The morning started at the bottom of the face at 9 am with two hours of inspection before start at 11am (or so we thought). On the way up the ridge we were witness to some strange sounds from the rescue heli as it disappeared behind some cliffs. Some of the guys at the bottom saw the whole thing as a mechanical error made the tail of the heli twist in mid-air. Luckily the bird was not too high, 45 feet give or take, but they must have golden hairs in their asses! (as we would say in Norway). Three stitches in a finger and nose blood on some suede shoes was the worst of the injuries when it came to the three guys strapped inside as the rest of the heli crashed upside down. After an hour or more of waiting, one and shortly after a second, heli arrived and the first riders where dropping in. The snow was rock solid for most of the categories as the sun slowly made it's way though some thin clouds and around enough to hit the whole face so it was soft when the alpine gent's finally started. A fun huckfest started, with all kinds of skiing from crazy to solid in bluebird and slush.
(Erik Naess 360)
The waitng on the top was a killer, but when the run ended all I wanted to do was walk up again. Espen Sollien would have been THE MAN of the day if his ski din't fall of at the very end.
This is his run
And Cato's übermassive backflip, has got to be the biggest one in Norway since Seth's.
The rest of the day was a blast with a mandatory kick ass party to end it all.
Cheers from Norway,
Knee injuries are probably the most common injury within the ski industry. Many skiers are going through this tricky process every year. I was doubting myself about writing this article or not but I believe that the knowledge that I gained from my past injuries could be beneficial to some people.
Around mid-February, I reinjured my right knee and I had to go through the same process. You see the doctor and he will do his best to tell you what’s going on but can’t be completely sure since knees are really hard to diagnose. After, you’ll probably see a specialist who’s going to give you more details but once again, not sure enough, you’ll probably have to get an MRI. This is when you don’t want to loose time because getting an MRI can take a few weeks or even a few months, which mean you could be misdiagnosed for a few months and waste precious time. (You can always go private if you can pay for the MRI, which isn’t cheap) Two weeks ago, I received a call from the receptionist of my specialist saying that I couldn’t see her since I didn’t get my MRI yet. I explained the receptionist that it was crucial for me to see my specialist but unfortunately it was not possible without the result of an MRI because it was almost impossible to give me more details about my injury. Then, I remember what my good friend Mathieu Forcier told me the first time I got injured but never tried It because I was skeptical about it. I basically called the MRI department at the hospital and left them a message to let them know that I could take any cancellation for an MRI and be there on short notice. (You need to be on the waiting list to do this, since you need a referral from a specialist) Two hours after, I received a phone call and had my MRI done three days later.
Getting diagnose is just one part of the process, one of the hardest part is to stay mentally strong. This time I would say that I was mentally prepared for it. The best advice I can give to most people is to keep themselves challenged and busy. Work on projects that you were pushing aside for different reason or start learning something different. This is what I did, I’ve been working on a personal project and I’ve been doing some online courses through University. I believe that if you can keep you head busy, do a good rehabilitation with the help of a physiotherapist, and eat healthy; the whole process will be much easier. These objectives will help you to stay motivated, positive, active, mentally strong, and most importantly happy.
There is one more thing that I want to discuss about, which is finance. Monetarily, getting injured can be really stressful and have a positive or negative impact on your mental health. In a perfect world, everyone would have a few thousand dollars aside in case of an emergency but it’s not always the case. Having an insurance for things such as fractures or if you get hospitalize can be really beneficial. When I injured my knee, I also fractured my ankle but luckily was insured for fractures and it helped me to cover lots of expenses. Also, if you can apply for employment insurance, you should probably do it as soon as possible since you have to go through a two weeks waiting period without any income.
I believe that this information would have been beneficial to me when I first got injured and hope that it will be to some people. If you know someone who’s going through this process, share this article. What I’ve talked about definitely applies to Canada but it might be different in other countries since the health system and insurances will most likely be different. The results of my MRI came in yesterday and were really surprising to me. My specialist informed me that I partially torn my ACL (almost completely) and meniscus. Since, I previously had surgery, the results were not really clear but she advised me to keep up with my good rehabilitation to keep my legs really strong and if it becomes an issue, I’ll probably need surgery. Unfortunately, this surgery would be more serious than the last one, I would require two surgeries, bone grafting (from hip) to my knee and another ACL surgery. I am not too sure what’s going to happen for me but until then, I’m focusing on different stuff and staying mentally strong. I also want to say thank you to everyone from, 4FRNT, Kombi, Orage, Whistler Surefoot for their incredible support and I also want to thank all my friends who have been around to keep me on track.
Here's one of my favorite edit from last year ...
Last weekend I flew to Andorra for Total Fight, a comp I’ve done in the springtime for a couple of years. On Friday I qualified second with a fairly easy run. Then on Saturday during the training for the finals it seemed like the weather was turning less predictable with snow and wind gusts making it pretty hard to find the right speed. I managed to get my run twice and went for it again when the stupidest possible mistake took place.
Apparently (this is half based on my memory and half on people who saw it) I was approaching a jump switch as tucked in as possible (because of wind), when my left ski slipped over the side of the jump. I lost control, slammed myself head first into the bump, got a concussion, two broken collarbones and a permission to stop worry about skiing this season.
So that was it. I had a good season and didn’t even miss too much because of this injury. It is actually very surprising how many completely healthy and good ski days I had, so there really isn’t too much to complain.
A picture I took of myself in the hospital.
We have been striking out left and right recently. The storms diverged/don’t even develop, the sun comes out and it is 60 degrees, or ,and this is my favorite, it dumps 2ft right after we leave. But hey, that is life and thats why we love skiing, it ain’t easy but when you get it good, you appreciate it all the more.
Well we finally hit it good, down in Moab of all places. We took bikes, a sled, skis, skins and camping gear to the desert. Some of you may remember a post several years ago about the ‘Helen Keller couloir’, I had touted it as one of the most committing and scary things I have ever done. Well this past trip it managed to be even spicier…and scarier. This time I hiked up a different route, so I had no idea what the snow or the width of the couloir was like. I also (stupidly) skied it all by myself, meaning there was no one within an hour of getting to me should anything go wrong, think soloing a big rock climb.
Once at the top I was exhausted and was staring down a REALLY narrow slot. The first turns in are the most committing and were solid wind buff. My skis chattered around like crazy and it was difficult to set an edge, however it all went smooth and then I was into the gut of the beast. The first time I skied it the crux was about 180cm wide, exactly as wide as my skis. This time, due to a low snow year, the crux was about 90cm wide. There was no way my Hoji 187cm were going to fit. This is also not the kind of line you can just point, because there is no slowing down and there is no falling.
After taking off my skis in what seemed like the steepest part of the couloir, down-climbing and then putting my skis back on I was ready to make some more turns. Usually putting my skis on is the scariest part of any climb/ski, I feel MUCH more comfortable with them on. But having to do so in the middle of this line oddly did not phase me at the time, I think I was so hypersensitive to not screw up that it all went smoothly.
With my skis back on I made some more tight turns and slowly made my way down. I have never sat down in the middle of a line, usually they are over pretty quickly, but this one took more out of me than I could have imagined. After skiing the couloir in its entirety, I peaked around the corner right above the apron and had to give my legs a break. I was breathing so hard I couldn’t even get on the radio. Even on the apron, the snow was extremely variable and took just as much concentration to ski as did the couloir.
So now that you have a little bit more ‘behind the scenes’ info, watch as it all got captured on film.
At the end of february, I dislocated my shoulder at the Aspen Open. I already had an operation two years ago for this problem, so it was a really bad news for me. I was supposed to go back in Europe, competing and filming there, Instead I came back to quebec consulting my orthopedist and my physiotherapist. I filmed a bit of Urban with B-Paul, Frank G-P and Vincent Ruel-Côté when I was feeling more comfortable with my shoulder.
Quebec city streets, Screenshot by Vince R-C
I also decided to go to the Dumont Cup last Week-end since Sunday river is not to fare from Quebec. I was pretty stoked to made it to the finals even tough I didn't really ski for the last 5 weeks.
Dumont Cup with Willie Borm, Photo by Emile Bergeron
I'll probably get operated as soon as the winter is over, I'll see… Until there, I can't wait for the spring skiing.
Here is a photo my friend Valtteri Seppanen took of me at my home resort Laajavuori. We hit the jump side by side and Valtteri snapped the shot in midair. There is nothing extraordinary about filming or taking photos in the air. Especially nowadays, in the era of shockproof helmet cameras it’s not even risky for your gear, but I have always liked shots like this because sometimes they manage to captivate something essential about that strange feeling of flying. Mainly due to the size of the jump, this particular shot is not among the best air shots ever, but it’s the first one anyone has taken of me. So thank you Valtteri.
This photo made me think of further possibilities of air photography. I have seen plenty of air photos taken in the safety of park, but has anybody ever followed another person with a camera while hitting a street gap or a backcountry jump?
Greetings from the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland. We've been here with the Nipwitz crew for a week now, and as usual exceptional things have taken place. It's great to be back on a trip with these guys. Too bad everything we do here is so extremely classified that there are hardly any shots available for release. Luckily I managed to sneak in this one.
Sean Logan had an idea to film an entire edit from the chair lift. There is no better place to get this done than Main Park at Mammoth Mountain. When Orage originally unveiled that the Orage Masters was coming back, our crew knew we wanted to try and be a part of it. With the help of the Unbound Park staff and cooperation with Lift Ops, Sean took to the lift for what turned out to be 3 hours of filming on a stereotypical sunny California day. The latest Montage crew edit.... Lifted.
Last week I went to Vuokatti for a two day photoshoot trip with my friends Riku and Viltsu. We are making an article for Skimbaaja magazine about the new 22-feet pipe Vuokatti has this year. Finland's first 22-feet pipe was built in Ruka last year, but the slope being pretty flat it doesn't provide the speed you'd want for really big airs. The Vuokatti pipe however was one of the steepest I've ever hit. I hadn't skied pipe since last autumn so it took a while to get the feeling back but eventually it all turned out very well.
The good old cork five double nose that the photographer Ville-Petteri Maatta was kind enough to sacrifice for this blog. Thank's Viltsu.
This one's called paholaisrausku, in english stingray. Photo also by Ville-Petteri Maatta. Go check out his website: http://www.ville-petteri.com/