WORDS & PHOTOS • CHRISTOPHER OBERSCHNEIDER (@ coberschneider )
Sandra Lahnsteiner, Henrik Windstedt and videographer/follow-cam genius, Alexander Rydén, were invited to produce a video clip for Stellar Heli-Skiing in Kaslo, British Columbia, and I was lucky enough to be able to join the team to capture stills of the action. Heli skiing is not permitted in most regions of the Austrian alps, so I’d never been on a heli skiing trip before and didn’t really know what to expect. In short: It was a blast.
Stellar Heli is focused on small groups and operates in the Kootenays, more specifically, in the Selkirk and Purcell Mountain Ranges. From skiing untracked powder in huge alpine terrain, to exploring playful zones in the trees and feeling like a star in a freeride movie when the heli was dropping us off on the next peak, most of the time it felt unreal. It took me a while to get a feeling for the unknown terrain and to adapt my style of working to the circumstances that placed priority on filming. On this trip, I couldn’t always position myself where I wanted without messing up Alex’s shot, which created new and interesting circumstances for shooting. We soon figured out how to make the most of the situation: While Alex was chasing one athlete with a GoPro mounted to a huge carbon fiber pole—that somehow managed to never get tangled up in the trees—I set up shots with the other athlete.
I had worked with Sandra on ski shoots in the Alps before, so it was great to see her adapt to the bigger terrain and tackle higher cliffs every day. Meanwhile, Henrik made even the biggest backflips look so easy, with Alex following him and dropping off the same cliff while filming simultaneously. Sounds crazy—and it probably is—but he made it look like the most natural thing in the world.
After spending seven days flying, skiing and shooting, it sure wasn’t easy to leave this magical place and head back home.