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Travel Features

Leading By Example

Absinthe in Cervinia

[Wolle Nyvelt leads Garret Warnick and Mat Schaer into uncharted territory. Photo: Matt Georges]

Matt Georges shadowed the Absinthe Crew as they explored the secret corners of Cervinia, Italy.

Words and photographs by Matt Georges 

Italy is just one of the best places where it’s a good excuse to go shoot Snowboarding. The people are nice, easy, the food is amazing and cheap and the terrain is pretty sick. It was five years ago when we first came to Cervinia, shooting for Absinthe NEVERLAND movie. At that time the crew was fantastic, with Gigi Rüf, Romain De Marchi, Wolle Nyvelt, JP Solberg and Sylvain Bourbousson. As we say in French we were not there to buttfuck flies. That means everyone was really hungry to get shots so we killed it for days. This time the crew was a bit different this year, with way less snow, way more rocky sharks, but still the same amazing pizzas and pastas.

Young and hungry to stack shots, Garrett Warnick signals his drop.
Wolle Nyvelt shows his style and experience with a textbook switch back one.
Matt Schaer follows Wolle's example with a backside five above the clouds.
Kids are always messing around. Garret Warnick with the bomb drop pillow spot.
Matt Schaer bursts through the spray.
Squad car. Absinthe's budget ain't what it used to be...
Backcountry essentials.
Stacks on stacks.
We would happily take this route.
So many tricks in the bag.

Mat was a machine this day and landed so many tricks. Unfortunately it’s not always possible to have them all in the movie because there is a really big cut each season. Absinthe has so many sick riders that they just have to cut some tricks here and there otherwise the movie would be just too long. Riders get frustrated sometimes of course, but that’s Snowboarding. Lots of effort, throughout the whole season, sometimes for just 30 seconds of tricks.

Matt Schaer goes stratospheric. Switch backside five, too close to the sun.
Manuel Diaz dazzling with a backside rodeo.
Close your eyes and imagine. You know that butter felt so good.
Wolle Nyvelt might be getting older, but his form is still perfect.

Manuel is honestly one of the funniest riders I know. He is always smiling and talking shit. This guy is also riding and surfing almost all year long. When he goes back home during our Euro winter, he surfs in Chile, and during the Euro summer he snowboards in Chile.

It was our last day in the resort and the snow was already changing after being cooked by the strong sun for a couple of days. We didn’t really know what to do because rocks were popping out all over the place, so it was too sketchy to jump off cliffs and build kickers. On our way down we found this little natural booter just below the chairlift. When possible I like to have interaction with tourists, so it was perfect that the kids were looking at my camera when I shot Manuel sending it.

Garret Warnick. Still fresh.
Absinthe mastermind/ genius/ visionary/ all of the above Justin Hostynek.
Manuel Diaz. Sleepy.
Our man behind the lens, doesn't even need to look and still gets a perfectly timed shot. Wolle Nyvelt, backside five.
NOW/HERE...
...and not going anywhere.
Mat Shaer. Monster Cab 7.

Cervinia is definitely not an easy area to shoot because it’s super sharky all over the place. There are good spots but you need a big amount of snow to be able to send it properly. You really need to be careful where you build a jump. Probing around can be good sometimes even if it sucks to have some tracks around a really nice spot, but fuck it, safety first! There was a lot of windblown snow in this little bowl and the landing seemed perfect. When we started to build up the jump a ski patrol saw us, called his Buddy the catdriver on the radio and asked him to come over to help us out. 30min later we had the perfect highway in run. It probably saved us at least 3 hours. Anyway, Mat was with us only for a couple days, he is studying engineering full time and only has a couple of days during the season to shoot his part. He is a real brain and talent, combined with clean style with swiss precision. To me he is definitely under the radar, not so many people know he kills it big time on his snowboard.

Snow in Egypt was a rare occurance, but Mat Schaer made the most of it with a massive cab nine.
I love how Wolle puts everything in perspective in this photo.
There's always a method to showing off. Garret Warnick.
Wolle Nyvelt leading by example. Photo: Matt Georges
Garret follows in the footsteps of Absinthe legends.
David Vladyka and the rest of the Absinthe filmers just switched to digital cameras. It’s a bit sad because I think their new cameras are way less photogenic than the good old 16mm cameras. I’m not so stoked now to have a filmer in my shot - Matt Georges
Somehow Garret avoided the glare of those pants and stuck this switch back five.

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