Cover photo: Will Berman capping by Ruedi Flueck
From Switzerland With Love has somewhat different origins for a ski movie. Largely crowdfunded, the movie is shot in and around Laurent DeMartin's home region, Dents Du Midi. Designed to be a celebration of Swiss skiing, it aims to show what the region has to offer. Except that they shot it in a seriously trying winter, which made the task even harder. Not only did COVID-19 shut them down in March, as with most other projects from the past season, it was also a terrible snow year in Switzerland. I know, because I was there. That makes the half-hour runtime and the quality of snow they found throughout all the more impressive.
Things kick off with an 'urban' segment. Except that it isn't urban at all. All the spots are found in the valleys and villages surrounding Laurent's home. That lends this segment a unique flavor, with street style spots set to a mountain background. Laurent is joined by Remco Keyser, one of my favorite skiers to watch of recent years, and Will Berman flew in from the US. Each has a different style and different approaches to the spots hit, which makes the segment far more varied than it otherwise could have been. Perhaps it's because they are the kind of spots I've ended up hitting on my own limited 'street' missions (though obviously bigger), but this is one of my favorite parts of the year.
Remco hitting some Swiss 'street'. Photo: Mathieu Tranchida
The backcountry segments too, are relatable to me because they're the kind of mountains I actually ski myself. Here, Lucas Wachs joins Laurent, along with snowboarder Mathieu Schaer. As already mentioned, it wasn't a great winter, so it's not all epic blower here, it's relatable sidecountry booters and some hut trips deeper into the backcountry. They managed to find some pretty epic looking snow somewhere though, and I'm not entirely sure how. Laurent's versatility has been on ample display in Level 1 movies of recent years, where he regularly starred in the street, backcountry, and park segments, and mixed all three into his own parts. Here again, having bossed the street part, he throws down in the backcountry too. His ability to go unreasonably deep on landings always surprises me despite knowing it's coming. Lucas is quickly becoming one of the most impressively instinctive backcountry skiers to watch, perfectly matching transitions on landings and adding the little details to his shots in an almost Duncan Adams-esque way both here and in his part in Matchstick's Huck Yeah! Any time you get to see him ski is a treat and this is no exception.
Lucas doing what he does best, halfway around the world from home. Photo: Ruedi Flück
But the star of the show is the production, which is probably why FSWL won Jury's Pick at IF3 a month or so ago. The filming and editing are beautiful and classic throughout. Clean shots, great music that matches the skiing... what more can you ask for? It's Level 1-like in shooting and editing style and I'm a sucker for that classic ski movie look.
There's the odd product placement/cut scene that looks a touch out of place but otherwise, the crew has done an amazing job with this one. It's a true love letter to newschool skiing in Switzerland, traditionally the home of racers and freeriders (and comp jocks I suppose). It got me super stoked to get out there this winter and make the most of what these mountains have to offer, and even if you aren't a local, I reckon it'll get you stoked to ski too. Tune in tomorrow (11/24) to check it out for 24hrs only, exclusively here on Newschoolers.