Matt Bansak | Living and Capturing the Dream

Matt Bansak on Chickadee Ridge. | Courtesy Matt Bansak

Many a Tahoe Weekly cover has featured the photography of Matt Bansak, who has an eye for capturing the perfect extreme sport shot, majestic landscape and the beauty of Tahoe.

Working remotely as a Web designer offers Bansak plenty of time to play in the outdoors. A self-proclaimed insomniac, he tends to work at night, which enables him to spend his days skiing, sailing, kite surfing and doing the many things he’s passionate about.

Bansak coached the Olympic Valley Freestyle and Freeride Team, known as SquawFree, for years and decided to take the year off to spend the winter pursuing personal ventures. He is passionate about enjoying each day to its fullest and waking up to a new adventure.

“I surround myself with other talented athletes in Tahoe and have good mentors like Robb and Scott Gaffney and John Morrison,” says Bansak.

Bansak grew up in Connecticut and lived in Vermont before moving to Tahoe 10 years ago.

“I had never been to Tahoe, but it had the combination of everything I wanted in a place. I clicked around Google with geo-tags to explore places that had both mountains and lakes,” he says.

Bansak’s passion for the outdoors and love of photography has led him to capture epic photos. His adventures have found him traveling the globe from Norway to Antarctica to the Amazon with Truckee-based Ice Axe Expeditions or to the Ruby Mountains shooting for Ruby Mountain Helicopter Skiing. A big part of approaching photography for Bansak is to garner the amazing shot while being present in the world.

“It’s easy to fall into the trap of staring into your phone, fumble with settings and not appreciate where you are. Sometimes I am so focused on the shots I have to remind myself to just be there and be present,” he says.

When on assignment, Bansak has to think about his photo shots from the many perspectives he’s navigating while skiing, taking photographs and being safe. His back-country safety and avalanche courses have taught him how to stay aware of the conditions he and others are skiing in. Getting the shot is as important as the safety of the team and therefore he discusses the goals and potential risks on each shoot.

“I appreciate art. Photography is an artform that offers a unique perception of the world. I’ve developed an appreciation and try to capture the world so I can share it with others,” he says.

He also believes in making the most of each day.

“If it’s too icy for most people to ski, those are the days I get out,” says Bansak, who grew up skiing on the East Coast, where conditions can vary. “I get to explore Tahoe with a kite or in the back country. Here in Tahoe, if the resorts are on wind hold, it’s a good day for kite surfing; if it’s not windy enough to kite surf there’s always ice skating. There are so many ways to enjoy this place,” says Bansak, who kite surfs on Lake Tahoe year round and sails every Wednesday in the Beer Can Regatta Series.

According to Bansak, his greatest strength is his disposition: “I find positivity in all situations — positivity and hope. I have a consecutive-month ski streak going. I’ve skied at least once a month for the last 98 months in a row and almost all in Tahoe.”

Bansak enjoys his life fully whether in pursuit of the next great shot, developing a new Web site or getting out and exploring his many outdoor passions.

“I am just here to take the journey, he says. “I yearn to go everywhere; it’s just a matter of where to go first. The most important thing is not saying no to anything.” |