I don’t know why but all last week since getting back from my last competition road trip I have had ants in my pants. Despite being back in Verbier for only a week I was feeling a little bit like this guy:
Yep, making puns and everything- I think I even have a similar hat at home…….
So, when the opportunity came up to compete in the King of the Dolomites in San Martino di Castrozza with Canadian photographer, Zoya Lynch- I jumped at the chance. Huge mountains, couloirs, pizza, coffee and the chance to shoot with a badass photog. Who needs convincing?
The only issue- I don’t have a car. While it’s not a deal breaker, my plans were quite complicated- this was not going to be a one-country-only adventure and getting a train from Verbier and beyond with two pairs of skis and gear for two weeks did not sound appealing-so I began the car-less roadtrip.
The route: Verbier to San Martino di Castrozza, San Martino to the Dalbello Factory, Dalbello Factory to Innsbruck, Innsbruck to Slovakia and finally after the Jasna FWQ 4* in Jasna- home to Verbier.
VERBIER- SAN MARTINO di CASTROZZA
After some super sleuthing I found out that local Italian ski legend, Giulia Monego was leaving the sunny slopes of Verbier to head back to her home country to compete in the King of the Dolomites, and after a few polite emails I nailed down transport for the first leg of my journey.
We began in Le Chable on Wednesday and drove to Chamonix to spend the night. On Thursday morning after a relaxed morning staring up at Mt Blanc we hit the road and toured through the Aosta Valley to pick up her photographer Damiano. After a light Italian lunch complete with bresola, buffalo mozzarella and espresso we returned to the highway to pass through the flatlands of Milan, before making it to the mountains and the beginning of the Dolomites.
A few hours, and quite a few windy roads later, we arrived in San Martino just in time for dinner and the opening of the competition, which was complimented by a screening of Trial and Error by Whiteroom Productions.
KING OF THE DOLOMITES
KOD is a photo contest, which takes place over two days in the mountains surrounding San Martino di Castrozza. A range of ‘PRO’ teams, comprising of one photographer and two athletes are selected to compete and each team at the end of the weekend submits three photos per athlete to be judged.
Along with photographer Zoya Lynch, I spent the weekend shooting with Sigi Rumpfhuber- a ski athlete and mountain guide from Austria.
On Friday morning we woke up to a bluebird sky and quickly jumped on the lift up to Cima Rosetta, one of the more prominent peaks in the local range. On arrival the view was overwhelming. There was so much possibility and so little sunlight to do it all, so after taking in all our options we headed down towards Valle del Cantoni and got to work.
While the snow wasn’t the deep powder of the previous year’s KOD, we still found some sweet stuff and nice lines to ski. Following some success in the lower part of the valley, we slowly made our way back up towards the lift system to shoot some final pictures as the sun faded.
During the day we had made the plan to shoot the sunset on the west faces on our descent back into San Martino but unfortunately due to the adventurous nature of our team- we hadn’t made a concrete plan about location. There were a few incredible spots for photos but based on our timing and for safety, we ended up shooting underneath the top part of the gondola- the sunset was pretty spectacular.
This first day out shooting was quite special for me and also a big learning curve. While I love to ski in big mountains, I have much less experience shooting photos on bigger and more exposed terrain- if I am out there I usually just focus on skiing it! While we didn’t get into anything too gnarly during the day- choosing routes and moving around these beautiful mountains taught me a lot and I was so grateful for the opportunity.
I was also stoked to share Zoya’s birthday with her- nothing like a productive day out shooting to celebrate turning 24!
Unfortunately, due to the weather and some unforeseen party planning Saturday ended up being quite the unproductive day- with no help from me but thanks to Zoya’s insistence on getting the shot on Friday, she was able to put together a sweet competition portfolio. You can see all the final photos online here. While we didn’t make the podium, Zoya’s shot below of me got a special mention for it’s emotive and aesthetic affect on the viewer.
We finished the weekend with a pow day on Sunday and I was lucky enough to be shown around by some not so local but very friendly Italians who were more than willing to share the powder between the trees with me. Yea Vez! Such a sick day! Thanks Silvia, Nico and Paolo- can’t wait until next time.
SAN MARTINO DI CASTROZZA to DALBELLO
It would be hard to top such a great weekend- but it wasn’t over! After meeting such a great group of people at KOD, I had one more stop to make in Italy- the Dalbello Factory.
I’ve been wearing Dalbello boots for over four years and have recently started working with the International team so it was pretty cool to head down close to Castelfranco Veneto with Fabio Studer to see the boots being made in the flesh and get myself a new pair of sweet freeride touring boots.
Big thanks to the King of The Dolomites crew for putting on such a sweet event and huge thanks to the Dalbello team for getting me all fitted up- can’t wait to take my boots for a spin!
I’ve just arrived in Innsbruck and looking forward to some shred happy laps with the kiwi residents of the valley!