follow the snow
{#02 EN} february 2012
was really excited. After a considerable
Experience and knowledge enabled Dave
snowfall, the beautiful cloudless day came.
to identify the threat. The first is gained in
Looking at the surrounding mountains and
the mountains, but the second one can be
I imagined marking my own lines on steep
learnt from others. That is why we want to be
slopes of the Japanese Alps. A passing car
helpful and share some remarks regarding
interrupted my meditation while I was stand-
changeable weather in the mountains and
ing outside my lodgings, ready to take an
give advice on ascending techniques for
action. A local guide Dave jumped out of
snowboarders. We also wish to encourage
the car. – Have you seen this line on the
you to explore the mountains away from the
left? – he dropped without saying hello. The
lifts. We also reveal pro-riders’ secrets of how
line? What is he talking about? Yes, there was
to keep fit.
a crack –a barely visible crown of a fresh
But first of all, we want to take you to some
huge avalanche. The beautiful morning and
interesting places in Poland, Austria and
the picture of a wonderful ride blinded me
Japan. After an exhausting snow chase, let’s
completely and I missed obvious signs of
look at ourselves from alternative perspective
presented by doctor Petri.
06 The land of
56 need for street
76 weather rules
66 Pro’s life
80 snowboard
damping snow
20 Powder on
30 Blue bird
72 Ski manufacture
86 hyper-reality
38 powder day
44 austrian
Mac iek Le s z cz y ń sk i
The team
E di tors
De sig n
To mek Dębiec
Ma rc i n Ku b ia k
Mac iek Leszczyński
Photo pro c e ssi ng
Col l aboration
Jo a n na Koz ek
Pio t r G nalicki
To mek Gola
Pro of r e a der
E r w i n Gorczyca
To ma s z Fi ndys z
Ha n s Chri stian G ulsvik
Ku b a Petri
Tr a nsl at ions
Ku b a Radliński
A n na Ma r ia Ro ma n
Ko s tek Strzelski
cover photo: Darek Orlicz, rider: Simon Hofstädter
we’re on facebook
rider: Jan Krzysztof Jr. photographer: Marcin Kin
for more info visit:
the l and
of the
Hakuba, Japan
During the season snowfall in some places can reach almost
10 meters. What’s more, over half of the area of this country is
covered by mountains with the greatest number of ski lifts per
person in the world. Paradise.
wo rd s : Maciek Leszczyński
p ho to s: author [ Holga], Hans Chri stian G u l sv i k
apan – exuding an aura of mystery, dis-
travelling all over Japan and experiencing
tinctness and exotics. It combines plenty
true taste of local color. You can familiarize
of contrasts. It’s the place where high-tech
with more traditional part of Japan without
intermingle with enigmatic, rich and centu-
bumping into crowds of tourists from all over
ries-old tradition.
the world.
For skiers and snowboarders Japan is the
synonym of light dry powder which comes
Like Chamonix
in large amounts. Many riders bear in their
First problem I encountered was concerned
minds pictures of houses and cars buried un-
with choosing the right spot. I selected two
der heaps of snow and powdery sceneries of
resorts – Niseko and Hakuba. Niseko is
forests from the northern island – Hokkaido.
situated on Hokkaido, that is the northern
However, not many people know that up to
island, which is famous for great amounts
90% of the area of Japan is covered with
of snow. Hakuba is one of the most popular
mountains and highlands! If you combine it
resorts on the main island – Honshu. After
with heavy snow flurry, you will get heaven
consultation with Marek Doniec, who visited
on earth. In addition, well developed ski lift
Hokkaido multiple times and compared it to
facilitates exploration of local mountains. Part
Szczyrk (but with everyday plentiful supply
of this system is maintained to provide for the
of fresh powder) and hearing some rumours
needs of small communities, but it enables
about the purpose which attracted Xavier and
Jones to Hakuba (this is where the steepest
in thick snowy clouds, which was my experi-
with utmost Japanese courtesy and given a
How it’s done in Japan
and highest mountains are located) I chose
ence. It is said that there are days when the
warning that even though you are the best
I spent few days on familiarizing with the area.
the second option.
snowfall is about 20 centimetres an hour!
rider in the world undoubtedly being per-
Weather conditions were great for peaceful
Hakuba is called Japanese Chamonix and
Hakuba and its close vicinity have whale of
fectly aware of the avalanche risk you should
warming-up – very low clouds and quite fine
is well-known for ski jumps and majestic
ski resorts on offer which provide access
know that your actions may inspire less expe-
snowfall. I was riding mainly close to the ski
Japanese Alps. I must admit that visiting
to high mountain areas. There is one more
rienced riders to try off-piste runs and it will
lift but combination of the terrain features
high mountains was the most persuasive
thing to remember, some of these areas are
definitely pose risk of being trapped in very
and abundant snow provided incredible
closed for backcountry riders (mainly due to
dangerous situation. I recommend slowing
Arriving in Japan at the end of January and
the fact that these stretches of land belong
down a bit, as the second meeting may not
Queuing for the ski lifts in the smiling crowd
beginning of February guarantees perfect
to the national park and the ski patrol will
be as friendly as the first one.
of people craving for the fresh morning pow-
snow. However, probably you won’t see the
eagerly remind you about that. Meeting with
der, I could observe all kinds of mono-ski or
mountains yourself, as they will be enveloped
the patrol is very pleasant. You are welcomed
double-ski inventions – swallow tails, boards
Hakuba, Japan
with cut tails or gigantic noses, skis with mon-
During evening photo browsing you can
strous rockers or nonchalant reverse sidecut,
recognise rides only by goggles – huge
that leave all water skis in the shadow. Most
amount of snow won’t even allow for decid-
local riders probably have never skied on
ing whether it’s a skier or snowboarder. I
groomed slopes, that is why their gear is
resigned from shooting films with my small
adapted to surf exclusively in powder. I have
camera after the first day for the very simple
also seen extremely odd mono-ski, but have
reason – every video had the same screen-
no idea how it was possible to surf between
play: turn – plume of snow – turn – face shot
the trees on something like that.
– turn – face shot – turn – plume of snow …
After starting the lift a vicious fight for the
and so on, endlessly.
snow begins and the saying “there are no
Ordinary ride means bathing in arm-high
friends on powder day” becomes entirely un-
snow and not demanding pleasant surfing.
derstandable. Army of riders attacks nearby
More ambitious riders can count on extreme-
ski lifts and spreads on the slope. After a
ly steep sections and enormous snow pil-
while a whole bunch moves to more distant
lows, which settle on the trees. If weather
areas. It has some pluses, especially at the
conditions are good, it’s worth visiting higher
beginning of your stay in Hakuba, as it makes
alpine regions with beautiful and stunning
logistics and field reconnaissance easy – you
steep mountains where you can ride on huge
simply follow other riders. Don’t worry about
snow spines comparable to those found in
crowds. There is enough snow for everybody
and the number of face shots taken during
Despite all that beauty, we should remember
one day will double your hitherto statistics.
that these mountains are very steep, rich in
Blinding conditions and riding by heart are
snow and characterized by extremely treach-
usual here as light snow rising in the air cov-
erous land configuration – feet of the moun-
ers everything and sometimes even hinders
tains are usually hidden in deep narrow val-
proper breathing. In short – pure madness!
leys that is typical terrain traps. Unfortunately,
information on current snowpack conditions – if
you need to know anything, contact Evergreen.
We took few tours with the guys from Evergreen
to escape crowds struggling to be the first on the
ski lift. Areas around Tsugeike and Norikura are a
real paradise. This spots offer nice rides through
deciduous forests covered with fanciful huge pillows of snow. There is also quite a big chance to
meet local steep masters – strange, shaggy creatures being hybrid of chamois, wolf and guinea pig
called kamoshika. They roam the mountains and
rush into marked ski pistes from time to time. I’ve
it’s supported by statistics on fatalities for
residents in this region, with extremely rich
this region.
and invaluable mountain experience. Some
ski resorts made their areas accessible for
Away from the ski lifts
backcountry riders mainly due to his efforts.
After few warm-up days time for exploring
Dave is the most suitable person to show
more distant fields came. Before doing so,
you around local mountains. You could ask
I decided to meet Dave Enright who knows
me why. The answer is simple – he has
this place inside out. He is one of the oldest
been everywhere. He is the best source of
Hakuba, Japan
heard that they sometimes sleep on snow
man (not the only one in this area) who hav-
pillows, which settled on very low branches.
ing wonderful Alaskan ranges just behind
Slopes in this location are slightly inclined
his door got fascinated with Japan, local
and run through sparse forests covered with
climate and mountains and decided to visit
few meters high fabulous snow carpet. Using
Hakuba every year to monitor fabulous snow,
existing infrastructure is a good idea – you
provide guiding services and conduct ava-
can finish one round in the ski resort and
lanche skills training. You must admit that it’s
climb higher areas what will save some time
perfect recommendation for Hakuba and its
and allow for marking few more lines.
freeride potential.
Unfortunately, during my entire stay in Japan
Without much thinking I signed up for the
weather conditions and avalanche risk ham-
training on the first term available – the op-
pered expeditions to alpine areas, so we
portunity to participate in the training con-
and other snow tourists had to limit tours to
ducted by the avalanche expert with 30 years
nearby forests. We ended the day by taking a
of experience is rather unique.
bath in hot spring which can be found almost
As usual, training had typical parts like terrain
everywhere here.
management, snowpack assessment, but
we also talked about human behaviour and
made few interesting avalanche scenarios
One day I noticed grey bearded face at my
and something, which I have never done be-
door. Smiling guy looked very familiar but I
fore – probing in search of people without
had some problems with recognising him.
beacons. That was a hard lesson, because
After taking a look at the jacket with printed
this type of rescue is really frustrating and
word “avalanche”, my thoughts turned into
time-consuming. So remember, always take
right direction. It was Bill Glude, Alaskan
the beacon, even going for a lonely ride.
avalanche expert. If you have seen the film
Lines, you should remember him. This is the
Hakuba, Japan
Ski bums
The other variant of exploration of Japan –
unfortunately I haven’t experienced such adventure – is to hire a car and join the chase
after the snowfall. It’s quite popular – there
are many small vans parked opposite ski
resorts where ski/snowboard bums live.
Japanese team called Car Danchi is an excellent example of this phenomenon. You
can follow their expeditions on films under
the same title. This crazy riders were also
captured in the documentary In Short.
As I mentioned before, Japan has great
mountain potential with perfect riding spots
which are not difficult to find. Besides renowned regions there are other locations well
worth mentioning, like Myoko, Tanigawadake
Wherever you go, you will definitely find plenty of fabulous places with great snow and
your stay in Japan will surely be remembered
as the best winter season ever.
N: 36° 42’ 7.23”, E: 137° 51’ 44.22”
Hakuba, Japan
guide service
Xavier de Le Rue in Hakuba
krippenstein, Austria
P owder
on the
Karst region with variable inclination and
wo rd s : Woj tek Sz cz ep a n i k
imaginative formations as well as fantas-
photos: Darek Orlicz / rider: author
tic more than 4 meters thick snow cover
are the best features of Krippenstein.
rippenstein which I knew from my
the mountain is accessible by ski lift which
friends’ stories, photos and films
is divided into two sections and transports
seemed too commercial and overrated. Four-
visitors to the field of surprises. Mountains
day ride with local guys which enabled in-
stretching at Dachstein foot are distinguished
depth exploration of pristine spots changed
by extremely diversified terrain as they are
my mind and unfavourable initial impression
composed of limestone which is extremely
vanished into thin air.
prone to erosion. Enormous range of land
Krippenstein is located few dozen kilometres
formations caters for all needs – it’s possible
southeast of Salzburg. It was given the name
to choose runs depending on your style and
Freeride Arena not without reason. Wild un-
skills. Short and demanding faces, tiny cou-
touched slopes dominate over groomed
loirs and slightly steep sections wind end-
pistes – what is quite exceptional taking
lessly and provide almost unlimited number
into account conditions in Austria. Top of
of runs. Ledges covered by loads of snow
Enormous range of
land formations
caters for all needs
krippenstein, Austria
form impressive configuration – riding or
was enough to transform parking lot oppo-
jumping over them is a great fun. Due to
site the ski lift in an instant. Freeride zones
specific shape of the ground northern slopes
looked like ski-cross routes after few hours.
are usually covered with thick layer of light
Majority of visitors chose nothing more than
powder. Total thickness of snow at the moun-
runs marked on maps. That is why there were
tain top exceeds 4 meters. This place is a
more untouched areas left than we could
real paradise for riders who love tree riding.
explore during our stay. At the beginning we
Unfortunately, there are not many places with
spent few days on riding in the forests as it
long extreme big mountain runs.
was snowing and everything was shrouded in
Downhill run leading from Krippenstein
fog. Riding on huge patches of snow, which
through Gjaidalm and Krippenbrunn to
are considered to be distinguishing feature
Obertraun is well worth recommending. It’s
of this location, was the greatest fun. At the
one of the most interesting routes in entire
end of our stay we got some sun and had
Austria – 11 kilometres long, 1500 meters of
time to try longer runs in high mountains.
vertical drop. This area is even more attrac-
Despite being very popular among freerid-
tive thanks to Hallstatt – old town situated at
ers, it’s possible to find some quiet places
the lakeside which is listed a UNESCO World
for marking your own lines. I will definitely
Heritage Site. It’s also the most popular ac-
visit this spot once more.
commodation base for riders.
We went to Krippenstein to do some shots
for new project run by Łukasz Gabryelski.
Simon Hofstädter, who is a local rider and
knows every inch of this area, helped us in
exploring this location. Small fresh snowfall
N: 47° 32’ 50.41”, E: 13° 41’ 53.65”
Krippenstein, Austria
basic informations
there were more
areas left
than we could
skrzyczne , poland
blue bird
For many new-fashioned never-off-piste
skiers Skrzyczne and Szczyrk located at
its foot are synonyms of backwardness
and utter embarrassment. Skiing in this
spot won’t give you any advantage in the
chase to climb up the social ladder, but
there are other things you can definitely
be sure of – with a bit of luck, weather
conditions will allow you to spend few
beautiful days on freeride adventure.
wo rd s & p ho to s : To mek Dęb ie c
hairlift in Szczyrk, which was build in
1956 and takes tourists on Skrzyczne
(1257 meters), is a banner and almost monumental construction. It’s famous for its extremely low speed (half an hour sitting on
very narrow and uncomfortable chair) and
720 meters of vertical drop - what is quite a
lot taking into consideration overall altitudes
in the Beskids. If you want to exploit existing
infrastructure, the most obvious solution is to
r ider: Marcin Jaskółka
ski close to the chairlift system. This option is
so tempting that local riders usually exercise
it immediately after fresh snowfall.
skrzyczne , Poland
snow flurry and thick fogs which enveloped
The idea to ride there few days after the snow-
the mountains completely forecast started to
fall wasn’t perfectly understandable. I had
display some signs of weather change. Blue
been thinking of it since few seasons, but
stripe meaning wonderful sun and blue bird
due to miserable snow cover it never came
appeared on the weather chart. It raised the
into realization. If you look at Skrzyczne from
alarm and gave us a kick to set out.
north-eastern side, huge gap in the forest
The morning greeted us by pouring cold
stretching on extremely steep slope is the
water on our excited and hot heads. Frost
first thing which catches your eye. Mountain
in Szczyrk reached few dozen degrees. The
side levels out only 500 meters lower than the
air was dense and offered visibility of few
summit. The space is plentiful here. Smooth
hundred meters. We were shaking with cold
surfaces are interlaced with fallen trees which
while going up by mercilessly slow chairlift.
are perfect for jumping. There is only one
Fortunately, at the altitude of about 800 me-
condition to be met - safe and pleasant ride
ters above the sea level we started to pierce
needs thick snow layer, that is not less than
through cloud cover. We squinted our eyes to
100-120 centimeters. Upper part of the clear-
protect against blazing sunshine and already
ing is ornamented with spruce forest which is
knew that it was a perfect day for skiing!
extremely dense at times and requires some
The view from Skrzyczne was amazing –
skills to struggle through. I knew that skiing
valleys shrouded in the sea of fog with the
will bring the most pleasure when the rising
Beskids and the Tatra Mountains emerging
sun lights the slope. It’s not an exaggeration
on the horizon. Total idyll with extra snow and
to say that I had been waiting for this moment
temperature inversion – it was few degrees
since two or three years. After few days of
warmer at the top than in the valleys.
r ider: Ma rc i n Ja skó ł ka
r ider: A nd rz e j Ja m roz i k
skrzyczne , Poland
We repeated the same run thought the clear-
We started ride heading towards north east
ing twice, each time ascending the slope
what seemed to be the most effective tactics
on skins or snowshoes. Climb up in such
available in this conditions – we simply chose
conditions took as about an hour. We went
easily accessible parts. First stretch meant
past team of freeriders few times who skied
skiing between short spruce trees which
down to the bottom of the valley to Słotwina.
resembled white hooded monks. Then we
They hired a bus, circled Skrzyczne and ar-
had some time for passage through steep
rived at the lower ski lift station. This patent
section of the forest and rushing into the
works really well in this spot. It saves some
clearing. There it was - the centrepiece of
energy but doesn’t guarantee taking more
our expedition. We stopped at its edge and
downhill rides.
tried to work out the best route. Damn it! Each
We ended this brilliant day in the mountain
attempt to make use of logistics failed. We
lodge eating delicious sour rye and cream
were standing in front of a huge snowfield
soup and sipping mulled beer. There was
and couldn’t find even one small spot which
also time to take interesting descent from
was less than perfect. Powder settled a bit.
Skrzyczne to Czyrna which is located about 3
After gathering speed skis raised completely
kilometers away from the ski lift. This distance
above the surface and produced few meters
allowed to leave our traces on untouched
tall curtains of snow. After the run we were
snow without any problem.
as delighted as small kids at the playground
opening. We gave high-fives and enjoyed
seeing our marks left on the surface of the
N: 49° 41’ 12.24”, E: 19° 1’ 50.45”
Skrzyczne, Poland
Despite being lower than the neighbouring peak, Małe Skrzyczne offers
abundance of attractions. Only 46 meters difference of altitude, but it offers
the greatest number of freeride runs in
Poland which are accessible from the
ski lift system.
wo rd s & p ho to s : To mek Dęb ie c
r ider: Ma rek Lachowsk i
f you want to visit Małe Skrzyczne do not
expect to come across much comfort,
but I don’t think that lack of convenience
means anything when you get 70 centimetres
of fresh light powder covering all surrounding mountains. Thirteen T-bar lifts deployed
on hillsides and Małe Skrzyczne hogbacks
patiently transport visitors to skiing spots.
They sometimes pull too hard but you forget it as soon as you see gorgeous powder
runs. Besides almost unlimited freeride opportunities, this resort offers quite affordable
prices – PLN 68 (that is about 15 euro) for
all-day ride.
hurry up!
that these solutions are very popular. That is
In the last few years areas stretching close
why after two rounds up and surfing down to
to the resort gained incredible popular-
Czyrna it’s advisable to change playground.
ity among freeriders. Significant stretch of
unfolded plentiful open space with scattered
Clearings and beech
beech groves which are perfect for riding.
Now it’s the time to go down to Solisko.
You should bear in mind that within few years
Wonderful runs are accessible from two
time this wonderful clearings will overgrow
lifts named by local people Golgota and
with dense greenwood and leave no chance
Juliany. Entire slope which stretches on the
for riding. Seasons like this one will become
right side of T-bar lifts and drops steeply to-
the thing of the past.
wards north is a perfect place for freeride.
When the powder day approaches I try not to
You can come across two huge cuttings and
wheel and deal but resort to workable solu-
beech forest. Hillside is few hundred meters
tion – to visit Małe Skrzyczne. You can start
wide and offers downhill runs with vertical
your way up from two points – from Czyrna
drops of about 250 meters. This value may
or Solisko. Czyrna has T-bar lift which covers
not be impressive, but it could be demanding
390 meters of vertical drop and climbs up
for unskilful riders, who usually try to make
on Hala Skrzyczeńska. Very attractive areas
it without any break and end up with burn-
stretch on the skiers right side of the ski lift
ing hips and catching their breath. There is
system. Gradient is changeable including
also much satisfaction for advanced riders
very steep sections at the beginning of the
who will definitely appreciate taking jumps
run. You can also ascent higher levels – Małe
and dynamic slalom between beech trees.
Skrzyczne hogback – and turn right halfway
Those trees do not bend while being hit what
on the route running along the ski lift (begin-
provides quite decent doze of adrenaline. If
ning of the slope road) into extremely steep
there’s much snow this slope is the best in
ravine what will definitely produce strong
the entire vicinity.
spruce forests disappeared completely and
fo to : Prz emek Kop e ć, r ider: Ku b a Jo n k i s z
sensations. One of the disadvantages is
From Malinowska
to malinów
jacket. The lower the better – less wind meant
Run from Malinowska Kopa to Malinowa is
be careful and watch what is laying under
a jewel in the crown of local freeride routes.
your skis. Stone-hard graupel changed into
This option requires taking three ski lifts from
fresh heaps of snow. Lower altitudes offered
Solisko which take us on the top of Małe
something what could be called powder, but
Skrzyczne. Then you need to ski few hundred
it wasn’t as soft as the one we came across
meters along the mountain ridge and go to-
in the forest. Only last stretch was covered
wards Kopa Malinowska. The way leads to
with light divine snow.
completely different climatic zone. Altitude of
Małe Skrzyczne characterises by endless
about 1200 meters above the sea level and
expanse of riding areas. Good snow can be
exposed ridge did their job – strong wind
found here even few days after the snowfall.
and severe frost were unbearable and it was
It’s worth looking around and using some
obvious that we couldn’t stay there for long.
maps to plan interesting runs away from ski
Descent stretches along treeless area and
marks a culmination of wonderful powder
more good quality snow. You just need to
day. Beginning was not pleasant. Wind-blown
hardened snow was screeching under the
skis, blustery wind was trying to strip off my
N: 49° 40’ 36.65”, E: 19° 0’ 44.48”
Małe Skrzyczne, Poland
obertauern, Austria
There’s nothing more exciting than the feeling you get when the
weather shifts dramatically after few days of ferocious snowstorm. That moment you just need to be in the right place, like
Obertauern in Austria.
wo rd s & photos: Tomek Gola
r ider: Michael Kösslbacher
auern Pass – this is where Obertauern
Probably skiing pioneers who set their foot
forgotten about us. I somehow felt that the
Disastrous abundance of snow forced the de-
is located – which connects the Lower
in Obertauern were freeriders, or even more
beginning of January, which I planned to
cision on closing the ski lifts ... Only one short-
Tauern with the High Tauern is one of the
– they were doing freetouring! However, in
spend in Obertauern, will bring something
distance chairlift was in operation, mainly to
most important transport routes crossing the
1948 first ski lift was opened. In the 60ties it
unexpected. I was a bit restless. It wasn’t
avert the necessity of refunding the money
Austrian Alps. First mountain huts which were
was further developed into a large network. 1
about the driving conditions. I couldn’t wait
for ski passes to the tourists. In contrast, the
build in this place as early as in 1517, that
gondola, 19 chairlifts and 6 T-bar lifts can be
to see effects of this raging and overwhelm-
centre of Obertauern was bustling. People
is Schaidberg and Wisenegg, still have their
found between 1630 and 2313 meters above
ing blizzard.
left snug hotels and guesthouses to hunt out
doors open! In 1902 the skiing era began.
the sea level. What’s more, Obertauern offers
While getting to the pass some drivers asked
cars which were lost somewhere under snow
First skiers willing to reach the pass had to
100 kilometres of prepared pistes, 26 kilome-
passengers to sit on the bonnet to load drive-
dunes. They were trying to dig them up, but
cover the distance of about 20 kilometers on
tres of winding routes for cross-country skiing
wheels and avoid getting stuck in hindering
this effort was destined to failure. Keeping
foot. Their luggage was carried using sleight.
and virtually unlimited freeride possibilities.
snow. I finally reached my destination and
the roads passable in such conditions is
found shelter in a cosy guesthouse, which
Sisyphean labour. It is done by municipal
supposed to have the view on amazing
services equipped with powerful vehicles.
ter road modernization which took place in
The beauty of
the catastrophe
freeride spot. Next few days just stirred my
Each hotel has various types of snow ploughs
1929, the pass could be reached by motor
I was on my way to Obertauern struggling
imagination. Visibility was about 50 meters
to manage during few days of heavy bliz-
vehicle and it was the moment when the vil-
with powerful snow flurry. Few days before
and it wasn’t caused by the fog but by the
zards. Clearing their own driveway they flood
lage was given the name Obertauern.
half of Europe complained that winter had
heaviest snowfall that I’ve ever seen in my life.
neighbouring parcel with loads of snow.
Despite this obvious inconvenience, this location won incredible popularity. Finally, af-
obertauern, Austria
hidden among the trees. Andy told me his
I didn’t give up the next day. Visibility of 75
freeride story. Then I saw huge twenty meter
meters, the ground covered with half a meter
drops. After that we spent some time check-
of fresh powder – it wouldn’t forgive myself for
ing his photos – wonderful jumps, great
missing such opportunity. I reached ski lifts
style. “Where did it come out? Can I see it
blindfolded. I decided to stick to pistes as I
somewhere?” – I asked. No way, he does it
had some concerns about snowpack stability
exclusively for himself. Nothing appeared in
and unfamiliarity with the area. After a while
the media – no photo, no film.
I decided to stray to the side. I ended up on
the face whose bottom part was completely
enveloped in the fog. This is where I run into
For some reason I have suffered insomnia
Andy and his girlfriend. Nice couple – full
since few months. Every morning from 3.30
equipment, ABS on their backs. They chose
I can’t sleep a wink. However, that night was
one side. I wanted to try pristine, untouched
somehow like a dream. Raging blizzard grad-
snow. I went down and got a big surprise in
ually died out. Visibility improved. Peaks lit
the middle of the run – huge crevice created
by first rays of sunshine, which had been
by snow slide. I barely managed to jump over.
the object of my daydreaming so far, slowly
I joined the couple ready to hear unfavour-
appeared on the cloudless horizon. I was
able remarks. Andy pointed out that it was
boiling inside. I rushed to get at the top by the
rather bad choice. Well, you can ride there,
first chairlift. I tried to hold back my emotions
but probably taking all the snow down with
and let myself go downhill. The powder was
you. So, they took me in and we spent next
breathtaking – literally.
few hours on visiting spots which are acces-
I decided to use Andy’s excellent advice. I
sible in case of blinding weather conditions.
climbed one of the summits – Seekareck –
There were plenty of them, mainly real gems
which is about 200 meters away from the
r ider: De ja n f ro m Sloven ia
chairlift. I could see that two teams were
while getting to the road we could see the
getting ready to ski down – one with the
bus taking off. Next bus – an hour wait. The
guide, second freestyle. I started to think
best thing was to take some action. I spot-
about joining them. They read my mind and
ted a few meters drop and kicked off to be
asked the question first. We set out without
the first there. The most difficult task was to
superfluous tall stories. Suddenly it turned
get there but at least it meant no freezing to
out that guys were heading in the opposite
the bone.
direction than the ski resort. I gave in. We
It started getting late. The last peak to end
reached shelter after skiing few kilometers
the day – Zehnerkar. The way up – gondola,
in unspoiled snow and exchanged few sen-
few dozen meters of the climb and traverse
tences. The guys came from Slovenia and
at the edge of the Tauern Pass abyss. The
decided to visit Obertauern after seeing
way down – drop from the cornice into the
the weather forecast. One of them, Miha,
basin, run to the steep face, fall-line descent
worked in Obertauern as an instructor and
at breakneck speed, passage through huge
knew this area inside out. We set off again
snowfield, entrance into the clear forest, few
to reach the land of snow pillows. Then we
precipitous couloirs and exit to the meadow.
took few kilometres of powder lunacy lead-
Few dozen minutes of awesomeness. Thighs
ing to the road. We needed to catch the bus
were burning.
from Untertauern to get back to the pass.
Sunset. We were sitting in one of the après-ski
Besides Miha, Slovenian team consisted of
bars drinking well-earned wheat beer. Miha
Dejan – skiing, cannoning and other extreme
and Marjan were telling the story about their
sports instructor, and Marjan – multiple world
freeride adventure in Kashmir what inspired
champion in mountain canoeing.
us to prepare plan for the next year.
The way down was heavenly, so we decided
to do it once again. After next insane run,
obertauern, Austria
I climbed Kleiner Kesselspitz next morning.
Beautiful and long run was supposed to await
me there. Due to high avalanche risk not
many enthusiasts were willing to get there.
While standing on the top and struggling with
the wind I saw a skier who wanted to reach
the same peak. I waited a bit supposing that it
must be some native guy who knows this and
that. My intuition didn’t fail. This is how I met
Michael Kösslbacher, local rider who knew
no mountains besides surrounding summits
and few other Austrian spots, but skied like
pro-rider and knew each couloir and tree. I
spent next three days in his company. Three
full days packed with difficult ascents, narrow couloirs, huge drops and steep slopes
covered with prefect pow.
I got a really royal welcome in Obertauern.
N: 47° 14’ 55.98”, E: 13° 33’ 26.90”
Obertauern, Austria
interactive panorama
small talk
need for
xperienced street fighters - Marek
imagination, poor skills and not being able
Doniec and Piotr Pinkas – describe their
to prepare the spot for riding.
struggle with the city. Piotrek is a jibber – he
The thing which is nice about street is that
slides on everything what has nothing to do
when you try some run or jump for the first
with snow, mainly handrails. Marek looks
time you never know what will happen. These
for other attractions, like drops, transfers in
calculations are fascinating – you ask your-
places which are completely unsuitable for
self what can go wrong, what is the best spot
that. What is more, they are also freeriders
for landing, how you should stop … First run
and love skiing in the mountains.
is the most stressful and fascinating as well.
If extremely difficult ride goes perfectly first
What’s the fun of skiing in the city? Most skiers and snowboarders escape the city and
go to the mountains to experience something
really interesting.
time, any other is just a piece of cake.
Streets, as well mountains, dictate
their own conditions and you need
to figure out how to make a good approach
Exploration means getting to
to take off or whether it’s possible to take a
know the area. While being in
good shot. Nothing waits ready for you and
the mountains you look for interesting runs,
this is the greatest fun – you need to create
places good for jumping and other features
your riding place from the scratch. Snow is
adding excitement to the ride. Street is the
not always available, there are some walls,
What has street skiing to do with freeri-
same. I love walking around the city and dis-
stairs and other strange things like dustbins
de? Both sports are a blend of unknown
covering new places for riding. Street skiing
and lamp posts standing in your way. Level
and passion of exploration of new and in-
and freeride have a lot in common – think-
of difficulty is a lot more higher on the street
teresting places which have never been
ing, searching and being creative. The only
than in the snowpark.
suspected of riding suitability.
limitations are concerned with not enough
wo rd s : Tomek Dębiec
p ho to s: lucekpho to, author, Janek Kriwo l
small talk
Snowpark is good for training.
You know what you can do
there, what is the starting point for speeding up and where you can land. Street is a
completely different story.
How do you choose the most interesting
places for riding? Do you have any criteria?
You know, I don’t really look for
them. I just bump into them by ac-
cident. If it happens I try to look around this
place. I check approach to take-off, examine
if there are any obstacles at the end of the
route. I also check the rail itself and take a
photo to avoid forgetting about this place.
When I have free time I organise snow and
the fun begins.
Marek, you are alsi inline skater. Do you use
summer spots for street skiing?
At the beginning I tried doing
so. I simply knew some places
and came back there with skis. I sometimes
came back to the spot because I’ve learnt
new trick and wanted to try it there. What’s
more, I try to organise sessions in new spots.
small talk
Tell us something about the most exciting or
the most difficult city action.
The most interesting project run
by myself was called Brutal –
this action was concerned with railway station in Katowice which was architectural
gem (modern building representing brutalism architecture) which was earmarked for
demolition. It inspired a lot of controversy
and objections among multiple communi-
[ film
will open in new tab ]
ties. It created very interesting background
for our actions. I prepared website and video
blog to immortalize this building somehow.
There was also opportunity to do some exciting jumps. We did it without permission.
small talk
Everything happened among workers and
the market which produce really nice skis –
we had no problems or incidents. We could
original and with good technical parameters.
walk on the roof of the train station and even
As you see there are other players on the
touch front neon sign. You just needed some
freestyle market besides huge producers.
courage to take action.
Jibbing is done using skis intended for use
in snowpark. The same type of skis is used
I don’t compile any statistics. For
for street. If you want to have good sliding
me it’s not only the sport, but pure
properties, you need to blunt edges under
pleasure and hobby. When I start thinking,
the bindings. If you want to use skis only for
the longest rail I did is located in Szczyrk
jibbing, blunting should be performed on the
on the platform close to the ski lift and has
entire length of the ski.
about 13-14 meters. The highest stands in
Cieszyn – it has 5 sections.
I was quite close to slide very interesting rail
in Myślenice. It consists of 9 sections with
I use skis with rockers. They
have one very important ad-
vantage – they have a really nice pop. It’s
one sharp turn, few metres of vertical drop
very helpful – in many situations there isn’t
and about 30 meters of length. I missed last
enough space to gain speed before the jump.
1,5 meters.
Can you tell me anything about the risks of
Are there any special skis exclusively for
street skiing? For me, vision of falling down
street skiing or jibbing?
on stone-hard stairs is quite terrifying.
There is quite big selection of freestyle skis but for jibbing exclusive-
ly – no. Many new off-brands appeared on
You need to be absolutely sure
of your skills, fitness and know
what you want to do. Moment of hesitation
can bring disastrous results. In my opinion,
the same things happen in the mountains. If
you are sure of your run, aware of the threats
and know what to do when everything goes
wrong, you are able to get out of any critical
situation. If you’re not a good rider it looks
badly and what is more, you can really get
[ film
will open in new tab ]
It often happens and it’s quite
painful. Sometimes it ends up with
serious injuries. Street is really an extreme
sport and no one does it without being aware
that something can go wrong. Anybody who
wants to play this way assumes full responsibility for their actions.
pro' s life
How do
you do it?
Fighting with the steep slopes and preci-
something? Andrzej Osuchowski, lead-
pices is nothing for professional freerider. Even chamois are envious of the artfulness of their movements. How do they
do it? Do they owe it to somebody or
ing Polish freerider, reveals secrets of
achieving high level skills.
Wealth of experiences
My teacher soon got used to it and stopped
I ski since ever. I stated at age I can’t pos-
asking questions.
sibly remember. I owe it to my parents and
After that I joined the ski club where I was
the fact that I was born in Zakopane. I had
prepared to take part in speed runs like sla-
no choice but to live my childhood in the
lom and giant slalom. In the meantime I have
skiing community.
finished the course for ski instructor assis-
Everything started with skiing with my mum.
tant. Currently I’m fifth year student of The
She was holding my hand while riding down.
University of Physical Education in Cracow
Then I started following my father and to
and intend to become class II alpine skiing
skied from Kasprowy Wierch. We took the
instructor. What’s more, I’m a member of
first ride up the mountain in the cable car
Salomon Freeski Team Poland.
then skied down and repeated it once again.
During the season I take part in few FWQ
That is why I was always late for school where
(Freeride World Qualifier) events, where I
I usually appeared dressed in the ski suit.
have opportunity to compete with contestants
p ho to : Tomek Rakoczy
pro' s life
from all over the world. Other contestants
typical exercises I do to gain strength. I some-
usually have mountains which offer unlimited
times do half-squats with weight.
training possibilities at hand and obviously
Endurance is another very important element
take advantage of it. If I want to compete
of fitness. I try to enhance it by hiking and
with other riders I must gain the upper hand
running in the mountains.
through training.
Stretching after training and skiing is really
essential and should be done extremely care-
Training without snow
fully. Lactic acid accumulating in muscles af-
It begins in summer. The idea is to gain suit-
ter physical effort has anaesthetic properties
able level of fitness. So, I ride a bike, climb
and it’s easy to overdo it. Always remember
and do water sports (wakeboarding and kite-
to do it step by step.
boarding). In autumn I start exercises with
focus on skiing.
Riding time!
I pay a lot of attention to balance exercises –
Winter finally arrives! Yeah! If weather condi-
walks and one leg squats on slackline, jumps
tions in January are favourable, I take advan-
from the box on thick mattress. It’s all about
tage of skiing on familiar Kasprowy Wierch.
doing exercises on unstable ground what
It’s only a monthly warming-up but it gives me
develops core muscles responsible for bal-
a chance to use all practiced motor activities
ance. Trampoline is also great – it improves
in real conditions. February and March are
suppleness as well as orientation in space.
reserved for taking part in various freeride
I also build up my strength, but not as much
as it’s needed for alpine skiing. Gravity load in
It’s worth spending some time on preparation
backcountry skiing is not so heavy as in com-
before season to minimize the risk of injury
petitions taking place on stone-hard pistes.
and the resulting loss of valuable days which
Jumps from the stairs in downhill positions,
can be spent on skiing.
hops and jumps with half-turns are the most
p ho to : To mek Ra ko cz y
pro' s life
Life in the fast line gradually slows down during interim which comes after the height of
the season. It’s time for spring outings to enjoy snow remaining in long beautiful couloirs.
You can also go on summer camp with your
friends and take nice jumps in the snowpark.
In my opinion the season is good if it allows
for some progress and learning new tricks.
Competitions and
In the past freeride competitions made people think of huge drops and freaks who knew
no bounds. Nowadays the highest scores are
not given to contestants who take too much
risk. The score consists of few elements like
difficulty, control (style), smoothness, jumps
and drops (within reason).
My favourite tactics is to take a fast and
smooth ride preferably with drops, but only if
they don’t put me off rhythm and I don’t have
to traverse half a mountain to reach them. I
think this technique is the most effective as
you can mark out your route from the start to
finish and increase safety by shortening the
fo to : Ł u ka s z Ma l i nowsk i
time spent within avalanche area.
ski manufacture
What determines ski or snowboard hardness? How can you influence its lateral
stiffness? How do you shape rocker? We
have found answers for these and other
questions in the ski factory.
wo rd s & p ho to s : To mek Dęb ie c
visited NBL factory in Bielsko Biała. I was
quite heavy but characterises with very good
shown around by Kuba Wesołowski who
resilience and durability. Poplar is the other
is the owner of the 77 Project brand. Skis
type of wood used to produce ski and snow-
and snowboards produced in this factory are
board cores. This wood is not as flexible as
marked with his logo nad other recognisable
ash but it’s significantly lighter. Proportion of
ash to poplar determines ski stiffness, also
called ski flex.
Wood is of the essence
The secret of the traditional ski is hidden in
the wood. This natural material is hard to re-
Assembly begins with base and edges. This
place by anything we managed to design in
pre-prepared bottom part is covered with fab-
the age of space exploration. Combination of
ric soaked in epoxy and hardener. Epoxy with
flexibility, durability and relatively low weight
hardener is used to bind all ski elements
makes it perfectly suitable for skiing applica-
together. Next layer consists of wooden
tions. One type of wood can’t match the other
core with ABS, which forms ski sidewalls.
as they have completely different properties.
Resulting sandwich structure is coated with
Special application was found for ash - it’s
fabric moisten in resin mix once more. It
ski manufacture
should be mentioned that type of applied
snowboard manufacturing as it determines
fabric differs depending on the ski model - we
their final shape. Whether the ski has a rocker
can use two-ply, three-ply and even four-ply
or traditional camber depends on the press
material or carbon cloth. Type of fabric deter-
and resin setting.
mines lateral stiffness and weight of the ski.
In the final stage of the production skis are
Topsheet of the ski is called izocap. This is
given finishing touches which decide about
where the graphics are applied using digital
their final design.
or screen printing. This layer is again fixed
Traditional sandwich construction with
to the structure by fabric with resin.
wooden core proves very efficient in freeride,
mainly due to good flex and durability. As you
Let’s press the rocker
read above, production process is not very
Boards prepared in the way specified above
complicated. The key to construct good ski
are further machined in the press. Boards
is to choose high quality materials.
undergo heating and cooling procedure
which lasts about half an hour. Pressing is
one of the most important stages in ski and
You better know
 
Both safety and enjoyment of the ride
depend greatly on the weather. It’s worth
knowing where we should look for forecasts and how to interpret weather reports as well as various signs of weather
wo rd s : Ku b a Rad l i ń sk i
ollecting detailed information regard-
24, 48, 72 and 96 hours after issuing the an-
ing weather for the particular region
nouncement and predicted temperatures at
before leaving is a good idea. Nowadays
12.00 p.m. on the day of the announcement
the Internet is the most popular source of
and following 12 and 24 hours. SFL – like-
information and I guess that almost everyone
wise service operating in Switzerland – is-
has some websites added to favourites which
sues forecast regarding freshly fallen snow
are used to search for forecasts. If it’s not
for following 24 and 72 hours.
professional alpine website, data you find
Another piece of information included in
there may regard locations distant from the
forecasts is represented by isotherm 0,
mountains. Even the portals using very small
that is the altitude at which the temperature
grid lengths (let’s take best Polish forecast
reaches 0°C. This information is valuable
website provide weather informa-
especially from the point of view of ava-
tion mainly for valleys and piedmont areas –
lanche risk and general amount of snow.
especially in case of lower mountain ranges.
Despite services mentioned above, other
institutions are likely to publish such data
Guide knows the truth
– it’s worth checking forecasts for particu-
Some services compiling avalanche fore-
lar locations. Register of almost all areas
casts provide additional information on
covered by avalanche forecasts in Europe
other weather conditions. For example,
can be found on the website hosted by
Lawinenwarndienst Tirol, responsible for ava-
European Avalanche Warning Services.
lanche warning services in Tirol, publishes
After arriving at the spot, it’s always advisable
information on forecasted snowfall within 12,
to check local weather forecasts available
You better know
at guide agencies and tourist information
• decrease of the temperature,
by the altimeter increased by more than 45
centers – in my opinion quality of such in-
• improvement of the snow quality (with the
meters, it means that the pressure dropped
formation, especially in traditional mountain
exception of firn and ice-crust layer),
locations in the Alps, is outstanding. These
• increase of avalanche risk – provided that
deteriorate dramatically. Value of 45 meters
places are also recommended if you seek
the front is associated with considerable
is applied for altitudes of more than 2000
advice from local experts, who are able to
snowfall or no frontal precipitation (old
meters above the sea level. At lower altitudes
interpret issued weather reports correctly and
masses of snow freeze and form sliding
changes by 30 meters are enough to indicate
are familiar with local conditions.
layer for consecutive fresh snowfall).
weather shifts mentioned above. Obviously,
Other types of weather fronts (occluded and
decrease in altitude means pressure rise and
Weather front is
stationary) bring less dynamic changes like
forecasts improvement or keeping up favor-
prolonged precipitation. It’s worth remem-
able weather conditions. It’s worth noting
Beyond predicted snowfall, temperature and
bering that warm front usually brings more
that altimeters should be used in quite stable
wind, the other very important information
precipitation than the cold one.
environment (for example on your hand) as
they are sensitive to temperature changes.
Next principle is called “the rule of three”.
Last advice is to follow in local people’s foot-
tion. A weather front is a narrow transition
Offline weather
Shadow the local
According to the rule, if less than one-third
steps – they are usually more reasonable than
zone separating masses of air of different
Weather shifts and approaching fronts can
of the sky is covered with clouds, there is
enthusiastic visitors. Probably it’s the result of
temperature and humidity. Fronts are usually
be forecasted on site by observing other ele-
nothing to worry about. If two-thirds of the
having the mountains close at hand and being
responsible for severe weather phenomena,
ments like changes in cloud cover, direction
sky is enveloped by clouds, it means that
more familiar with existing conditions. If they col-
so it’s good to be aware what may happen.
and the velocity of the wind and atmospheric
the spell of bad weather is approaching or
lectively set off towards the valleys, the only good
Warm front occurs when warm air masses
pressure. Although knowledge on this sub-
the weather is clearing up (depending on
thing is to do the same.
replace cold air masses. In the mountains
ject is extremely extensive, remembering two
the conditions existing before). Spells of
Bad weather can trap you in inaccessible moun-
such change can produce following results:
simple rules is already very helpful.
bad weather are usually foreshadowed by
tain area. What is more, poor visibility makes
• increase of the temperature,
Application of the rule of “nocturnal altitude
dense layers of clouds which stop moving
navigation impossible and hinder assessment of
• deterioration of the snow quality,
variances” requires barometric altimeter, that
and become thicker. Generally, when clouds
other threats. Bear in mind that even experts know
• increase of avalanche risk,
is the instrument which measures altitude on
become thicker and lower the weather will
nothing about the danger and are deposed to the
• temperature inversion (usually limited to
the basis of changes in atmospheric pres-
deteriorate. On the other hand, dispersed
beginner’s level if they can’t see any signs of it.
sure. Such types of altimeters are usually
clouds which drift upwards indicate that the
• freezing rain
fitted in watches. If we haven’t moved to the
weather is going to improve.
Cold front occurs when warm air is replaced
higher altitude (during staying for the night
by cold air and it’s associated with:
at mountain hostel) but the reading indicated
we can gain from the weather forecast is
the type of front that occurs at our destina-
the time of frontal passage),
considerably and the weather is going to
uphill with snowboard
Up & down
we go
Snowboard, in contrast with skis, serves
exclusively for downhill ride. However,
you shouldn’t limit your ways to the infrastructure offered by ski lifts, even if you
love riding using only one tool. Read our
advices regarding techniques of uphill
climb which is just the beginning of a
wonderful ride.
wo rd s : Mac iek Le s z cz y ń sk i
If you ever tried to fight your way through very
The most obvious and the easiest solution es-
deep snow, you know that this solution is
pecially under some specific conditions, like
not enough. That is why, there are few other
hard late spring snow and snowless winters.
methods to climb up.
This approach is also recommended when
you take very popular hiking trail where the
Approach skis
trail was broken by hundreds of tourists. What
They look like children’s toys. They offer so-
is more, nothing seems to be more reason-
lutions typical for touring skis – free heel,
able when you climb very steep slopes in
notched bottom face or micro-skins. There
high-mountain area, where typical equipment
is also possibility of attaching ski crampons.
against getting stuck in the snow, like snow-
After reaching the top, you simply strap the
shoes and splitboard, is only the trouble.
skis to your backpack and go down. Some
Extremely difficult off-piste routes – steep
companies offer fold-up solutions which do
slopes, covered with hard snow or ice –
not take much space in backpack.
require additional gear, like crampons.
Such skis are not very popular – probably
Crampons are usually attached to snow-
due to toy-like design and additional load in
board shoes by special strap.
the backpack.
uphill with snowboard
body weight (weight of the snowboard, back-
They are almost as old as the snow. This
pack, climbing equipment and some buffer).
equipment appeared about six thousand
Snowshoes can be strapped to the backpack
years ago. Modern design of snowshoes was
before taking downhill ride. This equipment
developed thanks to the innovativeness of
weighs about 2-2,5 kilos. The cost is from
Native Americans.
100 to 300 EURO and even more.
Nowadays snowshoes are made of aluminum
or plastic. They are equipped with free heel
bindings and special spikes which work as
the board which is divided into two parts
crampons. They come in many shapes and
which form two broad skis. The skis are cou-
sizes depending on their intended use.
pled using special hooks, clips and adapters
Before ascending, you need some time to
for bindings (also used as touring bindings).
adapt, as you must watch you steps and
First splitboards were constructed in the USA
remember not to catch one snowshoe with
at the beginning of the 90ties.
the other. Snowshoes are very useful during
Splitboards offer advantage of natural move-
climbing flat and slightly steep slopes. When
ment and are suitable even for short-distance
the inclination is about 35 degrees or more,
rides (almost like telemark skis). One of the
approaching can be very problematic. Very
disadvantages is, that full equipment is quite
steep slopes should be climbed in the bee-
heavy, so the quality of the downhill ride is a
line as traversing is very difficult and simply
bit different. From other point of view, climb-
dangerous – bindings can break off.
ing up on skis is a lot more comfortable than
Durability of the snowshoes should be cho-
dragging snowboard on your back. Putting
sen with consideration to avoid breaking.
the splitboard together is very easy and takes
Remember to add about 20-25 kilos to your
only few minutes. The most time-consuming
uphill with snowboard
+ price
+ quick movement
+ versatility (can be used for trekking)
+ easy traversing
+ quick putting on
– putting two board halves together
– difficult traversing
before ride
– price
operation is concerned with attaching or fold-
DIY splitboards don’t lose their stiffnes and
audience. Jeremy Jones, who took part in
consideration where the gear will be used.
ing skins (especially when the wind is strong).
riding properties. You just need to remember
shooting this film, further increased interest
Snowshoes prove very useful in lower moun-
The greatest disadvantage of the splitboard
to seal cut edges properly.
in this type of gear in projects like Deeper
tains (with slight inclination of the slope) or
is its price (starting form about 700 euro).
Despite the fact that splitboards were in-
& Further.
when we depend on ski lift system and climb
Voile, the first company which started sp-
vented several years ago, this equipment
litboard production, still holds patent for its
was rather underestimated and used almost
What’s the best choice?
are perfect for long-distance backcountry
idea, sells also DIY kits for those, who want
exclusively by guides (including legendary
All tools described above have its advan-
expeditions and long off-piste climbs.
to transform their snowboard into multifunc-
Craig Kelly).
tages and disadvantages. You should take a
No matter how you decide to climb up, you
tional tool. There are plenty helpful films on
Lately splitboards become more popular
careful decision before deciding to climb up
must be aware that no equipment is able to
the Internet, like the one with Xavier de la Rue,
mainly due to the films like My own two feet
in snowshoes with all the equipment on your
guarantee effortless ascent.
showing step-by-step spilt board assembly.
– probably the first one showing all possi-
shoulders or invest a bit more in multifunc-
Wish you luck!
bilities offered by splitboards to the greater
tional splitboard. Another thing is to take into
short distances to get to the run. Splitboards
The cabinet of dr Petri
still have in mind some Friday evening.
turn into green in the morning. They spent
It was somewhere at the beginning of
really nice hours before noon drinking coffee
January. The rain was banging against the
and eating chips. Probably it was the first
windowsill accompanied by constant roar of
time I started thinking that we were going
car engines. My gear was waiting in the cor-
crazy, all of us. It started getting through to
happening to us, our l ive s h a ve
ridor ready to grab it and spread into action.
me that most of my skiing companions have
become d ig ital , our fr ie n ds n ow
I checked weather records probably hundred
equipped themselves with strange devices
v irt ual , and ever ythi n g yo u co u ld
times an hour, opened e-mail box and made
fixed to their helmets. According to words of
ever want to know is j u s t a cl ick
sure that no one was dying to contact me
one of them, riddiculous things were happen-
away. Exper iencing th e wo rld
on Facebook. There it was! Good news that
ing during freeride competition in Austria,
through end less seco n d h a n d
I waited for and colourful copy of forecast
where, even while talking with other guys,
information isn’ t eno u gh , i f we
showing that it’s going to snow ... heavily!
everyone were desperately trying to capture
want authenticity, we h a ve to
How much? Wow, that much? Impossible.
the best shots with they helmet cams. What
initiate it .”
Suspiciousness drove me to compare the
about the impressions from the contest?
Trav i s Rice
graph with the info below. After a while I knew
Rather poor – it was foggy and hardly pos-
T h e A rt of F l igh t
that my friend mixed up the snowfall with the
sible to take any shot.
“ You know it’s funny wh a t’s
wind speed. Tomorrow in Vratna the speed
“ We l ive in a world wh e re th e re i s
will be 76 km/h…
more and more inform a tio n , a n d
less and less meanin g. ”
In the very first scene opening the production The Art of Flight, Travis Rice underlines
I also remember that two of my friends went
the growing need for authenticity in digital
Jea n Baud r i l l a rd
to the snowless Tatra Mountains in the late
world. Travis, optimistic American pragmatist,
Simulacra a n d Si m u la tio n
autumn to await forecasted snowfall. Do you
knows perfectly that reality can be captured
know what kind of snowfall is that? It happens
just behind the corner. Going out of home,
“Nothing would be fu n n ie r ( … ) th a n
when columns on the graph are high and
getting into first class air-conditioned jet,
the photographers’ co n to rtio n s to
blue in the evening then become lower and
gathering the army of specialist in logistics,
produce effects that a re < l i fel ike > “
Ro l a nd Ba r the s
Ca m e ra L u c ida
The cabinet of dr Petri
reaching spots listed in the Top Ten rating
characteristics compiled by Walter Benjamin,
art) has been exchanged for purely technical
teasing plastic phantom doesn’t show any
from winter edition of The Lonely Planet and
20th century witnessed emergence of new
issues like first ride in the powder or chase
signs of life. Countless films shot using HD
throwing double corks … is enough. Come
phenomenon called loss of aura. Seeing the
for the fresh snow. Taking into consideration
helmet and ski pole cameras weight down
on, it’s so simple. The film shows authentic
cathedral in the past was possible by mak-
this domain, modern rider is getting closer
with repetitive and boring sequences of
helicopters, state-of-the-art cameras with ap-
ing a pilgrimage and withstanding grueling
and closer to the snowmobilers – what is
turns. Arranged scenes showing boys in
plications based on latest Hollywood produc-
journey. Listening to stories inspired imagina-
fairly alarming.
brand name clothes posing in urban scen-
tions, sleds, GPSs, multifunction watches and
tion but didn’t reveal the secret. In the 20th
other gadgets, but all that has very little to do
century everything became easier mainly
So, we have tamed our images, we take
can’t cover the emptiness creeping in from
with reality. According to the creators’ inten-
due to development of photography and the
posed shots to reflect our dreams and feed
logo-filled advertising space. The question
tions, it was supposed to be the story about
cinema. What is the point of taking a trip in
ourselves with intoxicating yet artificial views.
is, what remains? I think it’s the belief that we
people and their passions. Unfortunately, it
order to see some building, if you can see
Our culture is focused on creating the world
can be confronted with reality on many levels
turned into glowing tribute to modern tech-
it on the film? Nevertheless, Benjamin was
which is much more inviting than the one
and it depends on us which we choose to
nologies. Just in case this experience lost
wrong – moving pictures available in millions
we know after close study and on leaving
be in. Like some old flannel shirt men who
its distinctive flavor, Red Bull took care of
of copies did not discourage people from
personalized marks. Healthy food, beautiful
I met in Wyżna Chochołowska in the early
launching a game, which will definitely pro-
going out. The result is quite opposite – we
and enlightened people, clean and functional
afternoon somewhere at the beginning of
long this “artistic” elation. Message given
are definitely more mobile than our ances-
cities as well as perfect shots from Alaska,
spring. He was walking leisurely with skis on
by Travis Rice sounds paradoxically: jump
tors but started to capture everything we
ever-smiling riders in tidy fashionable ski suits
his shoulder. “Isn’t it a bit too late to have a
on your snowboard to escape digital crap
see on images. It’s like a transition from raw
who practice yoga, play board games, take
good ride?” – I asked. “No, I just want to ski
but don’t forget to keep your Twitter friends
and almost technical narration given by aged
photos to boast of their lifestyle, write blogs,
from Wołowiec and go home”. Suddenly the
informed of what you currently do.
guidebook of the Tatra Mountains, which
paint and develop in other areas after work
sun appeared from behind the clouds and
leaves space for personal experiences and
– these are our achievements.
I understood that this guy was in the right
ery, where even the crap looks esthetic,
Why it’s so difficult to resist the temptation
imagination, to constant stream of edits on
to mediatize our crave for authenticity? Why
repeated rides. Making the line, leaving your
All the things mentioned above seem to
the snow looks better from behind the cam-
autograph on the snow (what was compared
be creative, original and meaningful. Intent
era than through goggles? According to the
by Tony Hiebeler to the creation of the work of
look, however, reveals bitter truth that this
place at the right time.
Ku b a Pet r i

follow the snow {#02 en} february 2012