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Partie: a powdersurfing exploration

Text Ben Dieterman

Photos Daniel Schneider Ben Dieterman

Powdersurfing? Powdersurfing!

If this bindingless snow ploughing and gravity flirting activity will ever make the dictionary, it probably would look quite like this: powdersurfing [paʊdə sɜːfɪŋ] gliding down snow-covered slopes without the use of bindings on purpose-built boards. snowsurfing, powsurfing, snurfing, noboarding and mountainsurfing are related terms.

But for now, the dictionary only came handy to doublecheck before really settling on Partie as the title for the powdersurfing exploration movie we’re about to make happen. Partie? A word of french origin, with more than one adequate german meaning and related expressions in the english language.

Thanks to trailblazers like Gregg Todds and Wolfgang Nyvelt powdersurfing is definitely out of its infancy stages by now and fairly well-known. But somehow many boardsport enthusiasts still haven’t given it a try or misjudge it as a novelty thing for oversaturated powder hounds only riding the deepest powder in Canada or Japan. Time to change this, time to spread the fever.

We love snowboarding. Actually, a lot. But there was always a certain urge to unstrap from time to time. Sometimes just one foot, sometimes two…and yes snowskating got tried as well…, but nah. Powdersurfing that was the discovery.

Snowboarding is already so diverse and so worth celebrating all its manifold opportunities. You just can’t get enough. And then bam… a whole new world. Skip the bindings and the mountains become an even bigger playground. Don’t get me wrong here, this is not a tiny bit about slowing down your snowboarding, this is about having an option on top, a chance to find thrills in even the simplest terrain, celebrate gliding on snow anew topped off with some delicious surfing and skateboard flavour. 

And yes, there is an extra portion of freedom to powdersurfing. Hard to pin down what exactly it is, as it is more than the definite lack of straps, is it the possibility to jump on or off at any time, the opportunity to let all of your body move unrestrictedly, the minimalistic equipment, the wider choice of fun terrain, the feeling of acting on the verge of control?

We are far from striving to find precise answers, we are simply motivated to have a look at how powdersurfing is currently celebrated by a selection of individuals that hold this activity in high regards.

The characters we will portray are chosen for the original approach, their unique characters and their enthusiasm towards this topic. Some devote as many days possible to the bindingless bliss, others only head out when the conditions are really calling for. 

Most of them are rather unknown and still they all do their fair share to spread the powdersurfing excitement in appropriate manners and never cease to inspire the people they meet along the way. We prefer to keep further details about the personnel discreet till the movie is ready.

What we can give away is the fact that most of the filming will happen at home in the alps as we want to promote the big advantage of powdersurfing being perfect to get fresh thrills while rediscovering your home turfs. No need to travel far, the local hills is where it’s at.

You might need to readjust how you interpret the terrain, but only for good. If you don’t adapt to the terrain and conditions, you’re off. Learn to read what’s given to you and then play with it.

In general, it’s far from an exclusive thing and this project is no exception, lots of the sessions are announced publicly and everybody is welcome. Welcome to explore and celebrate powdersurfing together.

As the driving creative behind this project I confess that the general idea for a movie project like this has been around a bit, but it only took shape with the time passing and meeting more and more interesting people along the way. 

Also, personally, only grasping the full potential of this whole thing as time passed and experiences were made. It’s only limited, if your imagination and motivation is.

You can pimp your grip with magnets and fly a bit further, ride on nothing but a bare wood board on those perfect days, take an extra-long board to some mellow hills, do first descents on glaciers or down couloirs, try skateboard tricks in spring slush or just go for some afternoon fun with your kid on the local sled hill. The possibilities are endless. Do what you feel like. 

This puristic art of turning on snow sans bindings deserves some more exploration, celebration and documentation. And that’s what we gonna do.

We start the filming with the first runs when the grass hills are barely covered by the first snowfalls and then simply follow the unpredictable flow of the upcoming winter season and wrap up when the season comes to an end around may. The first teaser for the movie will drop in january 2020 and a second one two months later. After screenings at film festivals and similar occasions in early fall 2020, the full movie will be made available for free online in late november 2020. 

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