Freeskiers move so quickly that it's sometimes hard to see what it is they're doing with their feet as they twist through the air, but a brand new project aims to highlight this fancy footwork of theirs.
Swiss freeskier (and Red Bull athlete) Elias Ambühl has teamed up with some top sports snappers to display the tricks and the movement used in freestyle skiing from a fresh perspective.
It sounds simple, really. By highlighting the tips of Elias' skis with tiny, multi-coloured LED diodes, the photographers were able to capture the young Swiss skier's light-flight through the air. And the results are magnificent. „I was a little surprised when I heard that this was about free skiing”, photographer Thomas Stöckli admits. “But as soon as I found out I was going to work with Elias Ambühl, I was totally amazed – he’s such an incredible athlete, he really stands out.”
Stöckli, known for his off-the-wall shots, faced quite a few obstacles during that night up there on 2000 meters: „It’s always quite a challenge to take pictures when the temperature is below zero. Also, the timing has to be nothing short of perfect due to the time exposure and the flash lights. But I am really happy with what we’ve got – the pictures will go into my portfolio right away. I won’t decide whether I’ll call this art or sports photography – I’ll leave it up to the beholder.“
The combination of a camera using a long exposure and LED-armed skis strapped to one of the best freeskiers in the world created a series of clear, flowing lines, highlighting Elias' exact movements. It's just the job for showing off the dynamic movements required to be one of the best in the game.
Twenty-year-old Elias was an obvious choice for the project. The tricksy youngster, who first took to the slopes as a three-year-old, has an impressive list of titles under his belt already and is feared by his fellow Big Air rivals.
It was when Elias switched to freeksing that he really set the world alight. He was the first freeskier to win an event with a triple cork (April 2011 at the Jon Olsson Invitational in Sweden) and is one of the only freestylers who can spin doubles in all four directions.
With so many tricks under his sleeves, Elias was the ideal candidate to trip the light fantastic.