This is the 2nd episode of Epic Innsbruck. If you haven’t seen the first episode, make sure you check it out.
For this episode 18-02, the crew and I headed to Kühtai to film the first scene. Victor Heim and Gabriel Indrist (two Rossignol Team-snowboarders who live in Innsbruck) had brought their skier mate Ludwig Wiedemayr along, and they swiftly began the climb up the Vorderer Grieskogel mountain.
While the three guys started touring, I and 2nd cameraman/fellow blogger Max Schneider (known as Helge) plus drone pilot Max Boschl set up our base camp about 100 metres away from the top Kaiserbahn lift station.
Max Boschi runs Drone Project and I’ve been working with him for the past two years. He’s easy to work with, a great guy, and very experienced. Plus he has the licence and insurance to fly his Octocopter almost anywhere in Austria.
Ready for Freeriding
About 70 metres down from the peak and 200 metres along the ridge, the riders positioned themselves for the first line.
With everyone ready and the drone in the air I called “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 drop in”, and all three came charging down at speeds of over 80km/h.
The drone followed them down capturing some epic shots. What a rush!
Victor and Gabriel skinned back up the same track to reach their next line, which was another 50-75 metres down the ridge and over a massive boulder.
They had to do some climbing to get in to the best starting position for the line, which included a small cliff (about 6-8 metres high) to huck.
Helge toured up the mountain to where the guys would land to get a different perspective with camera 2. When everyone was ready, the count in began and off they went – carving down a narrow chute, with Victor first cutting out towards the cliff.
Unfortunately Victor fell and tumbled shortly after landing. The good news was he managed to tumble right the way around and back to his feet, so he could continue on and race down the mountain. Even more importantly, he wasn’t hurt!
Meanwhile Gabriel was shredding alongside him, surfing the sluff and falling snow – epic!
Victor’s GoPro flew off his head while he was tomahawking down the mountain, and he had to climb straight back up to get it – he managed to find it with the help of Helge, who was able to check the footage he’d just captured to see where it fell off. Luckily the camera was ok, and still recording!
We’d brought a 300mm telephoto lens so we could get in nice and close even when filming from afar, but it did make it really difficult to get the framing right. As the shot wasn’t perfect on the previous line, we tried a new strategy for the next.
I took a photo of the ridge and drew a line on it, then sent it to Victor and Helge so we all knew roughly where to position ourselves.
Most of this line was in the shade and with the sun shining on the ridge, we wanted Victor to start his ascent then turn towards the ridge to spray some powder into the sun. The results were fantastic!
As the sun started to set we had to call it a day. We’d wanted to try and fit a tree line in too, but in the end with light running out we had to leave it for another time.
Nordkette, the Freeride Lounge
For our next film day we decided to move to the Freeride Lounge, Nordkette, to film the tree runs.
Gabriel and Victor built a jump just down from Seegrube. They took it in turns to launch themselves in the air towards the city of Innsbruck, which lies right at the foot of the mountain.
The clouds soon started to rise to cover exactly where we were filimg, which created some dramatic views to begin with as it looked like the guys were surfing on clouds.
However this became more problematic later when we wanted to film the tree runs; plus there wasn’t as much loose snow left to spray epic powder slashes as we’d hoped, but you can’t have everything! We wanted to have a full section of the tree line in the film, but unfortunately due to the weather we simply couldn’t film as much as we’d planned.
Helge skied down with camera 2 and set himself up under a tree to get some close shots. We had to wait around lots for breaks in the cloud, then frantically film as much as we could when the opportunity arose.
Not exactly what we had planned, but we still got some mysterious cloud covered tree line shots. It just goes to show how quickly and dramatically the weather can change in the mountains.
So here it is, EPIC INNSBRUCK 18-02 – enjoy the ride!
Freeriding in uncontrolled off-piste terrain can be extremely dangerous. Victor, Gabriel and Ludwig are very experienced and they analyse the snow, terrain, and weather conditions before venturing out. Ludwig is also part of the mountain rescue team in East Tirol.
It is advised to only go off-piste with a local guide, or in avalanche controlled zones where local teams blast the mountain to release controlled avalanches and clear out dangerous layers. I wrote about this in a previous article.
Read the daily avalanche bulletin each morning to learn about current conditions, and make sure to ALWAYS carry the minimum safety kit of transciever, shovel and probe.
Stay safe, look out for each other, and have fun.
All photos © Ashley Wiggins, unless otherwise stated.