The Taylormadefilmz Crew had been active again and produced a great Video including a philosophical character. Enjoy!
Its early December. The days are short and bitterly cold. The sun merely pokes his head up over the towering ridge lines of Saas-Fee to say a brief hello before retiring from his days work.
Meanwhile I’m at home on the sofa butchering the same four fickle chords on my ukulele over and over and gazing at the mountain thinking “its actually not so bad, winter hasn’t really arrived yet.
It could be worse, no friends are banging on about how epic the snow is, only the skiers ranting on about how grippy the icy pistes are. No thank you".
After sustaining a medial ligament tear in October, my knee rehabilitation mostly involved riding my push bike through the golden larch forests with the occasional eagle over soaring over head. What more motivation did i need to get out and get fit? Absolutely none. Although it did seem as if Europe had traded low tides with the Americas this winter. Now I understand how the average American powder enthusiast felt on previous years gone by.
It was February before it snowed heavily. It puked overnight only to blow away the next day due to ferocious northerly winds. Typical early winter on the main alpine ridge that forms the backbone of the Western Alps. Come March the snow gods decided enough was enough. A hefty snowfall finally arrived just as all the tourists were leaving. One metre of champagne powder from the south with no wind followed by an exact repeat the following week. Thank you kindly snow gods.
Time to strap on our boards and shred.
As the spring snow settled, things got very warm very fast, not too mention tracked out in a heartbeat. After picking all the low-lying fruits from the Saas-Fee powder tree, we donned the skins and ventured up to the high glacial zones in search of colder, fresher powder.
Our crew were motivated, my knee was feeling strong and together alongside the film crew (Puzzle media) and legendary snowboard photographer Silvano Zeiter, we bagged some really aesthetic lines. Teaming up with the cat himself, Fredi Kalbermatten was particularly motivated. His recently found passion for split boarding was inspiring and with his knowledge and vision we could really explore new zones as we tip toed around some impressive glacial features. A big shout out to the boys who came on our adventures, particularly Gray, Kawika and Falk. We scored some special blower Swiss pow.
Upon reflection, sure the snow came late but always better late than never. Considering this was Europe’s warmest winter in a long time, it made me realise that you just have to be willing to climb higher and search for those untracked zones. The effort is always the reward.
The lack of snow in Western Europe led to many apre-ski discussions around the impact of climate change. There is definitely a change occurring in the world’s weather and temperature patterns, the effects of which cannot go un-noticed when living or spending significant time in the Alps. Unfortunately, it’s clear that as humans we are accelerating this cycle.
Climate change is no hoax. The snow-sports industry will be the first to completely dissolve if these worrying warm trends continue. Summer ski resorts are already closing their doors, its beyond sustainable they say. Extreme weather is becoming more frequent and much more severe as each year passes. The polar ice caps are melting at an alarming rate, flooding is wiping out entire towns, forest fires are spiralling out of control. Hurricanes are more destructive than ever before, Earthquakes are more frequent, the list goes on. Our eco system and balance with nature is failing us on many levels. All these events are happening daily around the world but yet we still deny climate change... Have we passed the point of no return? Has mother earths heart finally skipped a beat and beginning to murmur? Whatever happens, we cannot fight nature because nature will always win.
We have to support green and clean energy if we want future generations to enjoy snow sports too. It’s a movement that’s happening right now, we have to support it, stand together and encourage others to adopt this 'nature first' mind set. Lets all work together for once.
After all, there is no Planet B.
Photos: Fredi Kalbermatten & Vernon Deck
Thanks Richy for the unstoppable passion!
ps: Here's some more information about the year of the rooster 2017:
People born in the year of the rooster are thoughtful and very capable people. They tend to take on too many tasks at the same time and are therefore often stressed and disappointed when they fail in a task. They are often eccentric and have difficulties to get along with other people because they often show too much aggressiveness. They are often loners and although often enjoy the reputation of adventurers, they are rather anxious. They are best suited to people born in the year of the ox, snake or dragon. The year of the rooster 1921,1933,1945,1957,1969,1981,1993,2005,2017