From jibbing abandoned military outposts in the hinterlands of Quebec to freetouring behind Innsbruck’s Nordkette, the spirit of freeskiing is a fickle sprite to keep tabs on. But our latest magazine, the Downdays February 2016 issue—available now for free at locations across Europe—takes a good shot at it, with articles, photos and features that run the gamut of our sport.
On the cover of the February 2016 issue: Raffaele Cusini, nose butter 360 at Click On The Mountain in Courmayeur, Italy, by Klaus Polzer.
Phil Casabon drops in to Hokkaido, Japan as captured by Daniel Rönnback.
Featured in this issue:
JF Houle Interview
Freeski film veteran, slopestyle competitor and urban innovator: JF Houle has long been respected as one of the sport’s strong men, both on and off of the contest course. When JF abruptly departed the competitive slopestyle scene in 2013, many wondered what this prodigious performer was up to. With the release of his celebrated two year-film project “Houligan” in fall 2015, the answer was abundantly clear: JF Houle is on top of his game like never before in the streets of Quebec. Our 10-page interview and photo feature catches up with JF on the eve of his new film’s triumphant debut—a moment of reflection for this stalwart carrier of Quebec’s freeskiing flame.
Don’t call it a comeback. Portrait/action by Felix Rioux.
Far East, Far Out
Go to Japan, they said. You’ll ski deep pow, they said. Ethan Stone had had enough of hearing the rumors, and decided to experience skiing in Japan for himself. His free-ranging tour across Hokkaido and Honshu linked up with several different ski crews, each approaching the “Japow” experience in a different way, to portray an everyman’s overview of skiing in this mystique-filled destination.
Plumbing the depths of the Japanese ski scene from Hokkaido to Honshu. Photos by Ethan Stone
Freetouring: The New Freedom
A glimpse at the new bindings on display on a skin track or a ski area near you is evidence enough of the movement sweeping across the ski-touring scene: new developments in so-called “pin” binding technology have created new opportunities for freeride performance in a ski-touring setting. Klaus Polzer provides an entertaining and informative review of the past decades of touring binding development, while visually capturing the new trend on a freetouring mission behind Innsbruck’s Nordkette with Simon Abt and “Scoggmaster” Basti Huber.
Basti Huber and Simon Abt score freeride turns in terrain that’s been toured past for far too long. Photo: Klaus Polzer
Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn — ski area names are getting to be a mouthful these days, aren’t they? Nevertheless, this article proves why, in the case of the new lift connection that’s created the largest interconnected ski resort in Austria, more is truly better.
More is better at Skicircus Saalbach Leogang Hinterglemm Fieberbrunn—now that’s a mouthful. Photos by Roman Lachner.
The Andorran Ace
Though pronouncing his last name might take some practice, Noah Albaladejo made clear that it’s a name worth remembering with a breakout performance in 2015, winning the B&E Invitational, scoring a Level 1 Productions segment and winning the vote for Downdays European Skier of the Year. Our profile asks, how did this unconventional talent rise through the ranks to his newfound celebrity status—and where does the road lead from here?
Noah Albaladejo is crafting his path as a film skier with an unmistakable and unorthodox style. Photos: Stephan Sutton, Pablo Varela
Toss in interviews with freerider Evelina Nilsson and slopestyler Giulia Tanno; a stellar photo gallery; a profile of Völkl freeski guru Jean-Claude “Schinka” Pedrolini; a conversation with Sage Cattabriga-Alosa; meditations on the role of social media in the lives of professional skiers by Tom Leitner, and on the power of Candide Thovex in said media by Mark von Roy; a profile of the Spanish/Andorran crew Round 2; and you’ve got yourself a full package of reading and viewing material for those “Downdays” when you’re not out on the slopes yourself. As always, this issue of Downdays is available in English, French and German.