“I had it all in Patagonia and I had the time of my life!” says pro snowboarder and 2011 freeride world champion Anne-Flore Marxer. “Wilderness, adventure, stunning landscapes, lakes, mountains, nature in its pure state, delicious meat, dulce de leche, amazing wines, alfajores (South American sandwich cookies), tango, Cumbia, hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding, snowboarding, split boarding….”
Skiers Thibaud Duchosal and Lucas Swieykowski reserved a spot for a snowboarder (“A girl even!” Anne-Flore exclaims) on their Patagonian filming expedition last season, and she scored that spot. Which meant Anne-Flore and the guys rode horseback to the bottom of the faces they planned to ski and board in an area called Baguales. Hours away from the closest ski resort, they only reached their ski destination after riding through wilderness and multiple river crossings.
“Jumping on a horse with my riding stuff on the back, [I was the] happiest kid on earth—so many teeth on my smiling face!” Anne-Flore remembers.
Through the daily rhythm of skinning up the mountains and riding or skiing down them, the crew admired the Andean Condors overhead and smiled—a lot.
“I really needed to change my way of discovering the mountains to fullfill my thirst for adventure, that feeling of freedom,” she says, “and it all came to me with RISE, a splitboarding journey into the deep of the mountains of Patagonia.”
The ski and mountain movie they filmed in Baguales, RISE, has since won “Best Action Sports Film of the Year” at the Danish Adventure Film Festival in Copenhagen and an award at “Prix du Public” àl’International Freeride Film Festival à Cauterets, France.
But Anne-Flore seems more focused on the thrill than on the film. Her highlight: dropping in. “[It’s] finally my favorite moment, that first instant of speed, when you enter your line and discover your run before your eyes, soundless, timeless. It’s no longer a run, it’s a journey.”
She—and I think many of us can identify—better appreciates the landscape and environment when she’s backcountry splitboarding rather than resort skiing. Plus, she says, it balances the adrenaline of riding down steep terrain with the feeling of accomplishment after hiking up.
“There is something so special about hiking a mountain before dropping in. Yes, it gives access to more terrain, but it is much more than that—a sort of meditation even.”
The Patagonian splitboarding trip wasn’t all smiles and deep powder though. They battled wind, unstable wind pack in higher altitudes, changing temperatures, bony mountain ridges, snow storms, fast moving clouds, difficult visibility, and cold.
That experience, Anne-Flore says, “helped me RISE from a ‘pow shredder’ into a mountain-passionate soul.”
We’d guess it was worth it.
Here’s the RISE trailer for your vicarious dreams!
Follow Anne-Flore on Facebook for more adventures (facebook.com/annefloremarxer). And look for another Women’s Adventure post this December with the scoop on her next ski film, SEDNA.