Matt Standal

Photojournalist, reporter, writer, skier and former professional scuba diving instructor

Posts by Matt Standal

Ski Guiding in Japan – Achieving My Goal

Many of us set difficult goals. It’s a necessary life skill. You save for a new car, complete a college degree, work toward a promotion, or go on that dream vacation. For the last five years, I’ve been working on a much different goal. I’ve been dreaming of guiding skiers into the wild mountains of
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Backpacking 24 Miles in AK Grizzly Country

There’s a series of steep mountain valleys and alpine glaciers tucked between the busy suburbs of greater Anchorage and the upmarket ski town of Girdwood, just 40 miles southeast. The historic Crow Pass Trail cuts through this dense wilderness, and was once the only reliable route through the interior of the Kenai Peninsula, linking Anchorage
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Disappearing Glaciers in Kenai Fjords

We’d been in Anchorage for three nights, and it was just long enough to make me itch for a world without gift shops and cartoon grizzly bears. On my fourth trip to Alaska, I was beginning to understand the further I moved beyond paved roads and restaurants, the better. Our film crew had just documented
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Surfing an Alaskan Tidal Wave

Situated just east of Anchorage, the 250-mile long Chugach range rises from sea level to glacier-covered peaks that stretch upwards of 13,000 feet. This incredible mountain range towers over thousands of rocky islands, and encompasses dozens of jagged fjords that cut inland from the Gulf of Alaska. Massive brown bears live here, along with moose
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Exploring Haunted Caves in Arkansas

Four days spent underground in a forgotten corner of Arkansas in January had me feeling like I was stranded in the bowels of Earth while fueled by strange southern-fried foods. “How do you feel about caves?” said my old friend Fritz, who booked me on the shoot. It was a phone call I’ll never forget.
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The Longest Day of the Year on Mount Baker

“You’ll be roping up from here,” said our instructor, gesturing to the mound of glittering, melted snow that stretched onward for a quarter mile. “Beyond this, it’s actual glaciated terrain.” I looked at my partner Jeff – a blueberry growing heli ski guide in training from California –  and he seemed pretty chill about the
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Visiting Alaska’s Volcanic Desert

The twin-engine Otter rumbled through the low clouds, banking a huge turn before touching down on the ash flat. Exhausted, and fearing a major delay due to bad weather, our camera crew let out a collective sigh of relief. Our six-man team from ABC’s Rock the Park had been huddled in the freezing rain, backs
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Filming Shipwrecks in the Caribbean

Getting paid to bring a camera underwater has been my dream for over a decade. As a PADI scuba instructor who worked in Florida and Hawaii, I was always fascinated with underwater camera equipment. However, my job was to teach students, not snap photos. That all changed last year with the show Rock the Park,
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Walking on Waterfalls in Jasper National Park

Staring into a mist of freezing water flowing down a 10-meter chute, I asked the obvious question: “I haven’t rappelled in a while … can’t you just lower me down?” “No, we made a plan to rappel, so we’re sticking to it,” said my grizzled, French-Canadian guide. His voice was drowned out by the current’s
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Climbing the Skillet Glacier in GTNP

Being new to technical mountaineering, I decided to make my first project a glacier climb and ski descent in the beautiful Teton range. My subject was 12,600′ Mt. Moran, one of the biggest and isolated peaks in the range. The idea was hatched in late June. Bags were packed, bindings were adjusted, and crampons and
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