As OnTheSnow's photo editor, I spend a majority of my day looking at ski and snowboard photography. Most shots are generic, run-of-the-mill resort-based photos that show happy skiers and riders on groomers or enjoying a bluebird powder day. But amongst the slog of thousands of images there are those that stand out.

As we close 2011 I want to take a moment, step back and share some of my favorite shots that appeared on our site this year. So take ten, turn up Spotify and sink into your chair. These are the images that make hearts race, adreniline pump and remind us that when the snow is soft and we're with friends, there is simply nothing better than being on the snow.

Hokkaido, Japan

Located on the north island in Japan, Hokkaido, is famous for its massive snowfalls and great powder skiing. On this day we went cat skiing between Niseko and Sapporo and had the trees all to ourselves. Here Henrik Windstedt hikes up to hit a pillow line. - Mattias Fredriksson


Seaba Guide, Will Spilo, rides in Haines, AK. - Jeff Cricco

Duncan Adams in Haines, AK

Diuncan Adams skis in Haines, Alaska for Level 1. - Jeff Cricco

Best 2011

Dave Treadway soars over Whitewater's backcountry just outside of Nelson, BC. The ski area recently established a new double chair, opening up another third of terrain to skiers. - Jordan Manley

Best 2011

The Canadian Army controlling avalanche slopes above the Trans Canada Highway with a Howitzer on Rogers Pass, British Columbia. - Jordan Manley

Best 2011

Dan Treadway takes the quickest way down a 2000ft run of perfect pillows at Great Canadian Heli Skiing. The eldest of 3 brothers and self proclaimed 'redneck' hailing from Northern Ontario, Dan has carved out a lengthy career as a talented and savvy pro skier in BC. - Jordan Manley

Carlo Travareli

Carlo Travarelli at Snowbird. Carlo's been skiing at the Bird for 16 years now. Hard to imagine how many face shots he's accumulated in that time. - Will Wissman

Best 2011

Salmo Ski Area is one of the few facilities offering night skiing in British Columbia. A quick hop down the road from the quintessential Kootenay town of Nelson (home of the legendary Whitewater ski resort), skiing Salmo at night is a simple and modest yet refreshingly magical side trip. - Jordan Manley

Jamie Pierre

I love Brighton, its got some of the most playful terrain of all the Utah resorts. Here Jamie is hitting a jump that's right under the Crest chair. I'm shooting from the lift providing me a nice angle on the action. - Will Wissman

Mattias Powder Header

Kaj Zackrisson in Marmolada, Italy. Photographed in March 2010.- Mattias Fredriksson

Sebastian Garhammar in Stuben

Sebastian Garhammar in Stuben am Arlberg, Austria. - Mattias Fredriksson

The White Room

Brian Keet finding his way out of the white room. "Secret Spot" Jay Peak, Vermont - Justin Cash

ski jump header

Colston Kissell from Park City, Utah takes a second to reflect on his performance. Colston finished 4th in the Junior II competition with a total score of 215.0. Harris Hill Ski Jump, Brattleboro, Vermont. 2011 - Justin Cash