Red Bull Illume 2007 finalist Vitek Ludvik has won two prizes at the prestigious Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival photography competition.
Czech Ludvik won first prize in the Mountain Sport category for his photo of snowboarder Tommy Brunner on Tomahawk, a huge, snow-covered peak in Alaska.
The image was a finalist in the Playground category of the 2007 Image Quest and shows Brunner in mid-flight having taken off over a curtain on the face, his track etched into the mountain behind him.
"(The mountain) had a face full of snow and big crevasses," says Ludvik. "I decided to shoot from the helicopter. The pilot and guide removed the door and we hung out of it, commando style."
Thirty-six year-old Ludvik additionally won second prize in VIMFF's Mountain Landscape category with another shot taken from a helicopter. This time Axel Naglich is shown on the summit of Mount St. Elias, Alaska before his record-breaking 'longest ever' ski descent.
A snowboarder himself for over 20 years, Ludvik has made a number of trips to Alaska. In 1996 he spent some weeks climbing and snowboarding with friends on Mount McKinley, North America's highest peak.
"We didn't get to the summit," says Ludvik, "but we did a lot of snowboarding."
"I spent all my money," he says. "In the end I used my last $60 to get to Kodiak Island where I hoped to get some work. I got a job on a commercial fishing boat and spent two months at sea fishing for salmon."
The trip was also a breakthrough for his career, and he become seriously interested in photography during his time on Mount McKinley.
"My work was first published a year later in 1997, and it was around the same time I founded Sharp Pictures, a multi-media agency specializing in the international sport industry."
Ludvik is not restricted to winter sports however, and now shoots activities ranging from architecture to mountain biking. He has been an event photographer at the previous two editions of the Red Bull X-Alps, taking some of the most recognised images from the event.
Rapt with his prize haul at VIMFF, Ludvik isn't sure what the prize entails but says, "I'm extremely happy."