THE MARTINIS INVADE GRAUBÜNDEN: Martin Webrant and Martin Söderqvist ski epic powder in Switzerland
Pow, more pow and even more pow! Every freeriders wet dream: a winter with fresh cold snow on big mountains day in and day out. A dream you seldom get to live, but for us this winter the dream came true.
After looking at snow-reports and webcams troughout the fall and beginning of the winter, there where no doubts that there was tons of snow all over the Alps. Huge amounts of the white gold had kept pounding Switzerland for the last month. Finally in January, it was our turn to get a piece of the action. Time for the Martinis (my good friend photographer Martin Söderqvist and myself Martin Webrant) to invade Graubünden, a region in southeast Switzerland that holds numerous ski resorts; some more famous than others, but all with serious potential for fullfilling a freerider’s demands.
1500 kilometers is the distance from Gothenburg, Sweden to Disentis, Switzerland; and the first stage of our roadtrip. In one day we had turned our ”winter” (which means 5°C, heavy winds and rain) into real white winter in the Alps. After a good night sleep we woke up to blue sky, -10°C and fresh powder. We opened the window and inhaled the clear, cold mountain air. Looking up on the mountain we both realized that the webcams had not been manipulated—there was so much snow! With this amount of snow in early January, we hoped for an unforgettable winter. But not in our wildest imagination could we have hoped for it to turn out as good as it did. One word: POWDER!
Except for getting awesome skiing, super nice photos and a great time, the goal for our trip was to stay within the Graubunden region for about two months… to explore new terrain, both well-known mountains and some unknown little areas. With the mobility of car, the near distance between ski areas and the massive amount of pow around, we had a perfect set up.
We started off in Disentis, which for Martin and I has become a second home after spending several winters there. We know the terrain as well as our own backyards. With its two enormous side-valleys and two even bigger back-valleys, it is a freeride paradise. A good place to start the trip, and it for sure did not disapointed us this time either. None of us had ever seen this much snow here ever before and we got some unforgettable runs in deep, deep pow.
Disentis is located at the end of the valley and on our way out we stopped at Vals and Flims-Laax. The last one is known for having one of the best terrain parks for jibbers in the Alps. Since that is not really our ”cup of tea”, we wanted to find out what the off-piste had to offer. Not that bad, actually! We skied one day in Vals two years ago and scoped out a huge backside run. Unfortunally that time the snow conditions were not that good, so we just had to come back and now it was perfect and untracked.
The next day we carried on to the Davos-Klosters area to hook up with Black Diamond’s own Dan Caruso. With its six different mountains, this ski area opens up for endless off-piste possibilities. Accompanied with continuos snowfalls and Dan to show us all the goodies and secret spots, our dream lived on. We got to see it all. On the few clear days we skied the big stuff: long powder lines, huge untracked faces and peak to valley runs. During the heavy snowstorms we played around in the trees, skiing some off the best pillow lines and tree skiing ever. The terrain seemed to never stop and neither did the snowfall.
Curious to see new mountains, we drove south, over the Julier Pass, to Maloja for a day of heliskiing around the Engadin area. After a few hours of amazing skiing, the heli droped us off at the top one last time and took off, leaving a long long run back down to Maloja with the beautiful afternoon light and a perfect photo session ahead of us. What a day! What more can you ask for than big lines in fresh powder all for yourself, and with a heli droping you off where ever you want and then picking you up again and again. The Martinis were living the dream!
Next stop was St. Moritz. Once again we got to ski the deep and steep. Often you’ll get lucky enough to hit a storm once a while on your trip, but usually in between you have to deal with the less fortunate snow conditions. But this winter it just kept snowing and snowing, with storms hitting us everywhere we went, leaving huge smiles on our faces all the time.
After a great stay in St. Moritz, we moved on back up north to Lenzerheide and then to Arosa. In Lenzerheide, I got one of the best runs ever: a long, steep colouir filled with knee-deep powder. It took me about two and a half hour to hike up it… and fifteen seconds to get down. Big, super-fast turns and adrenaline pumping gives me the sweet feeling of total satisfaction, which you only can get from skiing. It is a feeling hard to explain, if not impossible, but I hope you’ve felt it before and know what I mean.
Like all good things, our trip eventually came to its end, but we had time to do a quick stop at Dan’s place for our last day of skiing before heading back home to Sweden. After a couple of days with blue sky, we could not believe our eyes when it yet once started to snow yet again as we were driving from Arosa to Davos. We are awoken early by the noise from the snowplow clearing the road outside the house and got ready to end this unforgettable Graubünden road trip with one last awesome day of fresh pow-pow. It kept snowing the whole day and the three of us skied the trees until the lifts closed, then we jumped in the car and drove back to Sweden, smiling and remembering the best winter of my life!