Short ski movie from Slovakia about evolution of a one representative skialpinist in Slovakia from the beginnings on ski slopes to skiing one of the most steepest couloirs in Tatras. Richard Béreš in main role.
Slovak version of this article can be found over - HERE -
Sometime around the late summer of 2016, we started to plan a little project for winter. Action sports been my thing for almost 10 years now, but three years ago, I had no idea about ski touring/mountain engineering or what it really takes to shoot a ski movie. If someone would have told me specifically how much time and energy it requires, I probably wouldn’t jump on it so excited. So nowadays watching all those amazing ski movies I have even much more respect than before.
We’ve met with Rišo at the outdoor festival in Porúbka called “Slnko na skalách” (Sun on the rocks) for the first time and we knew straight away that this is the right person for us. Despite his young age, I liked his “old school” thinking about doing things honest way. He represented exactly the “true skialpinist” we were looking for. But we knew we won’t need only great climber and skier, but also someone who is capable to go through the whole process with us – from the very beginnings with ski touring and movement in high mountain terrain. And that was a huge responsibility.
Eventually, Riso agreed to work with us on this project, but on two conditions though: That we will be willing to learn everything from scratch and that we won’t shoot video near any commercial “facebook” couloirs.
Photo: left side - Avalanche safety training II right side: Martin Hatala guiding me on the way up
So for the past two winter seasons (with a very few exceptions) every Friday afternoon till Sunday, we were outside, trying to capture some footage to the movie. All paid by our own financials, no sponsors or anything like that…
Our bags are rarely under the 15kg, so in winter and especially for a snowboarder like me, logistically it became quite challenging. I use splitboard nowadays, but the first years I only used snowshoes - still don’t know how I managed to keep up with skiers (well most of the time at least!). ;)
So we became aware very quickly that shooting riding itself is just a bonus as a result of all the effort that went through. If we really wanted just the most interesting places, we had to check the snow conditions all the time – not just on our computers, but physically be in the mountains with Riso and just try. There never was a 100% certainty that today is the day. It was more than once, when the conditions were perfect, but after 5 minutes a thick mist came in and we were done shooting…
I remember quite vividly (I think it was during February 2017), we didn’t have a single second of usable footage, because the conditions in Tatras were terrible. It was frustrating, but that’s just how it works in mountains…
At the toughest time, we used to teased each other a little. It all started by Riso asking “You chilled?” when he saw me struggle on the way up. Little banter, internal humor, I'd say. But in fact, you have to spend a huge amount of energy to even come to the right spot in right time (of good snow conditions), while there’s still a high probability you end up with no usable footage. Mentally it's a play with a patience. Nevertheless, we always feel “Chilled.” in our beautiful mountains.
The whole movie is divided to three parts:
Beginnings - location where Riso really grew up. It’s completely authentic, thanks to a locals it still works in these conditions till this day. We are very thankful they allowed us to film some of this amazing retro atmosphere.
Addiction - I think it became some sort of addiction to everyone who ones try to ride fresh powder. It’s just hard to describe this feeling…
University - this is the part were we wanted to show the highest level of skiing, ice climbing and mountain engineering. But in a way it was “University” degree of shooting as well. That’s why it took so long, we had to come through the whole process. And you can’t speed that up. It is exactly like the steepest lines in Tatras - you can have amazing conditions and ski 4 different couloirs in 4 days, but you can also easily have a month where nature won't allow you to ski anything - and you have to respect that.
Special thanks to DANNY MENŠÍK and MARTIN HATALA - for not just beiing ski buddies for Riso but also helping us with shooting from angles that were impossible for us. ;)
And of course a MASSIVE THANK YOU to RIŠO BEREŠ!