Sometimes things in life just work out. In the middle of an amazing season I got slotted to go on a Europe roadtrip for Salomon Freeski TV. I mean really there wasn’t much of a choice for me, it would be wrong in so many ways to say no to a trip to Europe especially this one. The trip plan was to do a roadtrip around Europe with no agenda other than traveling to the spot with the best conditions. Yeah I know sounds like a terrible idea! The crew consisted of, Mike Douglas (the godfather/the man with the plan), Kaj Zackrisson (flying squirrel/happiest skier on the planet), Christopher Sjostrom(photographer/great guy), Ben Mullin (filmier extraordinaire/partner in crime) and myself. Hanging with such an experienced crew makes life easy, no dramas, very little stress, very productive and a lot of fun. We soon started calling ourselves the good times crew and good times would prevail for us.
I met up with Douglas in Geneva and headed to a hotel in Annecy where a nice bed was heaven after some busy travel days. The next day we got to spend the day at Salomon HQ in Annecy. It was so cool to check out everything they have there. From seeing where they build prototypes, to seeing the people who I only get to e-mail all winter, to mounting to new skis, to seeing product in testing for 2013 (some very cool concepts)! It was amazing to meet everyone and see the inner workings of a great ski company. For being such a large company I am constantly surprised to find super cool, laid back skiers running the company.
After mounting up some of next years skis we headed to Bruno’s parents place in Serre Chevalier. They have a beautiful house close to the base. Serre is Bruno’s favorite place to ski so he graciously came to show us around his home mountain for the day. After a couple of runs it was very clear why this was his favorite resort, with some of the longest steepest treed runs I have skied. We got to see some all time terrain but unfortunately the snow wasn’t the greatest down low and the clouds were hanging around the mountain tops. With cloud cover up high we spent a day scoping the mountain and preparing for a sunny day. The next day we woke up to bluebird and some impressive wind plumes off the surrounding mountains. Realizing that we weren’t going to get much done up high, we started humming and hawing about what to do.
Our photographer Christopher started making calls and suggested that we head just down the road to Montgenvre. This proved to the first great decision of the trip. The wind was calmer and we found some super fun mini golf to ski. We spent two bluebird days shredding around the resort hitting as many lines and features as we could. The snow wasn’t perfect but it was more than good enough to shred. It had been a while since I had got to ski lines in good snow, so much fun! I love getting the chance to ski with Kaj and Mike, we all look at the mountain a little different so it is cool to see the lines they pick out. The other crazy thing was how cold it was, I came from wearing shorts in Whistler to minus 20 C, kinda of a shock to the system.
After the last day, the clouds started coming in and we knew it was time to head to the next location. After two days of bluebird we had some killer footage. We went for an apre beer to sit down and figure out the next location. According to the forecast it looked like our best chance of getting powder was in the south of Italy at a resort called Liamonte Piamonte. That night we drove to just outside of Torino and got a hotel room for the night. Being in the lowlands of Italy we weren’t expecting much in the way of weather. We woke up to snow the next morning, soon we were making our way towards our next destination. The closer we got, it quickly became apparent that the 10cm forecasted had fallen and was being surpassed quickly.
The snow on the road was starting to really pile up and the snow banks kept getting bigger the higher we climbed. We barley made it to the ski hill, having to get out and push the car up the last hill. We quickly got our gear together and headed out to the hill. With no idea where we were going we headed to the first group of trees and started filming. With no real idea of what to expect you can imagine the shouts of joy when we dropped into bottomless waist deep blower powder. Some of the deepest snow I have skied this year. I’m not sure who had the lucky horse shoe at this point but it was sure working. After the storm was done it had dumped 100cm on us and we had a couple of epic days of shooting. I can’t think of any other time that has happened to me, go from perfect bluebird to double overhead powder in the span of 12 hrs. Living the good life to say the least. We stayed for a couple of days skiing ridiculously deep powder in the trees. In the end it snowed over a 100cm and we ran out of safe terrain to ski. With little chance of the alpine being safe enough to ski we decided it was time to move on. Stay tuned for part 2!! Just want to say a big thank you to Mike Douglas and Salomon Freeski Tv for putting such an awesome trip together!