Cover photo: Tanguy Henrijean (IG:broken.edge.visuals)
It goes without saying that there are far more important things in the world than skiing. Covid-19 has to a greater or lesser degree touched the lives of the majority of humans on this planet. It also closed down pretty much the entire ski industry from mid-march and canceled slushy spring laps for just about everyone. I had more or less resigned myself to spending the spring climbing and was counting myself lucky to even be allowed outside for the entire period of the virus, unlike so many in Italy, France, and Spain. I certainly didn't expect to get to ski a lift-accessed park again this season. Enter Crans-Montana.
With the Swiss government easing the vast majority of restrictions, Crans-Montana realized they could give us hungry skiers one last hurrah in what has been a very strange winter. The resort isn't normally open at this time of year but the good people behind the park here took a chance on building something what snow remained and they smashed it. The park, while relatively simple with one rail line and two jumps, was a ton of fun. A collaboration between the Crans-Montana Snowparks crew and Marcel Brunisholz (Zermatt Glacier Park, Gran Masta Park, Saas-Fee Summer Park) ensured that. The vibes were, as befitting a surprise session for snow-starved skiers, all time.
The level of skiing, however, was through the roof. I don't know if it was the snow starvation or just the epic crew that made this something of a public, swiss Kimbosessions, but every time you looked up you saw a banger. Valentin Morel and Kai Mahler brought both style and tech sufficient to melt your eyeballs, with Valentin's switch-two-on, back-8-out on the cannon tube bringing cheers from the lift lap after lap. The Buldozlife boys were swerving their way over and around the features, often in tandem, and they weren't lacking on the tech side either. Crew stalwart Gilles Tinguely may be one of the most underrated skiers I know of in the game right now. His front cork 6s off the cannon were arguably the highlight stunt of the week. The skiers were getting rewarded too. A 2000 CHF cash purse was dished out to the skiers posting the best tricks on social media with the #cmtrickstowin hashtag.
Crans-Montana is the perfect spot for this kind of thing too with a Bike Park, a Wake Park, and a tramp/skate facility at Alaia Chalet, meaning there was plenty to do in the evenings when the resort has closed. On my final day in town, watching the game of skate at Alaia was a perfect way to end the trip.
(c)Alaïa Chalet / Jocelyn Devaud