[Delfino repping at the AK camp site. Photo: Zach Clanton]
Over the past few seasons, Thomas Delfino has been putting a bit of distance between himself and the terrain parks, preferring to turn his attentions more and more towards something that’s more ‘natural’, something that’s more like him. In this process, he also entered the Picture snow team, together with other renowned riders like Janne Lipsanen and Aluan Ricciardi. Last Spring, Thomas did a pretty insane expedition in Alaska, so we caught up with him to find out more about this mysterious trip into the wild…
Your love story with Alaska started a few years back, can you tell us about it?
Three years ago I did my first trip there, in the Aleutian Islands. That’s where I met Rome rider Cody Booth and photographer Zach Clanton. Those two guys spend most of their winter in AK, and they invited me on this last trip last spring. We had planned it back in 2015 already, but we couldn’t make it happen, so I was double excited about it. Especially as this time we really had an epic crew: Zach Mills, a splitboard rider (with hard boots), who lives in his car all year round and goes where life drives him. There was also Cyndi and Zach Grant – yes, that’s a lot of Zachs! Also splitboards specialists. And of course our Almo filmer Ben Nardini. It was so cool to be out there in the wild!
Certainly sounds wild. Can you tell us a bit more about it? How did you get on there?
Do you know the organic version of AK? Haha! Basically it was just me and my crew, a tent, and a good pair of skins. Well, of course there’s a lot of planning involved to make such a trip happen, and maybe even more to tear it down from all the things you actually don’t need to go on an adventure.
We got dropped in the middle of nowhere on an Alaskan glacier. No heli of course, but no guide either, so it means full freedom, but it also means you need to guarantee your own safety. Knowing that rescue is about 1:30h away with a plane or heli, you have to approach things a little differently. You certainly have to deal with your environment a lot more, respect this impressive nature surrounding you, live according to its pace. You live to its rhythm, and there’s not so many things you can do when nature doesn’t play ball one day.
You need to time everything around this, and around the amount of daylight you have. Once the sun has dropped behind a mountain, the light but also the temperature drops massively, and you don’t really want to be outside and only want to get into your sleeping bag.