K2 Ski Alliance in the Swiss Alps

Upon the arrival of spring in the Alps, a trifecta of K2 Ski Alliance ladies descended on the small mountain village of Mürren, Switzerland with big smiles, endless dance moves and mad shred skills. Good contacts and word of a hefty snowpack led us to the Schilthorn mountain, which juts directly out of the town of Mürren, to film ski segments for K2’s team movie as well as Lynsey Dyer’s all female ski film, Pretty Faces. After a lengthy day of travel, Pip Hunt, Amie Engerbretson and myself settled comfortably into the Hotel Jungfrau and gawked at the glorious views of the Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger for the rest of the evening. We were primed and ready for the next weeks of great skiing and serious fun.

Our amazingly talented videographer (and Amie’s father), Jeff Engerbretson, cracked over the radio “camera ready whenever you are, the light is great right now.” Across the way, on-top of a rocky peak; Amie giggles and pulls the radio out of her pocket, “Jeeze dad, just hang on a second OK? We are gopro-ing heel click shots up here.” This set the tone for our trip. All fun and play with a little seriousness mixed in. Filming ski segments can be tough; the snow, avalanche conditions, weather, and light all need to align in order to get a worthy shot. Of course, assuming the athlete is perfectly on her mark, which we always were. Our group dynamic proved ideal, from prepping to drop into an intimidating steep chute or working through our Spice Girl-inspired dance routines, there was 100-percent support, 100-percent of the time.

We pushed ourselves to ski at our best ability, helping each other to overcome the fear and intimidation that goes along with pushing your personal skill. The words “yeah girl, you’ve got this,” had never meant so much. When your guide begins the first day by saying, “there is no showing off here, if you fall, you die,” moral support and camaraderie becomes very important. We all had our humbling experiences while on the Schilthorn, from being rung through a washing machine of sluff to literally skiing into snow-bridged, endlessly deep holes. Support from the other girls, along with a little stubbornness, had us hiking back up to try it again and again. The constantly changing snow conditions really kept us on our toes. We would ski knee-deep powder, corn, frozen avalanche debris, wind buff and rock hard ice all in the same day or even the same run!  K2’s new 13/14 Remedy 102 skis were ideal for these conditions as they were fat enough to float through the deep pow, but versatile enough to hold an edge on the steep, icy faces. For the few deeper days, we threw on the Remedy 117’s for a little extra float. This ski’s stability and 117 mm waist had us ripping fast turns and stomping all of our landings.

Throughout the two weeks, we spent about half of our time in the backcountry searching for untouched lines. Luckily, we had mountain guide and local legend, Hannes Stahli, to show us the ropes. Hannes became known for making THE perfect turn and was always the most excited person in the group. We struggled to keep up with him, well… all expect for Pip, who’s super lightweight K2 TalkBack skis had her leading the charge uphill. This ski floated beautifully through wind buff and a few cm’s of fresh, putting her out front on the descent as well. At the end of each day we would race each other through the on-slope villages, throwing in as many spread eagles as possible, eventually ending at Hotel Jungfrau’s Gondel Bar. The Goldel Bar proved to be the ideal place for après with its plethora of booze, in-house game of stump and custom made couch sled.

We became known around town as the Schilthorn girls, or the K2 girls… or the three blonde girls. I believe we made quite the impression on the quiet mountain village, if not for our skiing, then definitely for our crazy dancing antics. Amie brought forth some serious skills from her ex-all-girl hip hop crew days and I was blown away when Pip busted out an impromptu Salt-n-Pepa rap segment through the streets of Mürren. We choreographed synchronized moves while walking through the village and sang on top of peaks. We were even lucky enough to haphazardly partake in the Schilthorn Tram’s first ever Harlem Shake.

It was the K2 Ski Alliance who brought us together and made a simple ski film trip into such as crazy fun adventure. Of course we were going to have the time of our lives, the Alliance harbors camaraderie and all out fun. It wouldn’t have happened any other way. Anyone can become a part of the Alliance; it is simply a huge grouping of wonderful women in all parts of the ski industry from professional athletes to product developer to sales representatives and any woman that skis on K2. Check it out and maybe find a little inspiration to do a ski trip of your own.  You can keep updated through the K2 Ski Alliance Facebook page as well as on Instagram @k2_ski_alliance.

 

Photos by Jeff Engerbretson

Words by McKenna Peterson