Europe has always seemed like a pipe dream, something so far away and way too expensive to ever seem possible. It was with great surprise and excitement that I found out that a project I had worked on with Crest Pictures and Friends, Freerider was chosen to be a part of the FreeRide Film Festival. With word of this I had tickets to go to Saint Lary, France to attend and another two weeks to check out the Alps.
The plane landed in Paris, France as the morning sun crested over the horizon for the next 48 hours I would take a whirlwind tour seeing touristy areas like the Luv, Effiel Tower and the Notre Dame before heading to the South of France. Once in the small country town of Saint Lary which is nestled in the Pyranees mountains I tried new foods, saw different films and celebrated a culture I have been fortunate to be a part of. It was a honor to have our film along side big budget films like All.I.Can, This is my Winter and Art of Flight.
With a train ticket in hand I decided to head east to Chamonix just as a front was approaching, that night I watched an almost full moon illuminate over towns before I made it to my resting point the Geneva Airport where I would take a bus to Cham the next day. Once I made it to Chamonix it was nuking snow and the drought they had been experiencing was officially over. I stayed with a Cham legend named Gary Bigham who was filled with stories of the valley and introducing people like Glen Plake to the mountains he called home. By my second day there the weather had warmed up and it started raining at the resort. There was a moment that I loaded a 75 person tram with 4 other people and decided I needed to head further east for colder weather and to meet up with a old friend.
I was able to hitch a ride with Caroline George, another First Ascent athlete over a pass and into Switzerland where I boarded a train and made my way to Bad Ragaz. While in Switzerland I checked out Davos and partied with my friend Guy Newman having a blast in one of the most expensive places in the world. The forecasts were looking optimistic so we decided to head further East to meet up with Lea and Lorenzo in Innsbruck, Austria and ski Saint Anton Am Alburg.
Our first day at Saint Anton was amazing with over 50cms of new snow and no competition for fresh tracks as we rode bell to bell, while I couldn’t see the terrain it was powder. That night we said goodbye to Guy and Lea and Lorenzo showed me around the streets on Innsbruck before getting some rest in preparation for another long day at the resort.
The next day we watched the sunrise and Lorenzo and I said goodbye to Lea and heading West on the Auto bond to Saint Anton. The conditions were great and before we knew it the clouds had lifted. I was stoked we had bluebird and powder conditions. It was one of the best resort days of my life and I owe a huge thanks to Lorenzo for showing me around before saying goodbye and hoping on a train to the Geneva Airport.
The storm had hit hard and the Airport was filled with travelers carrying snowboard and ski bags and here I was leaving for Oslo, Norway.
My last day of travel was a whirlwind day in Oslo with friend and local Arild where I tried local food, hiked the trails and checked out the bustling city.
The trip was only 3 weeks long but I was able to experience so much and I owe many thanks.
Kathy and Robert Christensen, All my peeps at Eddie Bauer, Bruno Delay, Guy Newman, Lorenzo, Lea Hart, Gary Bigham, Blitz, Arild and everyone else who made this a possibility.
This last season was life changing in many ways, from the loss of my father to the sponsorship from Eddie Bauer. This years project (The Ten Highest Peaks in Washington) was also by far the most challenging expeditions that I had taken in the Cascades. Since the new year I have been working with Crest Pictures to film a documentary about these highs and lows with helmet cams, Portable video cameras and not so portable video cameras.
There are so many people who have been involved in this project that I don’t even know where to begin thanking people.
FreeRider – Trailer from Crest Pictures on Vimeo.
“The temperature was below zero, the winds were light and the snow was shin deep with nothing firm lurking underneath. I had dreamed of this day for years. We were alone without any wind and below us was going to be some of the best turns of our life. The snow stayed consistently soft for the entirety of the run, riding 4600 feet to the White River crossing before stopping. In total we hiked over ten miles, 5400 feet and 13 hours for a single run.” ~ Kyle Miller
Crest Pictures is pleased to announce the release of the trailer for their latest production, FreeRider, a short film about splitboard mountaineer Kyle Miller. FreeRider is a documentary chronicling Miller’s passion for his sport, his great love of the wilderness and mountain scenery, his ski bum lifestyle, his triumphs and disappointments, his pain and his joys, and his unyielding dedication towards fulfilling his riding dreams.
A Crest Pictures Film (crestpictures.com)
Produced and directed by Robert and Kathy Chrestensen
Filmed and edited by Robert Chrestensen
Music by permission from these Pacific NW groups:
“Moonlight” by Elk and Boar (Tacoma, WA)
“Excuse This Honesty” by Again and Again (Seattle, WA)
Backcountry footage by Jason Hummel (Tacoma, WA), Jacob Hase (Seattle, WA) and Kyle Miller (Kent, WA)
Rider and Filming
Things have been hectic over the past few months with nonstop climbing here in the Cascades followed by heading down to South America. I was very fortunate to be involved in the filming of a Backcountry ski/snowboard film called Solitare where I got to film in both Bolivia and Argentina and also made it to Peru and Bolivia along the way. All of it was a eye opening experience about different cultures and there persuit of happiness but thats another topic for another day.
The film will be premiering this upcoming Thursday in Denver and will make its rounds to my homeland of Washington in late October. Here is the trailer. I make a appearance @ 2:54
SOLITAIRE: A Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding, and Telemark Film from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.
On January 22 John Cocci and I made our way up to the Revelstoke area to take place in a splitboard festival up at Rogers Pass. This was my second time in the area and I was stoked to head back to such a cool area. The snow up on the pass was insanely deep but the avalanche danger was the worst they had seen in 30 years. Everyone was talking about a slabs going off 1 kilometer wide and 10 feet deep two days earlier.
For two days we rode 3000 foot trees runs with the Canuck Splitfest organizer Wade otherwise known as Treepilot on splitboard.com. It was a great time had by all with the highlight being John winning a brand new Prior splitboard.
In total the festival raised over 2000 dollars for the Canadian Avalanche Association thanks to Wade and all the contributing sponsors including Prior, Voile, and Lib Tech all giving away boards.
See everyone next year!
Here is a quick video of me testing out my new threats from First Ascent!
The tribes will be gathering in the backcountry mecca of North America, Rogers Pass British Columbia. It is going to be a amazing event and will have splitboarders from all over the world, including myself. Check it out and I promise you wont be disappointed.
La nina could be the good little girl she was in 99/98 this season, according to a recent determination by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Their Climate Prediction center is currently issuing a diagnostic conclusion which states the following:
La Niña conditions are expected to strengthen and last through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2010-11.
Does that make me happy? In the words of Sarah Palin, “You Betcha!”
Popular belief is that typical La Nina years are characterized by heavier snowfall and wetter winters for the Pacific Northwest, Northern United States, and Canadian Rockies, with a dryer winter for the midwest and southwest. As the selfish type who plans to hang out up in the Pacific Northwest for the upcoming winter, I couldn’t be more excited. In fact, it’s already snowing (well, above 9,000 feet, at least) in Banff! I say, Bring it On!!!!
On March 12, Dani Deruyter became the first woman to snowboard down the Grand Tieton. A huge accomplishment for any ski or snowboard mountaineer and a long time coming for the women splitbaorders of the world…a HUDGE congrats to Dani.
Read her trip report here (comes with great pictures) and while you’re at it, take a look at the rest of her blog, “Live Free, Be Free” where she reflects on life with humility and a nod to Buddhism.
…at least for a couple of words!! ESPN’s snowboarding site covered the Splitfest at Mt. Baker, a super-fun event filled with stoke, freakishly bluebird Baker-area skies, and general revelry.
Kyle’s inaugural splitboard class was a HUDGE success thanks to the event coordinator, Terry, and super-stoked participants. We are excited to see more splitters learning the art of safe, sane, stoked, and efficient BC travel! And more and more, we feel that posthollers PACNW-wide are discovering that Splitboarding is the answer!
Chief among conversation topics were the new prototype Jones boards that were unveiled at the event, the need for more splitboarding education in general, and, of course… the need for more dirtbag-budget avy courses. It’s an exciting time in the world of splitboarding to be sure.
For further information on the (hopefully soon to be annual) event, be sure to check out the event’s website. Split summits/events in other areas include Wyoming’s “Scrubfest” and a less-publicized Reno-area festival that tends to happen yearly.
I am proud to announce that we will be working with Spark R & D for this upcoming season. Spark R&D is a company whose bindings constitute a revolutionary step in the progression of splitboard equipment. The company was conceived and is now owned and operated by Will Ritter, the visionary spitboarder based in Bozeman, Montana.
Their latest installment, The Fuse, is the next step in the evolution of Splitboarding. Thanks, Will, for your support, and for Spark R&D’s consistently innovative focus!
Added today to Skiing the Backcountry‘s “You Gotta See This” section– Jason Hummel’s photos from our trip to Mt. Olympus.
The pictures in question are best seen on Jason Hummel’s site, www.alpinestateofmind.com, a photography portal dedicated to the alpine experience, including stunning photography of backcountry human-powered snowtravel.
In a related development, Komo News’s weather blog features similar photos from the trip in their spectacular weather photography blog entry. Mad props to Mr. Hummel.