Two buddies, two days, two spots, two approaches of skiing.
Since more than a year, I was looking forward to shooting with Laurent De Martin and Alex Chabod. This year we finally managed to set a date for us to go on a romantic journey: backcountry and street riding.
This description will sound super boring to you all, but these guys are just amazing. They have so much energy and will build and ride a BC kicker that same day and even still be motivated to shovel two enormous street spots the morning right after. This refreshing vibe followed the little crew these two days of shooting in the Vallis Swiss Alps.
An other thing that impressed me besides their energy levels, was their clean style and self confidence. Both riders managed to stomp hard tricks on sketchy spots with an ease that would blow your mind!
Laurent and Alex express the same passion, same great style and talent for hard tricks… But apparently the two best friends have a totally different approach to freeskiing and its communication obligation. Read further down to understand this love-hate story.
LAURENT DE MARTIN
How do you approach freesking?
Freeskiing, for me, represents every kind of skiing. Not only park or pow skiing, I wish to ride everything, from street to the backcountry… I like it all. I have fun and enjoy pushing my limits in all terrains of the sport.
I did a lot of slopestyle competitions and was part of the Swiss Freeski Team for 4 years where I was top 10 at the FIS overall ranking. But that wasn’t how I could see myself evolving. My dream in skiing was to have the opportunity to film street-, pow- or parkskiing but also having the chance to participate to some unique competitions like Redbull Linecatcher or Playstreets. I believe these creative comps are pushing freeskiing into a new direction.
Since forever you shred with your buddy Alex Chabod and yet you two have a very different approach. How do you explain this diversity?
Alex Chabod is a mystery to me. He’s one of my best friends and we ski together since we were only 13 years old. He’s so talented and is one of the most stylish skiers I’ve ever seen. But he just doesn’t care about all the social media stuff. Alex simply wants to have fun, which I really like, but at the moment, if you want to make a living out of skiing, you need to work a lot on your social media activity, sponsors and contents.
The funniest part is that he knows that, but still doesn’t care. He’s working during the summer to live trough the winter without obligations. Props for that!
Anyways, working and filming with him is amazing. His motivation in shaping, organizing and skiing is amazing.
How do you approach freesking?
In the beginning, Freeskiing was all about going to the mountains with friends to have fun and push each other to progress in whatever we were doing. No matter if it were pow skiing, backcountry, park or street.
After a while I start competing, I still don’t know why, it really wasn’t for me at all. I was in the Swiss Freeski “Challenger” Team for a few years. This was actually the good part of comps, as it allowed me to find sponsors easily. After that, I started concentrating on just filming and I was feeling way more confortable with this new approach to skiing. The first few years were like the good old times, when it was all about having fun while skiing with friends. Eventually, skiing became way more professional, which was good for my skiing because it pushed my skills to a higher level. But on the other hand, all the social media things made me feel that it wasn’t just skiing anymore or it was more than only about how good you ski. Nowadays, it’s about how good you can make people think that you are a pro. At the end of the day, it’s only the number of likes and followers on your Facebook and Instagram page that counts. I think it’s really not beneficial for the sport, as now people aren’t working for good quality projects. Their only goal is to make as much content as possible, despite whether it’s good or not.
What about your homie Laurent De Martin ?
Laurent is one of my best friends. We’ve been riding together since like forever, but our approach to skiing is quite different. Because of that, we learned so much from each other. He became one of the most talented allround skiers I know and comes with an incomparable style. Besides his skills, he’s got a motivation level that goes beyond any measures. He can really push himself so hard… I think this is why he’s one of the best skiers out there. I love skiing with him because he also knows how to push you way further than you think you can go. He’s taking the sport very seriously, maybe because it’s a real job for him. And one thing is sure, he’s pretty damn good at his new job. Even though I don’t like the social media rush, I think it’s good for him, as this allows him to live from what he loves to do the most.
I had the best opportunities and the most fun in skiing thanks to of Laurent. Working with him is truly amazing.
Pictures: Nicki Antognini
Words: Nicki Antognini, Laurent DeMartin & Alex Chabod
Location: Valais, Switzerland
Thanks to: Laurent and his family for hosting us.