Chamonix, February 16th 2008 – Zooming in on a fantastic week and the first results. Packed with amazing shots, the first edition of the Nissan Outdoor Games by Columbia lived up to its billing. Impressive para-gliding acrobatics, ice-climbing,free-skiing and snowboarding, climbing and BASE-jumping high in the mountains accompanied the entertainment in the town centre.
Led by Pat Janet (FRA), the Ride the Planets team took the “Aiguille d’or”, the trophy for the best film, on Saturday night. Tero Repo (FIN), from team Radical Films, took the prize for best photographer.
Late Saturday morning, in the foothills of Mont-Blanc, a unique display of acrobatic para-gliding and wing-suiting wowed the crowd gathered on the platform at the Aiguille de Midi. The aerial performances of the invited professional athletes were coordinated by local guide Jerome Ruby, a Base-jump specialist. The Air-Show, never before performed at this altitude, amazed the open-mouthed spectators.
At 3842 metres, on the terrace of the Aiguille du Midi, two hundred people waited with baited breath for this unprecedented display. Dave Barlia, the American BASE-jumper got the show started. Dropped from a helicopter 1000 m further up, he swept over the heads of the crowd before plunging into the Chamonix valley. The para-gliders followed just behind, stringing together the latest spectacular tricks (SAT dynamics, infinity tumbling). For thirty minutes, the three helicopters dropped the worlds’ best pilots, one after the other: Antoine Montant (Fra), Hernan Pitocco (Arg), Raoul Rodriguez (ESP), Alexandre Aimard (Fra), Mathias Roten (Sui), etc.
Among the BASE-jumpers invited, the Frenchman Jean-Noel Itzstein, Slovenian Robert Pecnik, South-african Julian Boulle and Yves Burry from Switzerland honoured the Games with their presence. These five strange flying objects, equipped with their wing-suits, flew in formation over the contours of the Aiguille du Midi, performing some truly graceful lines.
The second aerial demonstration of the day took place over the Lognan Plateau, the mid-way station on the Grandes Mottes, with the same performers plus two hang-gliders.
The day continued down at the Outdoor Games village with the events organized for the public. At the same time, at the Place du Triangle de L’Amitie, two constructed ice-walls caught the eye of the climbing enthusiasts. While everyone was welcome to come and try out the sensation of ice-climbing, the worlds’ best ice-climbers put on a show by competing in a contest. The French girl Stephanie Moreau took home the title.
It was at sundown that the moment that everyone was waiting for, the screening of the films and photos, could start. There was a big crowd ready to applaud the work of all the athletes present. After an exhausting week of filming around Mont-Blanc, the representatives of the seven competing teams were shaking with nerves before finding out who the jury would pick. The jury was made up of specialists from the sports and audiovisual worlds. As acting president, Denis Brogniart went on stage to introduce the members and to comment on the quality of the short-films. Alain Cavalli, Chief of events for the town of Chamonix, announced the prize for best photographer, and Patrick Linqvist handed out the trophy to his Scandinavian compatriot Tero Repo, from the Radical Films team.
As the big moment came, it was the CEO of Nissan France, Pascal Schmitt, who had the honour of announcing the winning team for this first winter edition of the games. The “Aiguille d’or” trophy, as well as 10,000 euros prize money, went to the members of the RIDE THE PLANETS team, who were stoked to receive the honour.
Their film showed their team performing their stunts in the guise of a cartoon. Simple and effective, the screenplay had us all holding our breath for five minutes of pure enchantment. A cartoonist is leaning on a bar, next to him two riders are tallking about how good their day was. Through his drawings, he blends the protagonists into their amazing stunts. The artistic value lies in his ability to blend his drawings into the video. The morphing plays out faultlessly, and once the technical part is finished, the magic can begin.
Already recognized as the premier outdoor sports event in Europe, the number of people who showed up to watch this first edition promises an exciting future, and the organizers are extremely happy with the results. ” In Chamonix, the Outdoor Games have found a home in this setting of pure natural beauty.” Commented David Carlier, co-founder.
Films, video, photos and results can be seen at: outdoorgames.ch