Richard Permin has been riding and shooting in Alaska for eight winters. He’s now among the few big mountain skiers able to master the spines and slough of the Alaskan faces. The French skier has been filming with MSP and garnered solid experience of this special terrain, the place he calls "the dream place for big mountain skiers, without a doubt."
As part of our Alaska-themed series of articles we wanted to get some more insights from Richard about filming in AK.
How could you summarise your ski experience in Alaska?
Radical, fast and efficient. It’s as steep as the Alps except that the humid pacific snow sticks to the faces and is much more stable, allowing us to ride in places we would never dream of going if they were in Europe. They would be too dangerous.
One of the specifics of Alaskan skiing is the slough, this surface avalanche of light fluffy snow. How do you deal with it?
You learn to draw your line in a diagonal so you never cross the slough triggered by your previous turns. I happened to catch the slough once and it’s like water accelerating: it grabs and drags your feet and you can’t see anything.
Why do you like Alaska so much?
It’s a terrain where I can go big… in relative safety (Editor's note: see the last action of his Superheroes of Stoke segment!). For example, I once got caught in an avalanche and 15 minutes later I was in hospital. When I ski in Alaska, filming for MSP, I’m surrounded by guides who keep an eye on me and the heli is ready for action. I feel kind of safe in Alaskan powder… except during my two or three first years as a scared rookie!
What’s your favourite place in Alaska?
It’s definitely Tordrillo. I’m in awe when I fly over the endless peaks and glaciers. It’s north of Anchorage and we are all alone. This is where they shot the first segment of Travis Rice’s "Art of Flight". It’s visually stunning. Every time I arrive there and realize we have the whole mountain for ourselves, it’s an unbelievable feeling.
Alaska is not an easy place: it’s expensive and the weather patterns are random.
Absolutely. Once, I waited for almost a month to get four days of filming. You’d better be ready and in shape when the blue sky comes out! So we play cards and chess in the lodge. The place is only accessible by plane, so forget the night life! We also do a lot of physical exercices to stay fit. Another time, the weather was perfect when we arrived. We shot for five solid days and left. You never know, that’s the beauty of Alaska! If I’d to pick only one destination a year, I’d definitely chose Alaska.
Watch Richard Permin's Segment of Superheroes of Stoke below!
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