When: Thu 1st of January 1970
Where: Nendaz, Switzerland
Red Bull Tribal Quest photo contest took place in Nendaz from 22 –26 January 2007, with four days of shooting photos and freeriding, snowboarding and skiing – art and sport. It was proven once again that freeriders not only have an appreciation for deep snow, but also for profound thoughts.
Eric Themel, Flo Orley, Giulia Monego, Sven Mermod – the crème de la crème from the European world of freeriding – gathered at the Hotel Mont-Fort. But for once it wasn’t about the perfect line, the most spectacular run or the wildest trick; this time it was about photography. The six teams, each comprised of one photographer, one snowboarder and one skier, had four days to shoot photos on three themes: “Who am I” (portrait), “Where am I” (scene), “What am I doing” (action). The three Ws served as both their guideline and food for thought. And the resulting interpretations were as diverse as the composition of the teams.
“Je suis in the hotel lobby a ora,” could be heard occasionally in the corridors of Mont-Fort. The Argentina-Austria-England combo called itself the “Siesta Team”: Oscar Sosa, Eric Themel and Ivan Purcell. The fact that they ultimately walked away with the prize in the action category was expected least of all by the team because they all have more than just a penchant for lots of sleep: “What’s more, I’ve never won anything, certainly never a competition,” exclaimed photographer Purcell. Even the somewhat reticent Sosa was caught up in the moment of delight with his cry of “incredible”. “Competing in a contest every two years and then winning is how it should be!” glowed Themel with pride, however: “Now you see once again who’s in charge of the action here!” It comes as no surprise that the wild crew also set the mood in the Oxygen Club after the awarding of the prizes. According to Eric: “You can’t have a real siesta without a party first!”
In their element
It is possible that a few of the guests at Hotel Mont-Fort may have got the wrong impression from the contented group at breakfast every morning. Their behaviour was too relaxed to come even close to suggesting that a contest might be at play here. When some of the riders headed south for the sea on Wednesday – with the surfboard, no less – the whole scene appeared even more to be a ‘vacation with friends’. On Friday however, the guests learned otherwise at the presentation of the photos. The group had gathered here to work – and that they did! The surfers didn’t return empty-handed. The prize for the portrait category went to Canada, Switzerland and Italy. JF Pilon shot a photo of Ruth Leisibach on the beach at Levanto and Giulia Monego in a magnificently huge formation of icicles. Ruth’s comment on the photos: “A bit of water, a bit of air – the balancing act on the happy side of life – that’s me!”
Artist and snowboarder Nicolas Vaudroz began philosophizing at the awarding of the prizes as well. Together with photographer Seb Anex and skier Sven Mermod he won both prizes in the scenery category “Where am I”. The sunset with an impressive view of the mountains in the background was awarded the maximum number of points and Vaudroz shared the praise. “Seb has an incredible eye, very artistic, extraordinaire!” Apparently the two had discovered each other. “That’s right, we’re planning on working together in the future,” confirmed Anex. “We want to combine the art of photography and sport photos,” he continued, explaining the new Anex-Vaudroz project. In terms of prizes, the team of Bruno Compagnet walked away empty-handed. But if there had been a prize awarded for the best commentary of the photos, Compagnet would have definitely won it. O-Ton Bruno: “Only dead fish go with the flow!“
Who am I: photos: JF Pilon, snowboarder: Ruth Leisibach, skier: Giulia Monego
Where am I: photos: Seb Anex, snowboarder: Nicolas Vaudroz, skier: Sven Mermod
What am I doing: photos: Ivan Purcell, snowboarder: Eric Themel, skier: Oscar Sosa