Golden Eye and Baggy Pants

The Swiss winter athletes are on a roll! At the fifth Red Bull Hike&Ride, the Swiss-French team – comprised of Jean-Ives Michellod and Loris Falquet – brought the victory home for the first time ever.

Seven films in three days, fourteen snowboarders and freeskiers from all over the world — and a Swiss victory! Zurich’s Kaufleuten was sold out for the fifth edition of the Red Bull Hike&Ride, which voted the Swiss team – Jean-Ives Michellod and Loris Falquet – as this year’s winner, making it the first time ever for the host country. But they were up against tough competition from all over the world: Canada, Austria, Germany, France and, last but not least, the Brits, who joined the competition stark in form to try and pocket the coveted trophy for creativity and riding skills. The latter felt right at home, for the motto on the evening of the premiere was none other than James Bond. With style and class on behalf of their Majesty the Queen, they toiled for 72 hours, developing the film concept and storyboard, scoping out and finding the perfect location, as well as filming, editing and the screening at the premiere — all within three days. “It’s not an easy mission!” confirmed organiser Nicolas Hale-Woods at the rider briefing. “The snow conditions are safe but certainly not fabulous.” To that effect, the area staked out for the eight teams of two to shoot their films was indeed larger than ever.

Dog, cow and sheep

“You can always find snow somewhere in Switzerland,” claimed Michellod and his team partner optimistically, despite the spring temperatures in Zurich. Sure enough, the two delivered solid proof for their bold claim three days later. The deep-snow action, pillow line and cliff drop left the spectators at Kaufleuten gaping. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A brief glimpse of the storyboards was all that was necessary to realise that there was a ‘beastly’ quality about it all: with Mä (Markus Keller) and Mu (Stefan Maurer) on a farm, Adam Gendle and Johno Verity looking for a dog and an extremely high level of adrenalin among all the riders. “We know about les Diablerets because of our summer training there,” commented the Fiat team Thomas Hlawitschka and Tobi Reindl. The guide during these days was worth his weight in gold. This was also confirmed by the Canadians Eric Crosland and Chris Rubens, who jokingly added, “We are no doubt the only Canadians in Europe at the moment. Back home we’ve got ten meters of snow!” But for once the contest was not only about the best line, the most spectacular trick or the best finishing time, but rather creativity and film talent. “Already before the event, we had to think about what we would need and try and imagine everything in advance. It wouldn’t be possible to shoot any scene a second time. That was the most difficult thing about it all,” remarked Sully Monod and Brynild Vulin on Sunday morning at breakfast. The two had hardly slept at all; each of them just once for about two hours. “We will do the editing ourselves, with Jörg assisting us as the film editor. A perspective from the outside helps a lot!”

The golden eye

The winning team had also brought their own editor with them. As it turned out, Loris held the trump card with his brother, Nicolas Falquet. The freeride pro has been producing his own films for five years — and with a high standard: “I don’t really look at snowboard or ski films for inspiration; it’s more Hollywood,” he explained before the premiere. Although the film shows the spirit of the mountains and that of true friendship, Loris summed up the story in words, explaining that it also had to do with Jean-Ives Michellod’s comeback. Since his accident one year ago, the former champion of the Verbier Xtreme has been paralyzed in both calves of his legs. These days he rides the skibob – and how! With “Ain’t got no friends on a powder day”, the team won both the Sony Master Shot Award for the best sequence and the prize award amounting to 5000 EUR for the winning film. The O’Neill H3 Camp Backpack went to the public team from Austria with Sebastian Blasy and Patrick Huter. “…because they felt sorry for us – of course!” they claimed with a laugh.

All eight riders’ films and a detailed log of the 72 hours of the Red Bull Hike&Ride can now be found at http://www.redbullhikeandride.com.

The teams:

Winning team and Sony Master Shot Award winners:

  • Loris Falquet and Jean-Ives Michellod (CH)

Winners of the O’Neill H3 Camp Backpack:

  • Sebastian Blasy and Patrick Huter (AUT)

Winners of 2000 EUR prize money:

  • Markus Keller and Stefan Maurer (CH /GR)
  • Chris Rubens and Eric Crosland (CAN)
  • Brynild Vulin and Sully Monod (FRA)
  • Johno Verity and Adam Gendle (GB)
  • Thomas Hlawitschka and Tobias Reindl (D, Fiat team)
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