Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester

Blog

Cham shredding

Still in Chamonix after last week’s Italy adventures. We got some fresh snow the other day, and even though we really need over a meter, the 15-25cms was much needed. Had a fun storm day in Grands-Montets and followed it up with some sunny turns on the Aiguille du Midi yesterday. My ankle is still sore, so I can’t really charge anything yet. It doesn’t prevent me from getting out there though, but filming is going to be a while longer.

A little report in photos:

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Looking back at the exit ridge from the top of Aiguille du Midi. Just off to my right is the north face with its hanging glacier and convoluted “routes”, that sometimes involves more climbing than skiing. Not this season…

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Tof about to drop in on the Grand Envers, left of the ridge. Last year we skied this in chest deep conditions, today we had to make the windblown ankle deep work. Still a great time, and good to get an idea of where the biggest holes are.

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Tof and Mati navigating the lower couloirs. We stopped for a snack on the sunlit ridge in the background and it felt like summer.

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Looking back at the snack stop.

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Stoked on the Clifbar for these mountain times. Lunch isn’t always an option and these keep me going all day.

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The exit, in some weird cardboard-textured snow.

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Big rocks

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Looking back while on the biggest green slope in the world, the Mer de Glace. Kilometers of beginner slope, in some spectacular terrain.

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Selfie

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As Mer de Glace finishes in a moraine 20 minutes later, a long set of stairs take you to the train station to go back around the mountain down to Chamonix. These plaques on the cliff marks the levels of the glacier over the years. It’s crazy thinking it has lost this much since even a few years after I was born. Really makes you wonder what the future holds for skiing.

Off to some dinner at my favorite restaurant in the village, MOÖ bar!

Jacob

 

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Back from the snow! We’ve had two insanely fun days in Italy, playing in some pretty awesome terrain. Feels incredible to be back on snow!

Put together a little comeback edit, nothing crazy since I’m still in mellow mode. So happy to be back out there!

See you soon!

Jacob

Grands-Montets

Been skiing up at Grands-Montets here in Chamonix the last two days. There’s really nothing looking very interesting in the massif right now. Like I’ve said before, probably a good thing so I won’t hurry into anything big at the moment. The last two days have been fun and mellow, cruising the groomers with the new Armada Invictus 188, such a fun ski for variable snow conditions. The backcountry conditions look pretty terrible but we poked around a bit and found some real fun smooth chalk conditions. Haven’t been shooting many photos but here’s a quick sample:

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The Argentière glacier with Aiguille du Chardonnet and Aiguille d’Argentière in the background.

 

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Skiing down next to the glacier.

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Rock hard smooth snow with a windblown dust layer on top. Skiing here is still so damn fun. Adventure all day.

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Setup shot I took the other day. Feels good to be prepared for anything the mountains throw at you. The right ski is the Invictus that I rode today. Great all mountain ski for challenging conditions, and I’m sure it will be perfect for those late season tours too!

Time to kick back with the new walking dead episode, leaving at 6:30am tomorrow on a little powder-hunt in Italy! Excited to find some softer conditions for my sore ankle. Treating these next few days as more of a comeback trip rather than work mode. Even if I should be collecting shots for Unfiltered pretty soon, I don’t want to rush back into bigger conditions just yet. Plans for April and May are lining up and it’s going to be amazing. I’ll tell you all about it as soon as dates are in place.

Checking out from Cham, see you in Italy from my new Gopro Hero 4 black, so stoked on this thing!

Jacob

B&E invitational

Yesterday I got in the car and made the 2 hour drive south to Les Arcs for the B&E Invitational event. A fun, playful little mountain that builds an unseen videogame-inspired skateboard style bowl, with transitions, rails, gaps and fun features the whole way down, open for multiple interpretations without mandating double corks. It was hard to watch the afternoon slush session with a sore ankle but I definitely don’t want to subject it to park landings right now.

Anyways, the rider lineup was nothing short of insane, with many familiar faces like JF Houle, Tom Wallisch, Torin Yater-Wallace and Sammy Carlson, but also style icons like Adam Delorme and Jossi Wells, as well as a multitude of up-and-coming, ridiculously good, talent. I met up with Henrik’s brother Oscar, as well as Simon Ericson, who had a sore heel from the day before. Lasting for over 5 hours in total, it got pretty cold watching but it was well worth the show that went down on the completely frozen-solid course at 9pm that night. Maybe a new discipline of our sport was born? I hope so.

Shot some photos of the whole spectacle, enjoy;

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 Parker White taking flight with the one and only Stoudgen follow-caming

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Henrik choosing one of many lines through the maze.

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JF Houle and Torin Yater-Wallace among others ready to drop

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Intermission with Masta Killa from the Wu-Tang Clan

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I could write an essay on Henrik and Phil’s genuine respect and admiration for the Wu-Tang Klan, which in combination with their unique skiing has led them to eventually meet with their former heroes. As someone who made their way to the top in an early stage of the sport I can relate to this, and it’s cool to see it taking such a big step into music.

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The night session turned the fun slushy spring park into a skiing version of a skate park. It’s exciting watching the world’s best adapt their skiing to a completely different setting.

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The lineup gives their thank you’s

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The hosts together with the big winner of the night, the young Noah Albaladejo out of spain. Impressed by this guy’s style an how well he seemed to handle som pretty challenging conditions. Congrats!

A bit tired today from the resulting after party, plus the long drive back to Chamonix in weekend traffic. This blog post is just about the only productive task I’ve been able to take on after that road madness. Checking out, hopefully I’ll get up on the mountain tomorrow!

Jacob

BIG photos

…of BIG mountains. After two good days on the hill warming up my ankle, I decided to give it a break today. It’s still not ready for big runs with lots of vertical. Instead, I sat down and went through some photos from yesterday. I made these really big on purpose, so don’t open these if you’re on slow internet!

Click the photos for full size (5000 pixels)

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Aiguille du Midi, North Face. There’s very few ways down, people have been skiing it for decades. The lift takes you right up to that spire at the top, at 3,842m.

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Looking east from the spire, Aiguille Verte to the left and Les Grandes Jorasses on the right. Aiguille du Midi ridge in the foreground, with the north face off to the left. The scale here is hard to imagine, so many classic runs crammed into one shot.

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Wide-angle view from the bridge, overlooking the Cosmiques ridge on the left, the Cunningham couloir below, joining with Glacier Rond and the exit couloir.  In the background is Mont Blanc with its south-facing Glacier des Bossons.

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Looking north from Aiguille du Midi top, with the mid-station in the foreground on the right, the village, and the Brévent and Flégère ski resorts on the opposite mountain ridge. Couloir Bellin, that we skied yesterday is visible slightly left of center next to the big rock wall.

Off to bed now, as I am getting up early to make the drive out to Les Arcs to hang out with the boys at the B&E invitational! Going to be a fun show!

Jacob

Couloir Bellin, in perfect spring snow.

Headed back up to Brevent this morning to get a little taste of some steep skiing again. Linked up with Tof and his girlfriend Lea, and did a run down the Bellin Couloir, just before the sun got too hot. Perfect spring snow for the upper part, then some pretty challenging conditions the rest of the way down to the forest. Ankle felt great and I got a good view of the terrain around, some truly amazing photo studios around here!

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Standing on the top of Brevent looking east. This back bowl looks like a good jump building zone for late season.

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Tof and I, halfway down the Bellin Couloir.

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Looking back up towards the entrance. Good feeling skiing next to that massive rock wall with wingsuit and speed-riding crews jump from above. Good show today.

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Lea linking some nice turns at the middle.

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Speed-riders doing flips down the mountain. It’s insane how close to the rock walls they go. Chamonix is a crazy place for crazy people, and I’m just trying to be myself right in the middle of it.

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Managing the deteriorating spring conditions down at the bottom of the mountain. This winter is one to forget, that’s for sure.

One big run is definitely enough for my ankle (and leg muscles) at the moment, so now I’m heading back out to take some photos and enjoy the sun. Later!

Jacob

1st day back!

Woke up this morning to another day of blue sky and high temps. It’s been a week since it snowed and it was followed by high winds, so there’s not much of interest out there at the moment. This is most likely a good thing since I have a tendency to rush important steps if I get too excited about skiing. Headed up to the Brevent tramway and skied a few laps with a friend from Sweden, local shredder Tof Henry and some more people. Great times in the sun on some slushy corduroy!

Now to the actual experience – to be fair I had expected worse from my left ankle. I have a plate connecting my fibula to its lower part, with 8 screws in it. This is basically on the outside of your foot, right over the foot/lower leg joint. It’s definitely noticeable in my ski boot but I could do 3 full runs before it started bothering me. I think a visit to Sole boot lab across the street will take care of it pretty easy, they know what they’re doing. Other than that, which cut my day short at around noon, It felt surprisingly good to be back on snow. Should not be long now before I’m ready to get after it, hopefully we’ll have some fresh snow by then!

Skiing was so fun it was difficult to stop for photos, but here’s a few:

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the view from the middle station is not the worst.

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Tof Henry is currently coming back from a punctured lung and internal bleeding after hitting a tree in Japan. Today was his second day on skis.

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Legs were seriously worked after 2 hours of hot-lapping. I need to remind myself to hurry slowly, still plenty of time to ski down here.

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Rolling back into town in our beautiful Mazda CX-5, that Mazda Sweden been so kind to lend to me and Daniel for this winter’s Unfiltered filming. Obviously it hasn’t gone the way it’s been planned, but now we’re back on the mission, April and May will be the months to get productive!

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Daniel Rönnbäck photo

It feels weird thinking it was only 2 months since I had the injury, and my body is almost completely back to where it was. The human organism is an impressive system sometimes. Skiing today I felt like with a few inches of soft snow I could have gone anywhere, which is way above my expectations going up, thinking I’d only take maybe one run on a flat slope, and instead I lapped the top tram making super-G turns to the bottom! Life is good!

Jacob

At the foot of giants, once again.

Back in the mountains! Feels great to leave the city and be back in between some of Europe’s highest peaks. Took the morning flight to Geneva yesterday and arrived in Chamonix 4 hours later. The beautiful alps weather was greeting us as we were descending, unfortunately it’s spring time and the snow levels are still disappointing. Most likely a good thing for me as there’s no rush to go out and try something stupid before I’m at a 100%.

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 The Mont Blanc on the right, with the Aiguilles du Midi ridge in the middle. Les Grand Jorasses is in the back left. This place is surreal!

_B6A1568It’s hard to take in the size.

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Some up close shots of Mont Blanc, and the sheer scale reveals itself. Amazing skiing, but so difficult to access.

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Aiguille du Midi, with a icy looking north face.

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Been spending some time catching up with Tof, who is recovering from an injury too, only his meant spending over 20 days in a hospital with a collapsed lung, after hitting a Japanese tree. Here he’s hanging out with his 3-year-old Jules. The next generation right here, I can’t imagine growing up in an environment like Cham. Most extreme backyard ever!

Had a nice lazy sunday today walking around town shooting photos and catching up with friends. Tomorrow starts a week of getting back in order, mounting skis, and maybe even going for a run or two! Hoping for this high pressure to get lost. Stay tuned!

Jacob

New camera + Thåström

It’s getting close now! After taking my cast off last week progress has been skyrocketing and now I’m pretty much operating at normal speed, except my calf muscle is still a bit smaller than my right, and flexibility isn’t 100% yet. Should not be a problem to go skiing in a few days, which I am obviously so goddamn happy about.

Anyways, the other day I decided to get a new compact camera. Over the years I’ve always been a Canon guy, until my last 2 cameras which have been Sony RX100s. I really love the huge sensor but it feels a little bulky for taking on the mountain, especially if I want to carry it in my chest pocket. I lost my second one in Chamonix last year, and my first one in a sumatran harbour getting off a boat. Since then I’ve been using Sofia’s camera, or my DSLR but now it’s time to get one as I’ll be out in the mountains. Decided to go for the Canon S120, as I used to have an S90 and loved it:

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Got to test this little guy out last night at a concert in Stockholm, my childhood hero and punk legend Thåström was playing and it was a great show. Here’s some photos:

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Really stoked on how these came out, shooting at 3200 ISO with a compact camera and this little noise is impressive. Happy to be back with Canon.

Today and tomorrow I’m just packing up the last gear and getting ready to migrate back to France for a few months. Looks like it’s full on springtime down there, should be good for some nice long tours:

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Check back soon!

J

I’m free!

Day 52 since I broke my ankle and I am finally out of my cast and on the serious recovery mission! Can’t describe how good it feels to get that boot off me and to be able to actually use my foot properly again. Now starts the task of rebuilding all the little muscles in the foot as well as my calf muscle which has seen better days. Going to be in Sweden for another week before heading back to beautiful Chamonix valley! The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly!

Here’s a little photo update to keep you all entertained.

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Here’s what my ankle looked like this morning (sorry if you were eating). It’s never felt so good taking a shower.

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Straight off to the gym to start the rehab. Balance, rubber bands, yoga balls, all that fun stuff. Going to basically live here the next week.

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It’s crazy how fast you lose things you normally take for granted, like balancing on one leg. It’s all in the little muscles.

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Last weekend I had to say goodbye to Sofia as she is taking an exchange semester in Perth, OZ. She has promised to start a photo blog that I will of course guide all of you to :)

Some more drawings from the last few weeks late nights:

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Perspective training

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Stellated tetrahedron

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This one took it’s fair share of hours. Pretty happy it’s over.

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Isometric fun.

Another 8 days in Sweden and then I’ll be back blogging from the mountains! See you soon!

Jacob