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Winter 10/11

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Hjalmar /// Master skisuit

Les Diablerets 2010 a story about powder, little devils and swiss cheese Washing off sins -Hey, check out the name of the place where they wash the trains, skier Daniel Jomansson stated, while we were crawling up the serpentine railroad in small train that was little more than a city size railway bus. It was moving slowly, meter by meter, up the steep hill in the Valais region of the Swiss alps. I gazed through my dirty window and saw the bright letters that clearly spelled the word “CHRIST” on the building wall. A slight smirk entered film photographer Magnus Pettersson’s face as he countered: -That must be where they wash the sins off the trains after they return from Les Diablerets. Even if the name had nothing to do with washing trains, we were hoping for sinful amounts of powder to embrace us once we were there. Even if we had to get washed in the “CHRIST” after skiing, it would be worth it. Some of us already knew the potential of “the little devils”, after skiing epic conditions there a couple of years earlier. The travelling party this time, not counting myself, consisted of: 8848 skiers Daniel Jomansson and Sara Rönnberg, film photographer Magnus Pettersson of PGF Motion and his assistant, photographer Patrik Hagborg. In addition to that, we were teaming up with Hjalmar Olofsson, the rock n’ roll charger from Åre who had worked with me on several previous assignments, and Caroline Strömblad, a brand new name that we knew nothing about, except for that she apparently liked going off cliffs at high speeds. They were going to meet us in Diablerets since they were flying directly from Stockholm to Geneva and the rest of us from Gothenburg. The ingredients for a great week were all coming together, with the exception of the most important one: snow. As we entered the village station we could see that the ground was barely covered in white dust.

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Hjalmar /// Butwin jacket, Gun pant 8848_katalog_winter_10_1.indd 7

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Daniel /// Mels jacket, Smith pant 8848_katalog_winter_10_1.indd 8

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Hjalmar /// Sonic jacket, Gun pant

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Powder and ice cookies at Meilleret Cold air was hitting my face as I brushed through the snowy branches ahead of me. The snow was flying around my skis and I eventually stopped by one of the huge dead looking larch trees to catch my breath and to take out the camera. Snow had been falling in light flakes, all night long, and we were now harvesting the goods in small portions between the trees on the Meilleret side of the lift system. The pitches we were skiing were far from long and in some places the knee deep powder gave way to rock hard ice bumps. You had to be on guard at all times not to hit one of those “death cookies� at full speed while charging down between the christmas trees. It would make your kidneys ache like after a full night out in Verbier, if you unfortunately happened to slam into one. We were having fun and everyone seemed happy to be outside, doing what they did best: ski. The trip had actually started out better than anyone of us had thought when we stepped off the train at the Diablerets train station. We kept exploring the little area of Meilleret as the day went on. A few times the snow fell heavily but most of the day it was far between the flakes. In the afternoon we skied over to the Villars section which seemed to offer some really good tree skiing from the looks of it. But, looking at our watches we realized that it was time to head back towards Les Diablerets before the lifts closed for the day. The Villars treeskiing would have to wait until tomorrow, or some other day. The snow fall had increased again now, chilling our faces while we raced down on the piste, heading back towards the village. Back at the appartment after a good day of work, it was time for cheese, salami and a bottle of the local wine to keep us company while going though the photos of the day.

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Daniel /// Sonic jacket, Alpha pant

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Johan /// Gerhard parka, Smith pant

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Sara /// Bevel l’s jacket, Smith pant Caroline /// Anville l’s jacket, Flip l’s pant 8848_katalog_winter_10_1.indd 16

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Caruga jacket, Mark pant

Cassie l’s jacket, Cale l’s pant

Anville l’s jacket, Mila l’s pant

Asto softshell jacket, Peary pant

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Daniel /// Asto softshell jacket, Peary pant

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shadows and highlights Dry, cooL anD Light We stepped out of the gigantic cable car on the peak of the Diablerets Glacier and were blown away by the view that met our eyes. The weather was beautiful and a sea of clouds had formed in the valley below. We could see Isenau and Meilleret sticking up above the surface like remote islands. Even though I had seen similar scenery many times before, I was stunned. We slid across the flat upper glacier and went around the corner towards the huge run leading down to the Oldenalp chairlift. The whole 1000 vertical meter run was in the shade. I had apparently forgotten how massive the terrain was up at the glacier, and how big the shadows were that the Oldenhorn and the opposite peak were casting upon the skiable terrain. This was january and the sun would hardly creep over the rugged rocks before it started going down again. This meant that there was minimal opportunities for photos up here, and more skiing to be had for everyone, including myself. The snow was dry, cold and light, what else could be asked for? Magnus shot film of the team flying down the long open slopes, while I kept my camera embedded in the backpack, until me and Hjalmar found a line with three drops in it. From where I was standing it didn’t look that steep, but apparently it was because Hjalmar went totally out of control after hitting a rock on the first take off, and ended up flying out over the last cliff, in backseat mode, at full speed. He landed on his back and the tails of his new Lokomotiv skis which resulted in serious damage to one of the skis.

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Totally delaminated and deformed, it looked like it had been driven over with a 10 ton dumpster truck. Hjalmar decided to head back to the village to mount a new pair of skis up, because this pair had been smashed into “unskiablity”. The rest of us skied under the Cabane lift a few times. Daniel found a spot on the side of the slope where he started shaping a kicker. It was a round hill in the shade, but I photographed it in black and white to get good contrast and the results were really cool. He stuck three backflips, two of them with a Japan grab, before it was time for lunch at the Oldegg restaurant. The Oldegg served a special hot pumpkin soup that tasted phenomenal and heated up my “cold to the bone” feet and hands before it was time to hit the slopes again. We finished off in the forest leading from Oldenegg down to the lift station at Reusch. The snow was sugary but compact and there were lots of oversnowed tree stumps to bounce on. As it was january low season in the alps, the cable car wasn’t running at Reusch and neither was the ski bus. The liftie at Oldenalp had informed me that the postbus between Gstaad and Les Diablerets was the way to get back from the mountain. We caught the bus at 16:40 and ended another great day of skiing with beer and mango at the appartment.

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Caroline /// Anville l’s jacket, Flip l’s pant 8848_katalog_winter_10_1.indd 21

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Caroline/// Avantara l’s softshell jacket, Flip l’s pant

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Daniel /// Sonic jacket, Smith pant

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Aska l’s Primaloft jacket, Ealing l’s pant

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Caroline /// Anville l’s jacket, Flip l’s pant

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Beta jacket, Gun pant

Sonic jacket, Remi pant

Bevel l’s jacket, Flip l’s pant

Survey l’s jacket, Sense l’s pant

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Sara /// Wonder l’s jacket, Spin l’s softshell pant

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White out and galettes sPine chiLLing conDitions It was cold, and I mean really cold. Not the kind of dry, frisky -10 degrees, but a kind of raw, spine chilling cold that went right through the gore-tex and insulation and into your bones. We had gone up to explore the Villars area again. Villars is interconnected to Meillerets by the slowest and longest two man chair I can remember riding, which didn’t make the cold easier. Once we got to the other side of it, we realized that most of the forest covered terrain had been tracked out completely. It was 4 days since the last snow fall so it wasn’t a big surprise. Despite that, myself, Hjalmar and Caroline found some cool looking terrain above the Bretay plateau, peppered with different sized bumps, where we spent the morning skiing and shooting. The snow was still fluffy but after a while the light started fading out behind an approaching cloud curtain in the southern sky. We skied down to Bretay again where the rest of the team joined us for omeletts and gulasch soup at the small, rustique restaurant Hotel sur la Lac. Daniel and Sara had been filming some big terrain off the Chamossaire, which was the highest peak in the area. They were now running out of ideas as the remaining untracked pockets were diminishing quickly. After lunch, Hjalmar and Caroline went with Magnus in search of larger “unspoiled” terrain suitable for filming, while Daniel and Sara tagged along with me. The skiing at Diablerets/Glacier 3000 and the skiing at Meilleret/Villars are each other’s total opposites. While Glacier 3000 boosts huge vertical, massive death cliffs and imposing surroundings, the mountains at Meilleret and Villars are mellower, peaking out at about 2000 meters above see level. Most of the skiing is below tree line, but the terrain offers some fun features and the pistes are well groomed for the most part. We spent the whole afternoon skiing the trees, searching for good spots that hadn’t been chopped up by either local rippers or adventurous tourists. Eventually, the remaining dim light was fading out and we headed back towards Meilleret and Les Diablerets. The cold had really gotten to me today and I wasn’t going to let anything come between me and the hot tub once we were back in the village.

tains of Meilleret after all. Most of the powder had already been tracked, but we found a ridgeline spotted with trees, ending up on a road leading back to Les Mazots, where we skied laps all day long. The snow was still good but the light came and went behind dark clouds. Putting no pressure on ourselves to produce fantastic photos, we still came up with some cool ideas that turned out satisfactory. We rounded off the skiing day with some red wine and blocks of the local Diablerets alps cheese with fig marmelade. Life was good! Today, our last day at Les Diablerets, the weather played us the grey card. Clouds rising fast from the valley floor accounted for zero visibility by noon. We skied from one mountain restaurant to the other and finally gave in to the urge to just go down to the village, have a late lunch and call it a day. The La Grange restaurant, close to our appartment, served numerous different types of “Galettes”, whole grain crépes that made for a perfect meal. Daniel, Sara, Hjalmar and Carro decided to go up with the lift again after eating, while myself and the film team went to our rooms to get some editing work done. It had been a great trip, even though the sun had only been with us for one whole day out of six. A dense fog was now enveloping the whole village and the surrounding mountains. The forecast was calling for more snow...

Last WorDs Absolutely don’t ski off-piste on the Glacier 3000 without a guide. One turn in the wrong direction and you could fall off a 300 meter cliff. Even in the forest leading down to Reusch there’s a cliff band on the left hand side that is unsurvivable if you happened to go off it. Try the local red wines and the Les Diablerets cheese. A combination that will leave you craving more. Don’t forget the fig marmelade.

reD Wine anD Les DiabLerets cheese Nothing beats being in the alps with good friends. It doesn’t matter if the conditions aren’t perfect, because they definitely can’t be perfect all the time. For me it’s all about hanging out with motivated, talented people who love skiing as much as I do. The skiing today was far from perfect, but it turned out to be a great day out in the moun-

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The full ski pass covers Meilleret, Isenau and Glacier 3000, as well as the areas of Villars and Leysin. Check it all out if you are visiting for a week, there’s lots of exciting possibilities. The MTB is a small bar with a relaxed atmosphere where the locals hang out. Live music is offered a few nights a week, and there is wireless internet if you prefer doing your work with a beer next to your laptop.

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