In the late 70s, skiing was primarily an on-piste activity and the sport’s biggest stars were Olympic-bound racers. But a cabin-full of ex-pats in a small town called Clambin in the French Alps changed that. Documented by lensmen Mark Shapiro and Ace Kvale, images of big mountain lines, cliff hucks, and face shots made their way back to North America and extreme skiing exploded onto the scene, making stars of guys like Glen Plake and Scot Schmidt and inspiring thousands of young people to drop everything and ski. This is the birth of big mountain skiing.
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“We were young and strong and beautiful.” – Mark Shapiro
“Picture a cozy Swiss soul chalet in a bucolic farm village, prayer flags fluttering from the balcony, base layers drying on outdoor clotheslines, a hint of ‘70s rock floating on the breeze. The two middle-aged men who live in this place have been through a lot together—the golden era of ski bumming, the halcyon days of semi-stardom, marriages and divorces—and now they’re together under one roof, just like 35 years ago. With less hair on their skulls and many more powder turns under their feet, they are at once wiser and younger than their ages would suggest, but in reality, not much has changed between them.
Except their address. The legacies that Mark Shapiro and John Falkiner carved into the ski world began in a place up the hill from their present dwelling, at a postcard-perfect sleepy hamlet called Clambin, where an alpine aesthetic was born…”
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