(Reisebloggen er på engelsk)
Crew: Espen Kristiansen, Vegard Breie, Torgrim Vole, Jørgen Valde, Christian Bjørk, Henrik Hedval, Jana Linqvist, Jannet Hargin, Anne-Kari Bakke and Erik Martinsen.
The last 2 years, Sweet Protection has brought their freeride team for a film and photo shoot in the Alps. This year was no exeption. and it went down in January. Team manager Erik Martinsen gathered his crew in Munich, and the show was on.
The recent years has been quite an adventure, with more time spent in the car searching for snow, than actually skiing. We were all psyched up for a lot of driving, so there was no surprise when we headed for Serre Chevalier with a 12 hour drive ahead of us. With two VW- vans and a team manager with a heavy foot charging, the German autostrada soon got left behind. Two hours after midnight, after some searching, we rolled into a hotel in Italy. After a good night sleep and breakfast, the crew was back on the road and ready for Serre Chavalier, with high expectations of epic conditions.
The weeks leading in to our trip, the weather forecast for the entire Alps was not looking good. After a huge snowfall in mid december, it had been really dry and windy all over. But Serre got hit during new years, so we headed there with great hopes for good conditions. And we were not disapointed, fresh pow met us as we came into town. But after a day on the mountain, we soon discovered there was no solid base under the 25 centimeters of fresh snow. This meaning sharks and no safe cliff drops. Leaving Serre was no option, atleast not for a couple of days, due to some lost lugage. (Airlines are not a skiers best friend).
Erik Martinsen led the way down the mountain into the small village of villeneuve. Then we had our first aprés ski beer in the small 'Swedish' hotell 'La maison du bez'. This is a small and personal hotel where Tina, the owner and her staff of Swedish season skiers, really make you feel at home. With top notch service and great food, we ended up staying there for 2 weeks. Check out http://www.hotel-dubez.com, if you're in Serre or thinking of going there.
With the ISPO trade show coming up in four weeks, the main goal for our trip was for Vegard Breie to get stills for use in the catalouge. Sweet Protection is one of the main sponsors and many of their athletes feature in our film. I came along with my camera hoping to get shots of Torgrim and Jørgen. Both great big mountain athletes who represents the hard working and hard skiing Norwegian freeride community. (check out their segment's in 'Magic Moves and Get Lucky)
To get shots you need perfect conditions, but we were not in the right place, so we hit the road. About an hour south-west from Serre Chevalier, near the Italian border, we found gold. A small 'hidden' resort, 30 min off the highway, named Abries. After some reco, we met some local skiers during lunch, and they told us where to go. It turned out to be some of the most fun tree skiing I've seen in years, with super light blower powder. During the next week while snowing hard, we spent 5 days playing, laughing, shooting and skiing our hearts out. We didn´t get the epic things that blow your mind, but we surely had a lot of fun.
But we needed some sun, big mountains and huge lines....
Breakfast at 07:00, 2 hours driving, full day of skiing and dinner at 20:00 (french style with 3 courses), does'nt exactly make for a 'party all night' atmosphere in the group. But we got the chance to check out the party scene in Serre, although it went down in the Scandinavian owned hotell (Langley), with a majority of fellow contrymen. It is always nice to get a 'time-out' and enjoy some local culture.
Working in the mountains you are constantly considering the snow conditions and weather, and you can never be sure that what your about to ski is safe. Jørgen Valde had a close call our second day skiing in Serre, when finding a way into a colouar, he was standing on the top of a flank approximately 200 vertical meters up. The flank gave away under his skis and he was sliding towards the edge, we were at the bottom looking up and could only see the snow charging down the mountain side. After 30 seconds, which felt more like 5 minutes, we got the call on the radio and he was safe. He had been able to grab hold on to some rocks and was able to stop his momentum. Although Jørgen is a experienced skier and took his percautions, this shows that you never know what can happen. Avalanches is always a dangerous factor when you are in the mountains. We were lucky enough that none of us got hurt or injured on the trip.
While the rest of the Alps still had no snow, we only had to drive 30 min from Serre to find powder. Montgenevre is a resort south of Serre, on the border to Italy, and it is super nice. With amazing tarrain a few minutes hiking from the lift, we enjoyed four days of bluebird and fresh tracks. Torgrim Vole showed why there was no surprise he would go on to have a great contest season, and skied some sick lines. The rest of the crew also impressed with good skiing, and me and Vegard Breie did our best to capture the magic on our memory cards.
All in all we had a great 2 weeks, and produced some good film and photo material. You will see Vegard Breies photos in the Sweet Protection catalouge and ads next winter. And my film shots will drop in our latest movie coming this fall, so stay tuned. And keep your eyes open for Sweet Protection, because they work hard so you can keep playing in the mountains.
Se flere bilder fra Serre Chevalier