The snow has barely given the mountains a white facelift when freeride enthusiasts start making pilgrimages to their respective spots. In winter, the freeride community finds itself drawn to fresh pow, always on the search for the perfect line, from exotic powder paradises to classic Alpine ski areas to the endless expanse of North American backcountry. In inner circles, the trend has long since moved away from the use of technical aids and more and more to “human-powered alpinism.” SALEWA athletes Björn Heregger, Glen Plake, Martin McFly Winkler, Eva Walkner and Max Zipser live the Free Ski Mountaineering philosophy: You have to “earn your turns” – get up the mountain under your own power and in harmony with the alpine world. That is also reflected in their various projects and movies. The distinctive feature of this is the combination of alpine approach and skiing skills. What is unconditionally also a part of this for these peak baggers is solid preparation with attention to the characteristics and risks of the terrain. When it comes to gear, these freeride professionals don’t compromise. In close cooperation with designers and product developers at SALEWA, products -- from different layers of apparel to equipment and safety gear -- are thus created that optimally support every mission up the mountain. Of course, indispensable on any mountain outing: good friends that can be relied on.
High up in the Himalayas, near the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, lies a paradise for off-piste skiers. The base camp is a small village called Gulmarg. According to the locals, Gulmarg means ‘flower meadow‘. At 2,700 metres up however, there are no flowers to be seen in this high mountain valley in February. Instead, the iced peaks of the Pir Panjal offer free ski mountaineering at 4,000m above sea level. Eva Walkner, from the international SALEWA alpineXtrem team, couldn’t resist.