St. Anton Chronicles: Part 1

St. Anton Chronicles: Part 1

Words and Photo by Jamey Voss/Red Bull Skiing

Two planes, three trains, 6,100 miles, and 26 hours after leaving the comforts of North America; we roll into the station at St. Anton, Austria to join Tanner Hall, who is here filming for his new movie, “The Massive.” The fact few others get off at this stop isn’t suspect at this point. Weary and waiting for a ride, we fall prey to two drunk Germans rocking out to “Bad Boys” echoing around the empty station: blaring from one of their cell phones. They ask for a picture taken and insist on repaying the favor with a shooter of Jägermeister. Mild refusal is quickly overcome by the Duetsch-ers, and imbibing is appropriately set as a theme for this trip.

Tanner has already been in St. Anton skiing with Sean Pettit and Callum Pettit. The eve we arrived was also the eve of their one and only day skiing. Tanner is on crutches, Sammy Carlson (on a different film project) is on crutches, and Callum is complaining of a pulled calf muscle. Earlier in the day they went up to St. Cristoff near St. Anton and hit a zone of unreal natural terrain features. Unfortunately the snow was very real. It was surely powder at some point in it’s life, but two weeks of bluebird skies and relatively warm temps in Europe ensured that time is days past.

Tanner launches off a natural hit to a rollover landing and goes real big. Snow conditions are a few inches of sugary powder on top of a significantly firmer underlayer. Tanner bounces and on second impact he punches through the firm layer. When he finally comes to a stop he’s screaming about his ankle. Photographer Mattias Fredrickson hurriedly packs up his gear to rush to Tanner’s aid. CP looks on calmly. “Tanner always fears the worst about his injuries,” he says. “Give him a minute.” While Tanner definitely takes it easy for the next 24 hours, the next day he is nearly jogging around.

The facts stack up: Tanner is hurt (sort of), Callum is hurting, it hasn’t snowed in two weeks and the forecast is for the next week is great for sun-basking and laying it down on groomers, but there is not a flake of powder in sight for all of Europe. And St. Anton is schralped: in a zone where finding powder days after the storm is normal, the fact that all the hike to zones are haggard is a less than stellar omen. Take all this and throw in the nagging little fact that the Western United States is set to pop with storm cycles and one thing becomes painfully obvious: it’s time to pull the plug on Austria and turn this show around.

Keep checking back to Red Bull Skiing for updates on the journey to create “The Massive.”

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