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Beyond Performance

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Beyond Performance
 

Stories Behind the Gear: Moncler Grenoble
A balance of creativity, quality and passion
Written by John Summerton // Photography courtesy of Moncler & Chetzeron

Throughout my life I’ve continually immersed myself in visual communication, typography, architecture, and various graphic design philosophies. For me, it’s about finding the right balance between craftsmanship and creativity, and my personal goal for Sidetracked has always been around invisible design – producing something so seemingly simple and minimalist and entirely focused on allowing the content to shine through. I’ve always drawn inspiration from creative individuals and brands that push their own boundaries and attempt to alter the perspectives of others. So when I was invited out to Crans Montana to review the latest Moncler Grenoble range, this was most definitely an opportunity not to be missed.

The Grenoble collection is Moncler’s technical skiwear line, engineered for peak performance. To launch the new collection, director Jonas Lindstroem worked with French freeskier Richard Permin to produce a short film – one conveying the essence of Moncler Grenoble’s mantra ‘Beyond Performance’ in the most challenging conditions, showcasing the thrill, passion, and skill of skiing Chile’s glacial Quetrupillán volcano.

 
Beyond Performance Beyond Performance
 

The film is quite unique and tie’s in nicely with one of Moncler’s five mantra’s: Embrace Crazy.

We strive for timeless brand distinction. We are unconventional and unique. We foster our inner genius and our creative edge. We bring bold dreams, crazy and apparently unreachable ideas to life, always with great rigor. We feed our energy as we believe everything truly great was often born crazy.

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I was part of a small team selected to test out various items from the range, including the Hintenburg Ski Jacket and Grenoble Ski Pants. Although this was just a brief first look and test run, it’s clear that this is a premium and considered range. Attention to detail shines through in both design and build quality. The laser-engraved vents on the Hintenburg jacket, for example, subtly reference the Moncler motif without detracting from usage – plus there are heat-sealed seams, a RECCO reflector, YKK AquaGuard zips. But it’s about more than just the technology. The jacket looks great and just seems to… work. Invisible design.

‘It’s about blending creativity with ergonomic design that is purely about pursuing perfection in performance and style,’ says Roberto Eggs, Moncler’s executive director, as we chat happily about a number of subjects surrounding design, typography, and style through to active pursuits and winter sports. ‘We’re able to leverage 70 years of outdoor expertise and brand heritage. Moncler Grenoble combines brand DNA with tomorrow’s innovation, developed for whatever the mountain brings, year round.’

We’re aptly placed in Chetzeron’s restaurant – a converted gondola station with its own design and architecture story (and home to a Moncler pop-up store for much of this season).

Built in the early 1960s, the Chetzeron gondola station closed in 2003 and was abandoned for a while before the new owner, Sami Lamaa, had the vision to make use of the exceptional setting and create a bespoke and completely unique hotel and restaurant. Overlooking Crans-Montana, Chetzeron offers a breathtaking view of majestic peaks: the Bishorn, the Weisshorn, the Obergabelhorn, the Zinalrothorn, the Besso, the Dent Blanche, and even the Matterhorn.

The space has a refined design and singular architecture, using mainly stone, oak, and glass in the form of vast windows throughout. This combination offers incredible light and attempts to recreate the warm atmosphere of a mountain refuge. But it’s the location that is the true luxury here – providing silence, space, and the surrounding nature.

 
Beyond Performance Beyond Performance Beyond Performance
Photography by Claus Brechenmacher // Chetzeron
Beyond Performance
 

We’re joined by Kevin Rolland, French Olympic medalist, multi X Games champion, and friend of Moncler. The conversation moves on to recovery, resilience, and his return from a horrific injury. In 2019, Rolland attempted the world record quarterpipe high jump. Unfortunately it didn’t go as planned and he crash landed.

‘I spent three days in a coma. I broke my pelvis, almost all my ribs, vertebrae. I had head trauma and many of my organs were damaged, especially my lungs. It was pretty serious,’ Rolland explains.

On awakening from the coma (to learn that he’d also become a dad during that time too), his recovery and rehabilitation had to begin with learning to walk again, then run, then eventually ski. Everything was achingly slow – and amplified by new fears that quickly became mental blockers every time he skied. It was in Crans Montana almost a year later that he returned to the halfpipe, dropping in with a new belief in himself and overcoming the demons that had haunted him for the preceding months. He went on to qualify and compete in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which he claims as one of his biggest life achievements so far.

***

The following morning, I’m up and out early to carve the first tracks. The sun is low and it’s clearly going to be one of those bluebird days. It’s been unseasonably warm in the Alps this January, but up at 2,400m the well-groomed slopes have a decent enough covering. I take my time, enjoying the flow, tranquility and carving parallel lines before the main lifts open. For me it’s a moment to reflect on shared passions, of balancing an appreciation of the outdoors, and finding joy and discovery through appreciation of creativity and design.


Find out more about the Grenoble Collection via moncler.com // @moncler // #MonclerGrenoble
Written by John Summerton // @johnsummerton

Film Credits:
Director: Jonas Lindstroem @jonas_lindstroem
Dop: Matias Boucard @boucardmatias
Skier: Richard Permin @richardpermin

 

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