Mat Schaer, part of the Picture Family since 2 years, is always motivated for crazy video projects as In Gora movie.
For the FW18 season, he collaborated again with Absinthe Movie for a crazy part in his home spot !
What does it mean to you to shoot this year again with Absinthe ?
I’ve been filming with Absinthe Films for 7 years now and we have always spent a lot of time in the Alps. One of the main cameraman is from Champéry, my home resort, so it is convenient to shoot in the area. It’s also nice to have a part next to the big names in today’s snowboarding scene, such as Nicolas Müller and John Jackson.
It seems like you’re using more and more the natural features of the terrain. Enough to shape kickers all day long ?
For sure riding natural terrain means spending more time on my snowboard and less time shaping, which is quite pleasant. In addition, it also makes the pursuit of a shot more interesting to me, since I have to find spots not “meant” to be ridden and adapt to them. Two spots are never the same and the possibilities are endless. It’s really only up to the rider to “read” the terrain and imagine what to do with it. I find this approach pure, beautiful and creative. Finally, it’s also a way to go more technical in the backcountry and help the sport evolve without necessarily having to increase the number of spins in our tricks.
We have also noticed that you’re now spending most of your winters in your local mountains. Are you fed up with flying thousands of kilometers every winter in search of powder?
I’ve enjoyed travelling to amazing places for snowboarding. However, I started to feel trapped in a paradox: having a very carbon-intensive lifestyle to chase good winter conditions that tend to disappear due to the climate warming induced by carbon emissions. Right when my snowboard career really took off (about 5 years ago), I made the choice to start a degree in environmental sciences and focus on the mountains near where I live to film my video parts.
Now that I’m more aware of the environmental challenge humanity is facing, especially climate change, and the need to reduce global carbon emissions, I’m convinced that it’s the right way to go. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) just released their new report saying that we need to cut off global emissions to nearly zero by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C and avoid worldwide catastrophic effects.
This means that rapid serious efforts must be made quickky in every domain: politics, economics, industry, and at the personal level too if we want to have a chance to reach this goal. My way to participate is to make my job and passion more eco-friendly, for example by taking the public transportation and limit the distances I travel. This choice hasn’t prevented me from riding good pow every winter and making video parts that are watched around the world. In fact, I became persuaded that it’s possible to do “better with less”, in action sports as in any other profession, which is the philosophy at the core of real sustainability.
Isn’t it frustrating to stop discovering new spots/stuff?
There are thousands of peaks in most mountain ranges, each of them with many spots to ride, and they are all being different every winter due to the chaging snow conditions. In fact, every area I go I see a lifetime of spots to ride. There is often so much to discover in your own backyard if you dig a little more. I’m not saying I want to stop traveling, because I do like to see new cultures, new landscapes etc.
However, in the context of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it’s a good thing to focus a little more on what we have at hand, which is often underestimated compared to the more “exotic” destinations. In the end, the way I see it, exploring does not really mean rushing through airports to travel thousands of kilometers from one place to the other, but rather taking the time to understand the environment, the culture and the people at a destination I travel to. I think there are plenty of ways to fill our desires for exploration while having lower ecological footprint.
Any plans for the coming winter?
I’m working on a splitboard project to raise awareness on climate change in the action sport community in order to show what can be done to keep enjoying our passion while reducing the associated carbon footprint. More info coming soon.