Freeriding in the Innsbruck region is fantastic! There is so much available in such close proximity. I headed up to Axamer Lizum with my touring gear, filming kit and fellow freeriders Neil Williman, Manuela Mandl and Nico Metz to film the next episode of Epic Innsbruck in the mighty Kalkkögel Mountains.

Epic Innsbruck: Freeriding in the Kalkkögel

Watch the full episode here – enjoy!

Behind the scenes: freeride filming at Axamer Lizum

Axamer Lizum amazes me every time I’m there. Not only for the Olympic history that’s embedded in its mountains and the ski resort infrastructure, but the beauty of the rock formations.

filming mountain face

Filming Nico riding the icy face.

You don’t have the venture far to feel like you’re on a different planet. The couloirs tower high above you like prehistoric skyscrapers – it’s absolutely epic up there!

carving couloirs

Manu and Neil carving up the couloirs.

The Plan

It was difficult to bring everyone’s diaries together as both Manu and Neil had Freeride World Tour commitments.

I met up with Neil the day before filming to check things like the avalanche report and the terrain – where the riders go and where the best positions for myself and Max Boschi (Drone Project) to film from were.

Neil Williman skiing

Neil sending it through the trees at Axamer Lizum.

It’s easy to get to Axamer Lizum – 50 minutes by bus (L1) from Innsbruck’s main station or 20-30 minutes by car.

epic innsbruck touring

Manu and Neil touring up. Photo by Max Boschi.

Lift-access then hike and ride

We went up on the old skool Olympiabahn furnicular train from the bottom of the ski resort up to Hoadl Haus.

train, axamer lizum

The legendary train at Axamer Lizum.

From there we filmed the intros and some b-roll of the setup, like checking transceivers and other avalanche safety kit – a must before every tour.

avalanche safety, pieps

Checking transceivers before touring.

 

abs, airbag

Manu getting her airbag ready.

Manu and Neil headed to the first line, while Nico and I followed and splitboarded to the camera positions.

splitboarding, ski touring

Neil, Manu and Nico starting the ascend to their next lines.

We then repeated this, before the last line, where Nico headed to a very icy face while I positioned myself in the trees (the first pic above).

The snow conditions were not perfect, but we had a lot of fun and hit some epic lines. I was happy that I just about made the last train back to Hoadl Haus. We wanted to get one more line in where the shadows of the rocks looked epic.

Neil Williman

Neil riding shadow and light. Photo by Max Boschi.

From here is where Max and I enjoyed the sun setting behind the mountains.

sunset timelapse

Mountain sunset timelapse. Photo by Max Boschi.

Then we captured the unbelievable colours of the sky with the full moon beaming down on us.

mountain view

Beautiful views at the end of a wicked filming day.

The Riders

Neil Williman is from New Zealand and lives between London and Innsbruck; you might know him from Freeride movies such as Working Folks Freeride, which was also shot in Axamer Lizum, or his commentary on the Freeride World Tour.

Neil Williman

Neil Williman.

 

Helmet cam

Helmet cam – Neil sending it!

Manuela Mandl was the Freeride World Tour champion in 2018. She is from Vienna and now lives in Innsbruck. She is also featuring in my next movie that will be released this Autumn, so look out for that one.

Manuela Mandl

Manuela Mandl.

 

Helmet cam

Helmet cam – Manu sending it!

Nico Metz is the founder of Delayon Eyewear and is part of the Avalanche Commission in Tirol. Originally he came from Hamburg and now he lives in Innsbruck.

Nico Metz

Nico Metz.

 

Helmet cam

Helmet cam – Nico sending it!

Spring = ski touring season! 

Winter is not over, so get your touring gear and get exploring! We still have a really good snowpack here around Innsbruck, and this year it’ll be possible to ski tour in the Kalkkögel well into May or even June!

Remember to take care when going off-piste. Make sure you have as a minimum: avalanche knowledge, shovel, probe, transceiver, helmet and airbag. Never go alone, and check the conditions of the area before you go. For Innsbruck, check the local Avalanche Report.

 

climbing

Climbing for the ride. Photo by Max Boschi.

 

All photos © Ashley Wiggins, unless otherwise stated.

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