It is said that in the beginning the Earth was flat. Then came the Flood. When the divine waters receded, they left majestic peaks in their path. Some said they were titanic giants petrified by ancient gods. Throughout the ages, the fertile imagination of human beings has been stimulated by the rumbling of avalanches and by the fog and mist that shroud the summits in mystery. It was where rogues, thieves and other outcasts sought refuge. A few fringe dwelling crystal hunters dared venture there as well. During the Age of Enlightenment, the fascination became so strong researchers ended up strolling around and simply enjoying the beauty of it all. The most passionate organized themselves into Alpine Clubs and built refuges and huts. Humankind tamed the most hostile peaks thanks to these sites, which became witnesses to change and the advancement of humankind. Alternately, shelters or meeting places, they never failed in their mission. Humanity recognizes the fragile balance that surrounds it. But the economy has other preoccupations. Industrialization is reaching for the sky with ever-larger factories and taller smokestacks. The countdown has started. In the cabin, the essentials become clear: warmth, nourishment and rest. Using the strict minimum, disconnected from all that’s unnecessary, my eyes are fixed on the dying glow of the setting sun, to which I’m one of the few witnesses The meal is simple but in this atmosphere, far from everything, it’s like having a feast in a palace. Thereupon, the silence falls gradually and movements slow down. The splendors of the summits only offer themselves to those who take the time to let themselves be tamed. Under the twinkling stars, I fall asleep while thinking about the following day. A speck of dust on a millennial mountain, I find happiness in this pleasing simplicity. Hi. You’ve reached Jeremy Jones. I am not able to get to the phone.
Leave a message and I will try and get back to you. Thanks. Hey, Jeremy. It’s Mat. What’s up? Really stoked that you can finally join us for a little while during this two-month splitboarding adventure, and I just wanted to confirm the meeting tomorrow. 9:30am at the Martigny train station. As I told you, we really want to use whenever possible public transportation to travel to the mountains. And yeah man, I can’t wait to show you our local playground. So, I hope you’re fired up, because we’ll hike a bunch. But, I don’t worry about you at all for that. Have a good night and I’ll see you in the morning. I have to lighten up my gear. Shit. How did they get everything to fit in their backpacks? There’s something I really don’t understand. How are you? So, that’s the train ride to powder. Yeah! This is going to be a one thousand year old hut that we’re going to. That’s crazy. The history in Europe always blows me away. We call something in the US old at like one hundred years old. I wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea to put on one more. You only made veggie. There is a flat spot on top. Yeah.
And this is quite short, so… Cool. I like that. Yeah. I mean that there’s like… Which is… Quite frankly I came to foot power in snowboarding not because… Yes, I understood… I didn’t like the carbon footprint of my snowboarding, but I… that was part of it. Look at Alaska for example. You can take a helicopter to five percent of the mountains, and it’s gotten really claustrophobic. And I’m like, man, if I can figure out how to hike and camp, I have endless opportunity to ride new lines. I still want to be able to go on expeditions in Alaska or in Pakistan, and it’s a big contradiction. Even if I’m trying to do it as clean as we can, like not using helis or using as few planes as we can, I mean I’m still going to travel to Alaska this spring, and I could stay home. Somebody who has family abroad, there is more reason that he’s going to travel. Right. For example, some other people, like me, I don’t really need to take planes to go snowboarding. I’m fine like that. That’s how I decide to reduce my footprint. We definitely don’t have all the solutions but we have a ton of them. I mean the cheapest forms of energy to put online right now are solar and wind. The World Bank is not funding fossil fuel exploration anymore. It’s just bad business. I just felt that as an industry we weren’t doing enough, and we needed to come together to do something. We’re all so fortunate to do what we do, to be here, and we all have a voice and the very least we can do is try to use that voice to get people to care about the climate, to act on the climate, be a climate champion, and especially having kids, it’s like win or lose… That there is a real windstorm! Dude! Mat here. Just to tell you that Levi and Thomas have decided to play it safe. They’ve decided to take the bus. Jeremy and Leo are behind me. And as for me, I’ll be there in 20 minutes. And we’re super close to Chamonix. Look at the Grandes Jorasses, the Mont Blanc, and for us, we’re planning to ski down here, and then hike up the other side to join the Hospice du Grand St. Bernard. One of my dream runs. God! What a run! It’s hard to stick to a time schedule. The sun is in front in the middle of the traverse. Yeah. That’s cool. A bit borderline from an avalanche standpoint. A little bit, but once we had dropped in we had to go for it. Thank you Maria for a safe passage. Hallelujah! Determined to tame them, humans forged paths up the mountains. The Great Saint Bernard Pass is one of the most celebrated testaments to human will, and was for a time the main gateway joining the north to the south. It’s a timeless place where legends and history intertwine. Pilgrims and travellers began frequenting the summits, just as the brigands in search of easy prey. Finally, in 1050 a hospice was built at the initiative of the archdeacon of the Aosta Cathedral, Bernard de Menthon. The congregation of the monks continues the same tradition to this very day, offering their hospitality to passing hikers. Let me say welcome to those of you to whom I have not yet been able. So, thank you for your presence here and consider this house a bit as your own this evening, while remembering the presence of others is what gives the work done in this house its purpose. When you go up to your rooms or the dormitories, think about the people who are already sleeping. I know there is a small group that is getting up very early, because they will be having breakfast at 5 o’clock in the morning. It’s the sunrise. Too great. We’re going to score. We’re going there. Made it. Beautiful day. Just about to drop. Attention. Five, four, three, two, one. Drop in. Drop in ten. Yes, Léo! Every civilization has been enriched by travel. Different peoples grew closer and were able to exchange by opening up to others. But the almost unlimited capacity for travel, from which humanity benefits today, has repercussions. We cross entire continents to admire exotic locales while others travel in the opposite direction to enjoy the marvels of the place where we just were. It seems increasingly important to understand that the environments we find closest to home are also capable of satisfying our desires. Our needs for escape and communion with nature can be fulfilled instantly with a personal approach that’s respectful and in tune with modern thinking. It’s pretty dark. You can make enough pasta for the week. Just cook one time and then… Monday morning or like mid-day, we take this stuff more, and then when they are coming we have like more west aspect for the late light… Yeah. We can do this. Like this slope here… Yeah. It’s like the way, if you go up and go down into the… Yeah. Hello! Hi, my Tomtom. All good? How are you doing, bro? OK. All good. I’m on the road. I’m coming to join you. I’m driving to Munster tonight and climbing up to the refuge tomorrow. We’ll see each other tomorrow to ride some deep pow! Yeah!
See you soon guys! Yeah, man!
Have a nice evening. The hike up in the forest?
Oh, yeah. All good. Yep. That was not too heavy?
I felt like an overloaded mule a bit, but I’m OK. I brought you some gingerbread made with honey. Look out. You’re going to enjoy it. OK. Drop. Can you feel the calm? Oh, yes I. So we’ve got three degrees right now. Three? Can we make it to six? Let’s try. That’s the goal: six degrees for the night. Pretty quick.
Yeah. There are… All the buses go through Brig anyway, so you can jump on any bus and there is… There are many buses going from Brig or you go to Visp and catch a bus from there. So you don’t need a car to go ride? No. It’s really… Generally in Switzerland connections are really good. Yeah, that’s good. We have trains to transport people from the city to close to the resort, but after that it’s not functional to go skiing, and nobody uses it, so everyone uses cars to drive up to the resort. Many car drivers, they drive alone. There’s one person in the car… It’s crazy … and four empty spaces. Especially to go to work, maybe less to go skiing, but to go to work… Yeah, to work it’s crazy. What about car sharing? Is there something? Yeah. BlaBlaCar. It’s working super well. You do it a lot in France, BlaBlaCar. We don’t do it too much in Switzerland.
No. There’s just… So the carbon footprint related to skiing in the resort, the most part come from the people driving to the resort rather than running the ski resort and the lifts. We are going up to the pass to check the faces on the other side. In order to get organized to ride something, just in case there may be something to ride. FebruApril FebruApril Three weeks without snow. It’s coming.
Seven degrees at two thousand meters. Freeriding is compromised too. It’s getting tough. We need a refresh. Yes, please reset. Is Leo still out there shaping? Yes, Leo! It’s fun. It has been a long time since I have done something fun like that where there is no risk of hurting yourself, or no risk of killing yourself. I was all wet, so I changed my clothes. It is freezing. Soon, I’ll be somewhere warm and dry. I washed my hair yesterday. Nobody noticed it. No one will ever know. We are on our way to the Ruitor. Yes. These are the first snowflakes that have fallen since we started filming six weeks ago. It’s true. This will also be the first guarded hut, as well. Yes. That’s good. Actually, you can feel it. The backpacks are a bit lighter. Yes! No. For now, the toilets… they’re clogged up. Okay. Actually, the caretaker is on his way. He will arrive in about another ten or
fifteen minutes. Yeah. That’s cool. I’m sorry. It’s really not a problem. So, tell me. How long have you been the caretaker here? Here, it’s been four years. But, I’ve been working in huts for fifteen years. Huts are a really good place to heighten people’s awareness. The isolation and everything helps them understand you have to pay attention. The surroundings, too. They look at what’s around them. It’s beautiful.
You don’t feel like trashing everything. So, I think the message comes across well. When a hut caretaker tells someone to carry his or her trash down, it’s not open to discussion. If it works in difficult places, like the high mountains and all, then we should be able to down below, too. We’ve got all the comforts. We have too many comforts, which is why people have stopped thinking. Here, you have to ask what’s behind the plug. How does the juice get here? Where does the water arrive,
where does it go, how and in what state is it? It’s the same for everything you bring up
you need to know how the trash gets back down. You have to ask yourself the basic questions… …which we’ve forgotten to do down below. Today, it’s well and truly necessary to fight for nature, and in doing so for the human race. We are balanced on the shoulders of a fragile giant on whose survival counts that of every living species. Utopic illusions of a need for an overabundance of things are just repeated blows delivered to its clay flanks. Our next challenge, a sizeable one, is to free ourselves from overconsumption, taking back the control of our resources in favor of a life-saving sobriety. We must provide for basic needs while paying better attention to the environment. Living in harmony with nature is becoming a political act, a strong gesture. There is still time. Confronted by the servitude in which we’ve become entangled global consciousness is waking up. Do you want to know what’s interesting about a randonnée track? A randonnée track… … it has to be laid down with flow. You lay down a randonnée track with your heart. By checking it, by being like a snail, a snail randonnée track. So, you’ve got to put in steep parts sometimes…
Bam. Bam. Bam. Then just afterwards, you have to think of the people following you and put in easier parts. Bam. Bam. Bam. There you go. It’s true. Here, we’re going too straight up a steep part. I’m going to traverse there, then I’m going to go all the way up there. That’s it. Go. We’re off. Three, two, one, Mat’s dropping. That is a crazy line! Oh, my God! Léo, your pack! Thank you for the track, guys. That will save us a lot of energy. Yeah, we can’t hang around too long either.
Yes. Get going. You are not to the top yet. Ciao! Bye bye. Hey, Leo. All good? Super warm. Super warm. Hot day in the mountains. Oh, damn it. We’re not going any higher. All good?
Yeah. Uno. No way. Fuck. No way. I don’t know if I want to go first. Watch out! Watch out! It is the immutable guardian of the secrets of our planet, which for ages we believed to be immortal. Its slow, hypnotic dance had commanded our admiration, and convinced us of its power. Those who dared venture there were rare and always proceeded with utmost respect. Even today, only a few athletes leave their mark, conscious of the privilege they’re enjoying on this playground of ephemeral virginity. Because we were ignorant that we’d doomed it to disappear. Like an animal in search of a hiding place before death, it’s gradually withdrawing from contact with humankind… …leaving eroded stones and rock in its path. Much like its former elegance, the message it sends us today is of a rare clarity. The glacier, a magnificent giant and part of our natural patrimony, is ringing alarm bells. Will we be able to respond in time? The result of the clash between our deepest aspirations and reality seems to be a foregone conclusion. Taking comfort in the idea our actions mean nothing if our neighbors continue to do as they’ve always done, will be the hardest obstacle to overcome. The smallest gesture, the most insignificant of resolutions are a step in the right direction towards a healthier world.