Is it possible to freeride sustainably? These eight films show how it might be done

March 4, 2020

For some people, films about skiing and snowboarding are a thing of beauty. But most of these films have a catch: They take a huge amount of effort to shoot, and they leave behind a correspondingly large carbon footprint. The following eight films show how sustainable freeriding is possible – and where the limits are.

Food Trails (2019) (5:00)

The first film by POW Switzerland! In the spring of 2019, four POW ambassadors spend a weekend at the Maighels Hut near the Oberalp Pass. The goal is to enjoy the snow and nature while at the same time having the lowest possible impact on them. The objective: to cook organic, vegetarian meals for an entire weekend using ingredients from local producers. And to have the guests take part: they carry the ingredients for dinner up to the hut themselves. An experiment in the Swiss mountains.

Endless Winter 3 (2019) (20:23)

The Norwegian freeskier and filmmaker  Nikolai Schirmer  heads with his colleagues  Krister Furnes Kopala Eirik Verlo  and  Joonas Mattila  to the northern Norwegian ski paradise of Lyngen for a climate-friendly adventure.

A Chasa (2019) (5:22)

In this short film, the Swiss POW ambassador and professional snowboarder  Elena Koenz  shows how she enjoys the powder outside her doorstep in Unterengadin without using a lift or boarding a plane.  

Shelter (2019) (40:00)

For many years, Swiss snowboarder and POW ambassador  Mat Schaer  has rigorously stayed clear of airports. He also avoids ski areas and snowmobiles, uses only public transportation, and makes all ascents under his own power. In this film, Schaer and his friends – including snowboard legend and POW founder Jeremy Jones – take a special trip through the Alps. The group heads for the most remote huts on our local mountains in order to set out each morning for new freeriding adventures. The film documents not only one legendary descent after another but also the dramatic effects of climate change.

Close to Home (2019) (8:05)

Nicholas Wolken  is a Swiss POW and Patagonia ambassador and works to achieve greater sustainability in mountain sports. Nicholas spent the last two winters enjoying the delights outside his front door: the Grisons mountains. In this film, he heads with  Forrest Shearer  to a hut in the Fideriser Heuberge with the motto: with snowboarding, less is more. 

Guilt Trip: A Climate Change Film with a Skiing Problem (2016) (36:42)

The glaciologist Alun Hubbard travels to Greenland with a group of professional freeriders and mountain guides. Their destination: Mt. Forel, the second highest peak on the ice-covered island. The only thing that’s greater than the desire of the group for a first ski descent from Mt. Forel is the footprint that they leave behind in order to get there. Alun Hubbard, who conducts scientific experiments on the trip, is not only the troop’s good conscience but also their moral support when, due to much-too-warm weather – and ultimately to climate change – the expedition threatens to come apart...  

The Curve Of Time (2018) (23:16)

As the sport of freeskiing develops, so too do the athletes and products. At a time when our eyes are being opened to climate change in ever starker terms,  Chris Rubens  and  Greg Hill  consider how they can quench their thirst for adventure while simultaneously being protectors of the environment.

Ice & Palms (2018) (32:00)

The documentary film follows the German freeskiers  Jochen Mesle  and  Max Kroneck  on their most challenging tour so far: From southern Germany, over the Alps to the Mediterranean – without motor power, using only skis and bikes. Six weeks, 1,800 kilometres, and 35,000 metres of altitude later, they arrive in Nice. Their trip not only took the pair through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and France and to the most beautiful peaks in the Alps; it also took them to the edge of their physical and psychological limits. 

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