Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester
Jacob Wester

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Hi everyone, hope you are not dying from lack of snow just yet. I think I will, unless something happens soon, right now all options seem pretty bad. Last fall I was skiing perfect powder in Engelberg at this time of the year, right now, well, it’s not looking too deep down there, nor most places in the world. Holding my thumbs for a trip soon, however.

So over the last few years, Sweden has decided to adopt the concept “black friday”, adding yet another much-needed American tradition to the calendar, all to keep our consumerist culture alive. Not one to shy away from multi-culturalism, I went ahead and picked up a new laptop. To be completely fair, I had been in need of one for a while, and the 10% discount offered was enough for me to drop in. I hate spending money on things, but my 4-year old macbook was starting to act sluggishly on big video projects, and I really don’t have time for that this winter. Earlier this fall, my laptop crashed during editing my season reel, and forced me to re-edit it all in less than 5 days. Note to self – keep backups of everything, especially the project file…

Anyways, just because I’m now in a total kid-on-christmas mode over my new macbook pro 15″ retina, and because I have absolutely nothing more exciting to do, here’s a visual overview of Unfiltered Skiing‘s toolbox this coming season. Really excited to start producing more eye candy for you all!

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Keep it up, the snow is coming!

Jacob

Stockholm down days

Hi people, and thanks for checking the blog. I noticed some comments about keeping the blog alive during down days, and for those of you who know my typical seasons, november is pretty much the slowest time of the year. After getting back from Chamonix I haven’t been up to much except working out, planning for the season, as well as getting into my latest side venture, which happens to be writing. Over the years I guess I have developed a skill for story telling, and I’ve had the great opportunity to write for some magazines lately. Maybe this goes a little way to explain this blog’s lack of updates. Don’t fret however, the season is just around the corner and great things are in motion!

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A few of the pages from the latest Unfiltered story in Norwegian magazine Fri Flyt. Photos by Daniel Rönnbäck.

For those of you wondering why I haven’t been joining the crew down in Stubai at the Prime Parks, it’s because I had a slight tweak to my ankle skiing in Italy, and I don’t think hitting big park kickers is the best remedy. Instead, I spend most of my time under the barbell at the gym, not the most fun activity but I don’t mind working out when I can see progress, and I am getting stronger than ever for this season. This year I will be skiing more than ever, so I’m not in a hurry to get the ball rolling. Off to the powder in less than 10 days now, and I will tell you where very soon!

For now, enjoy some of the few minutes of sun that Stockholm has received in november, captured by Sofia on the 5DmkIII. Truly one of the most beautiful cities I know, maybe because it’s so rare to see it in this light:

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Throwing in some screenshots from the drone too. I just ordered a screen and video transmitter for it, so this winter we will be getting a lot more action. So fun flying it around again!

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Looking out the window and it’s foggy and raining again. Awesome.

Stay tuned, I promise to keep the blog a little more alive!

Jacob

Alps

And all of a sudden it’s winter again. As I was sitting on the couch one morning in my Stockholm apartment last week, the snow started falling outside. It coincided with a trip I just booked to Geneva, where I would meet up with Daniel and Tof to go get some shots for Armada’s 15/16 line, but also to get back on snow and feel the wind on my face again. As much as I enjoy surfing and traveling in the summer, getting back into the mountains will always be something special for me.

We haven’t had the best of luck weather-wise but that’s what you can expect at this time of the year. Now we’re back in Chamonix after a two day trip over to Italy where we found the snow! Good vibes!

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snowflakes from my balcony.

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good to meet up with mr Daniel Rönnbäck

majestic views. it’s near impossible for me to keep from staring at the peaks surrounding Chamonix. the mountains are present:

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Aiguille du Plan

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Glacier des Bossons

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Aiguille du Midi

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some beautiful fall colors in the valley.

after some down time in Chamonix, where we waited for the weather and got our skis mounted, we headed through the tunnel to Italy just in time for the sun window, the morning after a full night of snowing. first day on skis was a very good one…

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the south side of Matterhorn, or as it’s called around here, Monte Cervino.

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today’s playground below the monte rosa plateau. we shared this with a handful of shredders, and it would stay mostly un-tracked all day.

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it was easy to get overly excited. flat, but soft.

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Daniel capturing the magic.

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I stole the shot with my phone.  IMG_1164 some very interesting snow further down the valley. the freezing line is still high.

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future legend Tof Henry after a long and successful day

now we’re back in Chamonix, making more plans for the season. it is going to be insane living down here and making trips like this one all the time!

Jacob

Ericeira – Cascais

It’s the last day of our Portugal trip and we have been rained in for two days. Yesterday we headed up north but the weather was pretty much keeping us inside the car, and most surf was totally blown out by this atlantic storm that hit us out of nowhere. With the winds swinging northwest today we decided to check out the town of Cascais and it turned out to be a great decision, as it was sheltered from the wind and sunny! Scored an empty wave and had some coffee in the sun, what a great way to end the trip!

Getting up at 4am tomorrow to catch the flight back home, it’s going to be a busy week packing for the season…on snow in 7 days!

Photos by Sofia Sjöberg:

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Portugal’s west coast looking south from Sao Lourenco. The stormy conditions allowed for some moody scenery. No paddling out here, that’s for sure.

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Sofia chasing seagulls.

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Looking for a wave in the chaos.

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A frothy one.

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The storm passed and the air felt newly washed.

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Just east of Cascais we stumbled upon this empty righthander breaking in a sheltered bay.

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Waiting for a set.

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A beauty going unridden. It’s crazy to think this is just a 15 minute drive from Lisbon.

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Fun sections for days.

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Surfed out and ready for a pizza!

See you all in Sweden!

Jacob

Portugal

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Earlier this fall I made some plans for a short surf trip before the season really kicks in (going to Chamonix on sunday, so don’t worry, there will be skiing on here soon), so this weekend Sofia and I packed our bags and headed for Portugal, where we get to borrow an apartment by my good friend Felix.

It turns out it’s still pretty much summer down here, the waves are pumping, the crowds are non-existent to mellow, and we are having the best of times. I wish I could stay longer, but we have to make the most out of 4 days. Here’s a massive photo post from the last 24 hours, enjoy (all photos by Sofia Sjöberg):

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Looking down the west coast of Portugal, there are surf spots pretty much around every corner. The town we are staying in, Ericeira, is recognized as one of the “World Surfing Reserves”, and every surf spot is marked with a sign and driving directions. Somehow, there aren’t any crowds to speak of, and it’s pretty easy to find a wave to yourself.

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Sofia and the town square. This place is beautiful and looks like it hasn’t changed in hundreds of years.

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Fun, and empty morning surf at Ribeira D’Ilhas just north of town.

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Sofia and Ribeira D’Ilhas in the background.

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Friends

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Contemplating paddling out at one of the heavier spots in town, “Cave”. After seeing a few sets break in ankle deep water I decided to keep looking…

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Just down the road is Coxos, a world famous pointbreak reeling down the lava reef.

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Getting in (and out) of the surf at Coxos is described all over internet surf guides as “a nightmare”, and for “experts only”. Maybe a little overstated, but I could see why, stumbling over razor sharp lava reef with sea urchins everywhere, trying to time a lull in the sets. Good thing I’ve gotten my fair share of reef dance training in Indo over the last few years.

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Now we just finished our 3rd cup of coffee of the morning, and outside the weather has turned to the worse. Time to go on a road trip up north and see what we find!

Jacob

 

Rapala Bay

Hey everyone, hope you’re all good and ready for winter to come around. I sure am, even though there’s not shortage of fun activities going on for the adventurous if you just open your front door. Sweden is gradually getting colder and stormier, which of course means one thing: surf, surf and more surf. This past weekend we got a big low pressure moving air from the south, building up a (by swedish standards) massive swell hitting the northern parts of the Baltic Sea. I got together with my good buddy Tim Latte (who happens to be a swedish pro surfer, check out his blog here), and we decided to get in the car and go on a Swedish surf exploration mission up north, here’s what happened:

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4:15 am, Stockholm. We decided we were going to chase this swell the night before, so we got up early to make the 5 hour drive to the surf. Gotta love these crazy last-minute adventures!

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Our first spot check was at this crazy righthander. Solid overhead waves would unload on barely covered rocks, so we decided to keep looking. Maybe on the right day, though… I love finding new spots.

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This lefthander looked promising but still not really what we were looking for.

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After driving around for another 3 or so hours looking for a surfable wave in the onshore junk that the ocean was sending our way, we finally decided on a pretty classic spot but with not a soul out we were up for a solo session. Tim was stoked to finally get in the wetsuit.

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Me with my board of choice, a 6’0 shiraz from Flanagan surfboards, with my custom blackmetal paintjob. Always a good day when you can surf a smaller, more responsive board in Swedish waters.

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Trespassing through someones backyard in search of the waves…

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And here’s what we found, empty, clean righthanders peeling down the point. Surf time!

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Fun floater section, don’t think I made it back around on this one though.

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Some of the waves this day had the most power I have ever felt in Sweden. Set waves like this one would come through every 5 minutes, barreling, peeling, and with just the two of us out.

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Setting up for the fast inside section before the wave closes out.

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Tim on his backhand.

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Outer island monster wave looking interesting. Tow-in session maybe? It’s hard to tell how big this is, but this is heavily cropped from a 7D with 200mm on, and I counted several seconds before the lip hit the water. It is heavy.

IMG_0408           One last wave with Tim bottomturning in front of a heavy looking lip.

After the session we headed home to our good friend William Nylén who shot our surf photos above (thanks William!), for some food and a sauna, as well as looking through the photos and talking about all the waves we had seen. We will come back up there for sure, Sweden has so much surf potential and we didn’t even see any other surfers out there on any of the spots we checked. The morning after we got back in the car and drove back home to Stockholm for some more surf at our local spot. It’s still pumping out there and as I am hitting the post button on here I am getting ready to drive back down and surf some more. I love fall!

Jacob

Oil & Water – Full movie

So Armada Skis just dropped their 13/14 full team movie, called Oil & Water! Since I was busy with Unfiltered I didn’t have much time shooting for this one, but I managed to get a couple of park shots in it at least. Hornbeck, Kim, Dollo, Riley and B-dog all have full parts, go check this one out!

Jacob

Autumn surf

Hi everyone, as you can imagine nothing much is going on right now, spending some time back home in Stockholm trying to make some plans for the coming winter. Eating well and getting my body back in shape is also on the schedule. Since I got home from England there’s also been some surf, here’s a couple frames shot by Håkan Nyberg:

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Being home in Stockholm also means going to concerts whenever I get the chance. Last week we got to see The Antlers, and Det Stora Monstret, two equally amazing bands, I recommend them both if you’re into good atmosphere and beautiful arrangements:

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Det Stora Monstret

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The Antlers

Now I’m off to my second home, the gym!

Jacob

On death and its randomness – remembering Andreas and JP

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For some, death will come invisible, only revealing itself when it’s far too late. Maybe in the shape of a malign tumor, an invisible virus, or a flaw deeply embedded in the genetic code. It will, of course, gladly show up when invited; a fact all risk-takers, be it cigarette smokers, wing-suit base jumpers, or formula 1 drivers have, or at least should, take into account. But sometimes it will come when least expected, in the case of a driver failing to pay attention for a brief moment on the way home from work, a brick dropped from a construction site, or any other seemingly random accident leading to the ultimate tragedy. Circumstances align, in numbers impossible to grasp, leading to highly unlikely but inevitable coincidences. They leave us questioning the world, make us assume a higher position, protesting the unfairness of our existence. It is easy to say humanity has always suffered from delusions of grandeur, refusing to accept that we are but a somewhat intelligent and self-aware species on an isolated piece of rock in a universe infinitely more vast than anything we could ever comprehend. Faced with, and frightened by our apparent meaninglessness, we resort to ignoring rationale, inventing answers and finding comfort in dreaming of a higher purpose. The ones lost will never come back, but believing they will be waiting for the rest of us, somewhere beyond our physical realms, provides us with solace, and for some even becomes a reason not to fear death. The human mind is a powerful one, and there is no manual, no method, and no teacher, that could help us process the thoughts we are faced with when the ones close to us cease to exist. While we simply have to find what works for each and everyone of us, we must never forget them, because the only place we could ever truly prove they are still around, is in our own minds.

I am not going to pretend what JP Auclair and Andreas Fransson were undertaking in Patagonia two weeks ago wasn’t involving threats to their well-being. They were wandering far past the edge of civilisation, where few humans have ever set foot, in some of the most inhospitable mountain ranges on earth. Ascending giant peaks, pushing the limits of extreme skiing, and living their lives to the fullest, they were well aware of the inherent risks of their lifestyle, but what caused their passing was nothing either of them could have forecasted, and this brings light to just how random death seems to be.

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Andreas was the most meticulously prepared and lucid person I’ve ever had the pleasure to spend time with in the mountains. Even though he lived his life climbing and skiing on the very edge of what humans are capable of, he did it with a careful eye for details, every parameter taken into account, and with no ego involved. If the tiniest, seemingly most insignificant thing threw him off, he would without any hesitation abort mission and retreat, using the lesson learned to prepare him for the next time. Not afraid to dive deep into his own psyche, exploring his inner world and not rejecting what he would find, he would spend hours meditating and sharing his thoughts with those around him. I have long seen him as the exemplary steep-skier, someone acknowledging that while on the mountain we are in nature’s power, and that we have to humbly follow nature’s rules. In Chamonix, standing on top of an exposed, convex +45° face, he would tell me with a grin that “If you fall here, you will die. But you won’t, because you know how to ski. You won’t fall off the sidewalk and get run over by a car, because you know how to walk. The run in front of you is that sidewalk, just walk it.”  I knew what he was saying was true, and I think I got a rare glimpse into his head that day, the way he would approach danger, not ignoring it, but understanding it for exactly what it was, without letting fear take over. The run we skied turned out to be relatively mellow, and as a Chamonix virgin I remember thinking it really wasn’t as exposed as he had made it seem to be. There were plenty of places I could have made a mistake and handled it. He later explained to me that he always exaggerated the risks involved, especially if he didn’t know the skill level of his company. “It’s always better to keep people on their toes, otherwise they will focus on the wrong things”, he said. Such was the nature of Andreas, always on the safe side, no matter how perilous the situation.

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Any attempt to put words on the impact JP Auclair has had on my life as a skier has seemed like an impossible task these last two weeks, and still I find myself pausing mid-sentence, my mind wandering off, trying to stay occupied with something less unfathomable. Searching for words that could somehow do him justice. JP played a monumental part in making me the skier I am today. I remember watching his first video segments in a time when skiers were banned from terrain parks, spell-bound by the VHS tapes I rewound so many times they were soon unwatchable. My young impressionable mind was opened up to a new reality, one that I realised I could be a part of creating, and I still to this day thank JP and the rest of the New Canadian Air Force for reinventing skiing and making it available to me. Over the years I eventually got to know him personally and he grew from an idol to a friend and inspiration, not only to my skiing, but to the way I looked at life. We shared a deep interest in philosophy and embarking on a conversation over a bottle of wine with JP could very well mean not getting any sleep that night. On the mountain he seemed eternally young, constantly blowing minds with new ideas, never stagnant and always thinking of other ways to do things. Releasing a ground-breaking urban ski video part at the age of 34 seemed perfectly normal to JP, and in typical fashion he would never settle with mediocre results. His humor was beyond absurd – JP was one of the rare breed that could make any boring dinner on the road absolutely hilarious, just by opening his mouth and let some random joke he just made up slip through, and before you knew it the table would explode with laughter, followed by more jokes for what seemed like hours. A true inspiration and role model to us all, JP will be dearly missed, but I am forever grateful for getting to know such a real human being. Thank you for everything JP, you will never be forgotten.

Jacob

Season Reel

Last winter was my most productive one ever as far as media production went. Almost every day on skis I had some kind of camera pointed at me, which I don’t mind because that’s when I ski the best. Making the Unfiltered series was a great challenge and I truly enjoyed every second of it, even though there’s a lot of work behind planning everything yourself. A huge thank you to everyone who followed it through the winter, the feedback has been fantastic and we have had almost 300.000 viewers on the videos so I could not be happier!

To get the new winter started, and hopefully bring some excitement to you all to get out there and do your thing, I decided to put a little something together with all of my favorite jumps, lines and tricks from the year, it was hard to keep this one under 5 minutes but that’s always a good thing! Here is my 13/14 Season Reel, presented by Unfiltered Skiing:

Jacob