Before selfies and photo bombs were all the rage there was the Banff Crasher Squirrel. It all started on a beautiful day in Banff National Park in May 2009. A husband-wife couple, Jackson and Melissa Brandts were posing on some rocks in front of Lake Minnewaka using a camera with a remote shutter release to take a photo of themselves. In impeccable timing, a golden-mantled ground squirrel wandered into the frame and stood up right in front of the lens, clearly in focus, and thus “crashing” the photo. The Brandts were able to capture the whole thing and submitted the photo to the National Geographic weekly “Your Shot” and from there the photo went viral worldwide via newspapers and the Internet.
The photo has since become a mascot of sorts of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism and was used several marketing campaigns and on social media. In fact, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism’s Twitter handle is @Banff_Squirrel. In October 2009, the Crasher Squirrel was made an honorary citizen of Banff by Mayor John Stutz. The Crasher Squirrel, also became one of the top memes in 2009 by MSNBC and an iPhone app, Squirrelizer, allows people to insert squirrel images over other photos.
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Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.