Riding Wild In Alaska
Photography by Tero Repo
‘In our world, everyone sees exploration as finding a place no one has touched, but maybe exploration is also about finding a new way to do things.’ – Xavier De Le Rue
In Spring 2015, The North Face team riders, Xavier De Le Rue, Sam Anthamatten and Ralph Backstrom completed their two-year exploration project, Degrees North. The team dove into the remotest corners of the world in Svalbard and Alaska over two seasons, in search of steep angles on virgin territory. The expedition is a project driven by the team’s will to explore – exploring places no one has ever seen before, exploring new ways of accessing and riding through new terrain, and exploring new ways to document it all. The team returned in April and were the first in the world to perform triumphant drop-ins from paramotor wings. On top of successfully pushing boundaries of the sport by introducing paramotor freeriding to the world, the expedition also resulted in a stunning exploration film.
Degrees North goes beyond the mere exploration of a landscape with Xavier at the helm, and became about exploration of ways to reach, ride, and share these experiences. Traditionally, the team would access the top of the line on foot or by helicopter. However, in these cases, lines inaccessible by either method have to be dropped out of consideration entirely. The team had originally introduced paramotor wings as scoping tools in Svalbard to find the best line, then they pushed for more innovative uses of the paramotor wings in Alaska, and activated them as drop-in tools. This allowed the team to ride in places previously deemed out of reach, Also, places that would have previously required four to five hours of climbing to get to is now reachable in 10 minutes.
Together with director Guido Perrini documenting the journey on paramotor wings, Degrees North brings a new vantage point to the audience and gives them a fresh way of experiencing the adrenaline rush of freeriding in some of the world’s most stunning locations. Screenings will be held this Autumn at select locations and film festivals around the world including the Kendal Mountain Festival. Watch the trailer here.
For more information visit thenorthfacejournal.com/degrees-north