Red Bulletin

Where the Wild is: Svindal’s Supervention diary

Portrait of Alpine skier Aksel Lund Svindal.
© Frode Sandbech/Red Bull Content Pool

Aksel Lund Svindal's epic Norway filming expedition described in his own words to The Red Bulletin.

Svindal is one of the greatest alpine skiers of modern times, winning medals, World Championships and World Cups.

Once a year he goes way off-piste, teaming up with a group of adventurous film-makers to go where no skier has gone before. This is his diary of his most recent trip, to Norway, for the film Supervention, a snowboard and ski action documentary two years in the making.

Day One: The Journey
It’s early spring in Oslo, where we get on the plane. Oslo is almost on the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska, and it hits me, on the two-hour plane ride up over Norway to Tromsø, that this is pretty far north. This is my sixth trip in six years with the moviemakers Field Productions.

One of the guys who lives in the village is so happy to see us again that he greets us with a lovely homemade dinner

When we arrive at Tromsø airport, which is at sea level, the temperature is below zero, there’s snow on the roads and the snow banks are 2m high. From here, the two-hour trip to our final destination is as scenic as it gets, and that includes the ferry from Breivikeidet to Svensby. We stop when the road ends, in the sleepy old fishing village of Koppangen, in the Lyngen Alps.

Reaching our destination, it seems like we made a pretty good impression during our short visit here last year, as one of the guys who lives in the village is so happy to see us again that he greets us with a lovely homemade dinner: cod that has gone straight from the sea to the pan, fried to perfection with bacon and onions, mashed potatoes and boiled carrots. His wife has made us her speciality cake.

After dinner, we get all the equipment out. Because this is gear I am not so used to, some of it brand new, I need to go through it to be sure everything fits and works perfectly. Being the least experienced of our party in terms of filmmaking, I’m not in the slightest bit embarrassed to ask the other guys about anything that could be helpful or useful to me.

From my point of view, the wintry conditions are cool… we have the possibility to combine the good fresh snow in this amazing place

Our guide, Tor Olav, explains the conditions, the terrain, what precautions we should take and what to be aware of, and we discuss the possible lines we can ski and the goals for tomorrow. The plan is to start checking out the snow on shorter lines, where there is a safe and easy exit, before we start working on the bigger and more exposed stuff.

All in all, the first day has been about the impact of the surroundings, the warm welcome and the excellent organisation. We are thoroughly briefed so that we all know what we’re doing tomorrow.

From my point of view, the wintry conditions are cool. It will be a new experience, compared to my previous years of freeskiing, when the snow was old and heavy. Now we have the possibility to combine the good fresh snow in this amazing place.

Read what happened on days two and three when Aksel got into the mountains to begin filming by reading the full feature in the December 2013 edition of The Red Bulletin, the global monthly magazine. For access to the international issue, download the free app for iOS or Android now.

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