As part of our Xavier De Le Rue DIY Series – where Xavier and Beanie access their descents only by their own means and film each other with GoPro cameras, drones and auto-drones – we thought it would be interesting to provide a thorough behind-the-scenes look and also give you the opportunity to use the latest technologies the pros apply for yourself.
In this first DIY – Behind the Scenes Tech episode we find out how new 3D-mapping technologies with a resolution up to 6x and 30x higher than other traditional online maps, allow Xavier De Le Rue to explore the mountains in more detail than ever before.
Tools like the gradient overlay allow Xavier to better judge the terrain and scope out new first descents that have never been skied before. By looking at the exact gradient, he can determine whether a route requires rappels or if he will be able to ride a line top to bottom in the right conditions.
Combined with the aspect overlay and altitude visualisation, Xavier gains important information and improves his knowledge of an area before setting foot on snow. Having a clear idea of his route and the necessary detailed terrain mapping is important to take informed decisions once on snow.
For those of you looking for terrain a little less challenging than Xavier, these mapping technologies can also help to find the best rideable line, for example, in pow in Japan, where you need to have a certain degree of steepness to keep the speed required to advance in deep snow. Or to gauge valley bottom run-outs on longer off-piste tours – snowboarders especially don't want to get stuck in the flats...
3D mapping technologies like FATMAP provide a fascinating look at the mountains and endless opportunities – from ski routes in the resort to bike trails in summer, all the way to trail running and climbing routes – and why not even close-up views for wildwater or coastal kayaking?