphasize how important that is as a winter sports photographer. Staying dry and warm allows me to focus (no pun intended) on what is important.

After 6 years of photographing the hillclimb circuit I now sit on the board of RMSHA as the Social Media and Marketing geek as well as website manager, and now Sponsorship liaison, and yes still photographing every race.

Recently I accepted a job in the past year with American Snowmobiler Magazine as their Western Editor. This has been an incredible opportunity and allows me the opportunity to work closely with all of the Snowmobile Manufactures as well as ride and evaluate all of the newest sleds for articles and comparisons. I could have never imagined any of these incredible opportunities and am humbled and blessed to work with the best people in the industry. I look forward with excitement to what lies ahead.

We ride every Saturday, if you are ever in Logan, Utah and want to come along with a very diverse group of riders, we meet at 1st dam at the mouth of Logan Canyon at 9am. We would love to have you along! Feel free to shoot me a text anytime 801-390-5744

Ryan Thompson


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