A week after coming back from Valdez Alaska I got the chance to get invited on that trip to the West coast of Greenland to shoot a Relentless film called “lives of the artists” picturing three different dimensions, three ways of life expression: surfing, music and snowboarding. As I thought I was going to get to another wintery looking place to get to struggle in some wind blown conditions, I got really shocked as we were on our way to land in a small fishing town on the western fjords of Greenland called Maniitsoq.
The ice cap being so huge and flat gave us really low expectations until we reached the coastal fjords range that welcomed us with a really powerful terrain, full of really long straight couloirs pointing down into the ocean and surrounded by these gigantic glaciers, not to mention the beautiful polished orange granite and that amazing arctic light that really make the place special. Already from the plane we could definitely notice that it wasn’t just another white mountain environment trip but definitely that life time experience that started tickling us when we first heard we would have the chance to go discover Greenland. We landed at two o’clock in Maniitsoq and got enough time to get dressed and geared up. An hour later, we where flying into the heli, reaching the slopes of “Eternity” Fjord. As I started to walk along a snowy ridge towards a small spiny line I started to think about the fact that 24 hours ago I was in tee-shirt wandering around the streets of Toulouse France and that there I was, in Greenland for the first time about to drop into that line in the middle of these amazing fjords of Greenland.
We got to stay in that little village of Kangaamiut 15 mn of heli flight away north of Maniistoq. Around 400 people live in that tiny village on a tiny tiny little island where these colorful houses with hanging dead animals on the outside make that rounded granite island a very interesting and exotic place. Winters seem to be quite long in this place. You get to realize that when you see the number of children playing the street as well as some guys that seems to not be walking that straight already early morning. All in all, I really appreciated the local people. I really like there cold but true manners that definitely fit really well with their amazing environment.
After two half days where we got to discover the area, these incredible fjords and the really inspiring terrain, we got to experience a true wintery storm. Two days of rest where we needed to stock up layers every time we had to go out. We still got to go around to look for some cool litle terrain to play around with. We ended up straight lining these huge stairs above the village and despite the late season and us preferring to be at this moment in a warm environment, we really enjoyed being out in this big storm in this part of the world where mother nature definitely speaks up once in a while…
The storm eventually disappeared pretty much as suddenly as it started and a beautiful sunshine welcomed is to go out and go to experience these unforgettable sunset riding over the ocean. From there on, the trip pretty much rolled out and we got to ride and film these incredible landscapes with a changing but fairly good powder. At some point we had found this 800 meters long straight couloir where the only way to get in there was to get the top of that long really impressive ridge leading to a rappel a the top of the couloir. That ridge was a pretty impressive one with vertical huge walls on both sides and everything looked really fine and doable from the heli until i got in the middle of it. There was this roundish steeper section that I got to where I got really surprised of the amount of fresh snow that was sitting there on such a wind and sun exposed ridge. There was basically a sick thighs high layer of snow on a really exposed ridge, pretty much the biggest amount of snow we’d been encountering in the whole area. I still don’t understand why but that’s the way it was so I stopped as the heli was turning around my head waiting for me to keep on riding but I just decided to trust my feelings and to stop right there and see what the guide’s opinion, Hans, would be.
I really expected him to be quite mellow about it but as he came along and checked that slope, it was nice to see that he had the exact same bad feeling and it felt great to share my impressions especially at the top of such an exposed line. It’s not always easy when you’re on your own to know if your feelings are right or if you mind is just playing with you. Anyways, I really felt there that maturity that I got after last year big avalanche. It’s really tricky to decide to stop in the middle of the run when you’ve already pressed the on button at the top of the line. I felt generally really safe on that trip and the connection with Hans was great on that point. I’m really happy about the way that I just don’t go for it as soon as I see any obvious uncontrolled ridk on the face and at the end of the day, it doesn’t affect the results. It feels good and I really believe that it’s the way to go to keep on being able to enjoy and to push freeriding in such a way.
It’s been an incredible experience to discover Greenland in such cool conditions. We got pretty lucky with the conditions, we had the chance to have a really great crew and at the end of it I really feel that I’ve been doing one of the best trips of my life.
Xavier De Le Rue.
Check out Xavier’s Website HERE
Check out the Lives Of The Artists Trailer HERE