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Getting a ski photo

The most confused winter of the century
Text: Haglöfs, Foto: Haglöfs

We waited for an eternity, or so it felt. All we wanted was to get some good pictures of beautiful powder turns but instead, there we sat, trying to predict the weather in the most confused winter of the century. It was snowing a bit here and a bit there, but mostly not at all. That good old adage that you can always depend on a good snow fall in either Europe or North America wasn't proving true either, and reports of nightmare conditions kept coming relentlessly, with no regard for continent.

Location: Cortina, Italy
Rider:  Anne May Slinning
Photographer: Haglöfs

In the end we agreed on Cortina D`Ampezzo, for the simple reason we'd got a tip that it had been really good there around the turn of the year. It was now mid February, so looking back it's even more uncanny that we all actually thought it was a good idea, but at the time we - the project manager, photographer and four of our sponsored skiers - were just happy to leave the bare ground in Stockholm for any chance at all of being able to put the picture project together.

Three days before we were due to leave, the guide emailed us and told us we couldn't come. The reason? Such an incredible amount of snow had fallen in Cortina, the most in 100 years, that the avalanche danger was the highest it had been since last century. Our guide couldn't guarantee our safety any more. Not only that but he didn't have time, because now he needed to shovel snow off rooftops non-stop.

Did he seriously think that email would put us off?

Location: Cortina, Italy
Rider:  Asbjorn Eggbo Ness Anne May Slinning
Photographer: Haglöfs

Location: Cortina, Italy
Rider:  Asbjorn Eggbo Ness
Photographer: Haglöfs

Location: Cortina, Italy
Rider:  Anne May Slinning
Photographer: Haglöfs

Location: Cortina, Italy
Rider:  Olof Larsson
Photographer: Haglöfs

A few days later we were standing in the hotel lobby with Michele Barbiero, a very friendly and humble Italian mountain guide, if somewhat tired of all the shovelling. The emergency snow conditions had passed for now, and according to Michele there was some good skiing to be had, once the snow had been allowed to settle for one more day and the lifts were open. Of course. The snowfall of the century wouldn't agree to be trodden on just any old way, so we tried our hardest to appreciate the joys of just LOOKING at all the snow, FEELING all the snow, and in the end, on some bizarre level, speculating whether the skiing of the century was waiting for us up there and exactly HOW light the snow was going to feel...While we were waiting, we tried out the local food and drink, and to pass the time we read half-heartedly about Cortina's history. Anything to numb the mounting frustration.

It turned out that Cortina has a long and solid history as Italy's most famous and exclusive ski resort, including hosting the 1956 Winter Olympics. Skiers and film-makers alike have been drawn to these spectacular surroundings, and both the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only" and the classic mountaineering film "Cliffhanger" filmed scenes here. It's also the favourite ski resort of both ski legends, Ingemar Stenmark and Anja Persson.

You can read most of this on Wikipedia, and it's about as far as we got in our research, before Michele texted "we go tomorrow".

There's not much more to add by way of words to describe the next few days. It's often said that shooting skiing is rather unglamorous, hard work but not once during these days was the slightest protest uttered at having to go back up and take a new turn. Maybe someone swore under their breath at the effort involved, but they would have been drowned out anyway by the roars echoing from those who were floating euphorically downhill, weightless in the bottomless sea of ​​white.

Oh yes, and we got the picture.

Featured friends

Anne May Slinning Freeskier

Anne May was born and still lives in Norway but in the winter you'll find her in Chamonix. She says “smooth seas do not make good sailors” and indeed she knows how to challenge herself and develop her skills on skis.

Asbjørn Eggebø Næss Freeskier

For Asbjørn, a great day in the mountains is a day spent with good friends who enjoy all kinds of skiing; steep downhills, jumps, forest or ski touring. As a kid he was on skis from morning till night whenever possible, and he does the same today.

Lotten Rapp freeskier

Lotten was born and raised in Fränsta, a village west of Sundsvall in Sweden. At the early age of three she kept telling her mum that she wanted to compete in slalom.

Olof Larsson Freeskier

Olof grew up in Duved and during his high school years he specialized in moguls. Nowadays he lives in Åre and Engelberg and he has grown tired of moguls. The natural step for him was to turn to free skiing.