Shelter – An interview with Thomas DelfinoEvents
Shelter follows five friends as they embark on a human-powered journey exploring the historic mountain huts of the Alps with their guide friend Serge. He shows them how he has witnessed a changing landscape – and the impact of climate change in the high mountains of the years. Presented by Picture Organic Clothing, Shelter premieres at Kendal Mountain Festival 2019. Thomas Delfino, pro snowboarder, tells us a bit more about the project.
For premiere information visit kendalmountainfestival.com
How did the concept for Shelter, and the group of different riders, come about?
The original idea came from Mat Schaer. He wanted to create a project with the central question of transportation and how we move from one mountain to another. Along with me, Levi Luggen was also in this project since the beginning. Then we went to see if Picture wanted to be part of this and we brought Leo on board with us. Jeremy Jones was the last addition to our group. It was a true honour to have such a legend with us and to share some riding with him.
In this film, you share a playground most of you have grown up near. What was it like filming in locations you know, and sharing them with the world?
For most of the areas we were shooting, it was a first time for each of us. It was close to our homes, and we knew that the terrain would be sick for riding, but winters are short and we are usually too busy with other projects to go there. The Alps are a great playground. When you leave the busy trails you can find some real gems. I recommend for people to explore, go have a look and see what is behind the next ridge – you will probably find another ridge to explore behind it, and eventually some sick terrain!
How do you see splitboarding as having a role in environmentalism?
For me, splitboarding is the best way to immerse myself into nature, at least in winter. I think that if people can reconnect with nature then it will be easy to understand why we need to protect it. So get out, grab a splitboard, and go explore the mountains!
What was it like collaborating with different riders/skiers on this film?
It is always great to share some lines with your friends. I’ve been riding with Leo for a few years now; we know each other, how we each work, our styles and line choices. So it is actually great to ride together. We talk before picking a line, discuss what we’re going to do. Mat is a really inspirational rider too. He charges. And Levi is someone I like a lot as well – a really peaceful person with a lot of strength.
Although big resorts keep growing and travel becomes cheaper, have you seen a shift in ski culture in the Alps with regards to sustainability?
I think that touring has become more and more popular. Some resorts are really pushing in that direction, while other resorts are leading with environmental topics and taking them into consideration in their development. On the other hand, we see some big ski resorts expanding and building crazy indoor facilities because they are realising that their glacier is melting fast. So, I really hope that there will be more initiatives respecting nature in the near future, and fewer projects where the main objective is to make more money.
You and the other guys in the film talked about your personal roles as influencers to set a good example. What about brands and the ski industry? Do you think it’s possible for brands that need to sell products to also be part of environmental sustainability?
I think brands have a lot to do in terms of sustainability. Picture Organic Clothing is doing a lot in that direction – respecting the environment and the people working for them as well. Picture’s goal, after being one of the first brands to produce technical outerwear made out of recycled plastic, and now bio-sourced plastic, is to get out of the petrol industry. It is a real effort and I hope it will have some impact on people’s behaviour as well.
We all know about the climate crisis and I hope that everyone is doing what they can, but if the biggest corporations show an example, that is where it will make a big difference.
How has your own approach to big mountain adventures changed since creating Shelter?
Before Shelter, I was already super into splitboarding, but now I know that it is where I want to push my snowboarding.
Since Shelter I also think a lot more about my CO2 footprint and try to stay as close to home as I can to produce new content. Even if I keep doing some bigger adventures further afield, I don’t stop thinking about my footprint. My next big adventure will definitely take this aspect into consideration.
Shelter premieres at the Kendal Mountain Festival. What would you say to encourage the snow-sports audience over there, who typically have to fly to get adventures like this one, but would like to ski sustainably?
I know flying is easy, quick, and cheap. If you need to get your powder fix, it’s totally understandable – but maybe you can try to make a difference at the location where you are going. For example, try to generate less waste, taking public transportation instead of renting a car. Try to ask yourself some basic questions and think about where you can make a difference. Just thinking about it could be a good first step.
Every November, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from across the globe gather in Kendal to share and celebrate the best stories from the world of adventure. Stories of human endurance, breathtaking environments, and soul-stirring journeys. With over 150 speakers and entertaining events covering 12 adventure sports, KMF’s vision is to inspire more people to enjoy, respect and represent mountains, wilderness and their cultures.
Find out more about KMF and the premiere of Shelter here.