Connect with nature and art in this creative splitboard project by Levi Luggen and Gregor Betschon

Gale is an audiovisual splitboard experience and leads through forests, faces in the Aletsch area and follows a rope team up the Uri Traverse. Levi Luggen and Gregor Betschon show the different facets of touring using dynamic, artistic images and, together with sound artist Andreas Achermann, paint a unique mountain world. The British Joshua Truscott combines image and sound with his lyrical texts so that the emotions and the feeling of the mountains reach the audience. Immerse yourself in this special atmosphere and let yourself drift.

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of K2 splitboard boots, visit the GALE Website here, you’ll also be able to find the soundtrack and poems there soon.

What was the inspiration for Gale?
Originally, we primarily wanted to release a 4-day traverse through the Alps of Uri as a film. This was supposed to take place in spring. Now in January there were meters of snow in the Valais and so we started to film a short movie about riding pow in the forest. In the end we braided the two parts to one film and added a part with splitboarding in the alpine terrain. With this we had the optimal basis to show different facets of spitboarding in one film. The inspirations and ideas around the music and lyrics came from the conversations during the filming. We were looking for ways to retell our experiences in a subtle form of film.

PC: Phil Bucher

Does the name ‘Gale’ have any special meaning?
On the one hand, “Gale” is a Valais German word that refers to a ridge of land covered with grass. The term “Gale” is therefore often found on national maps, like above the Hungerberg, a place where we often filmed. In English, gale means “storm,” which is emblematic of the first part of the film, when we often filmed in stormy weather.

The terrain looks world class, where was it filmed?
Mostly we filmed in the canton of Valais, the traverse of several days took place in the canton of Uri. In addition, there were a few days in central Switzerland.

“With Josh we found an excellent poet with an incomparable voice, who perfectly carries the emotions and feelings to the audience”

Why is splitboarding your medium of choice for this movie and why is it so important to you two as individuals?
Levi: Splitboarding means freedom for me, it gives me the opportunity to independently explore the most remote corners of the Alps. I find exploring barely touched areas one of the most exciting things you can ever do. Even in densely populated Switzerland, there are many such places. So you don’t have to travel halfway around the world and cause a lot of Co2 to experience adventure. Since this is my favorite way to snowboard, it was only logical to film this way. And I hope with the film to inspire others to splitboard as well.

Gregor: I love the conversations in the climb about various topics, there are already so wild theories and funny stories have been told, that distracts from the partly very exhausting climbs :)
Basically, life on a tour runs a little slower than in everyday life, I like that and the possibility to explore new terrain on each tour makes it even more exciting. For the film, it was a medium that allowed us to search and ride our spots at our leisure. Filming at the resort can get very busy.

PC: Simon Ricklin

The overlaid poetry is a lovely unique feature in the film, what inspired including that in Gale?
After the rough cut was done and we found the music with Andreas, the film wasn’t complete. It lacked a unifying element that made the film accessible to less snow enthusiasts. A classical narrative voice didn’t convince us much, so we tried poetry. With Josh we found an excellent poet with an incomparable voice, who perfectly carries the emotions and feelings to the audience.

Can you explain the concept of the premieres with the live music by Andreas Achermann? And what was the thought process behind this decision?
We understand music in a film as a hub for emotions. It is the carrier and transmitter of feelings and allows us to perceive images more intensely and subjectively. We wanted to offer the audience exactly that with “Gale” and so it was clear that the live performance was the key to a special experience. Since Andreas does the soundtrack with his Synthezier, the realization was also realistic. Just the stage design with him on the side next to the screen when we ride through the deep snow – unforgettable.

PC: Phil Bucher

What equipment were you riding throughout filming?
We are both supported by K2 Snowboarding and use their “Freeloader” splitboard, this one is very light, has good stability thanks to Karakoram clips and flies through deep powder like an arrow thanks to the very fast base. For binding and boot, we also rely on the K2 products “Waive” and “Far Out”.

When climbing with the splitboard, you sometimes sweat a lot, so you have to be careful that you don’t become hypothermic during a break or at the summit. Therefore, it helps to wear several thin layers of clothing, so you can always choose the optimal layer for the appropriate weather. As an outer layer, a hardshell with generous ventilation is recommended, so you are equipped for any weather. Personally, I prefer to use the Guch Stretch Gore Tex Jacket and the 3L Bib Overall Pant from Volcom, they have the right material, generous ventilation and enough pockets for all the odds and ends you need for filming splitboarding.

“We are both supported by K2 Snowboarding and use their “Freeloader” splitboard, this one is very light, has good stability thanks to Karakoram clips and flies through deep powder like an arrow thanks to the very fast base”

Can you tell us any funny stories from the experience?
Gregor tried a few times to start running with the skins mounted the wrong way.
And at one of the first premieres, Andreas’ screen saver suddenly kicked in (on the big screen) even though he was still playing music and the credits were rolling. Subsequently, we always double-checked.

Any shoutouts?
We would like to thank all the lovely people who have supported us so generously with this project!

Full list of riders: Levi Luggen, Gregor Betschon, Matthias Schwestermann
Complete list of sponsors: K2 Snowboarding, Doodah, Exped, Hä? Wear, Pow Gloves
Full list of filmmakers: Gregor Betschon, Levi Luggen,
Full list of additional credits:
Music: Andreas Achermann
Poems: Joshua Truscott,
Photo: Phil Bucher, Simon Ricklin
Colors: Oli Schmocker,
Special Thanks: Vera Rijks, David Bertschinger Karg, Kuno Egli, Ahriel Povich, Thomas Landolt, Markus Stoffel

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