Heli-ski movies: This Is My Winter – Xavier De La Rue
There have been some great offerings from the world of ski and snowboard movies this past year, but one of our favorites has to be ‘This Is My Winter’ from seasoned French mountain man Xavier de la Rue. Xavier, although not unaccustomed to heli skiing accessed riding, often prefers to make his own way up remote peaks largely under his own steam. One of the most respected freeride snowboarders in the world right now, no one seems to go as fast as Xavier, literally tearing down the mountains. This film was a look at the sum of his parts over the 2011/12 season.
Where as most of the big mountain freeride films releases nowadays are all about going down, this film also takes a more considerate look at the mission involved in getting to the top – especially when the helicopter is left at base. We love watching the best of the best riders, skiers and boarders alike, rip down incredible steep faces pulling unbelievable aerials – this is what gives us our inspiration. Xavier’s riding in ‘This Is My Winter’ has all these things, but the film also goes much further than that.
Following Xavier, and the all important team supporting and filming him over the winter, you get a real insight into big mountain riding that is absent from a lot of similar movies. Clips and interviews, on and off the mountain, help us understand the reasons these kind of athletes risk putting themselves in the situations they do, and how they seem to pull off the most impossible looking lines.
One standout segment that exemplifies this is where we find Xavier contemplating riding down an almost vertical 50-meter frozen waterfall, just for something a bit different, for fun. In fact, upon failing to ride it out first time, and almost putting a premature end to the film, he decides to give it a second go. Where as most people would have walked away counting themselves lucky, Xavier, and riders like him, just look at it as a challenge uncompleted. There’s nothing blasé about this though, each moment is calculated, down to as greater detail as possible.
A lot of the film tackles the route up, often requiring ropes, harnesses, axes, and crampons. In fact, for half the film, the riding back down is happening whilst gripping hold of an ice axe. As much a mountaineering film as it is ski / snowboard movie, one run in particular stands out for taking so long to descend. Instead of his normally straight-line rapid descent over around 20 seconds, this one takes over four hours!
At just 30 minutes long this is a great little movie to put on in the morning to watch before heading up the mountain. A beautiful film, highlighting the often overlooked aspects that make up part of what we love to do, this film is a welcome change to our screens.