List of ski descents of Eight-Thousanders

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Albeit arbitrary, the mountaineering community groups Earth's 14 mountains with summits exceeding 8,000 meters (26,000 feet), referred to as eight-thousanders, as a special category of peaks defining the "top of the world."[1] Only an elite group of mountaineers can claim to have summited all 14 peaks and many have perished trying.[2] (See eight-thousanders for current list.) Particularly since 1978 when Italian expeditionist Reinhold Messner became the first to have climbed all 14 8000m peaks, summiting the eight-thousanders has become the ultimate goal for many high altitude mountaineers.[3] Similarly, the ski-mountaineering community has set its sights on skiing from the summits of the "eight-thousanders." In a 2007 interview for the film Skiing Everest, the Tyrolean mountaineer and skier, Hans Kammerlander articulated the challenge for the ski-mountaineering community: "Almost all peaks have been reached, almost all walls have been climbed. But seldom have the walls been skied down... It would be a lovely project if I could see someone who could ski all 8,000m peaks." [4]

"Skiers" include those using either alpine or telemark equipment or, in two instances, a "mono ski." The category here excludes snowboarders on the premise that the orientation of the skier's body to a slope differs significantly from that of a "boarder" affecting the capacities to negotiate a pitch. A separate entry tracks snowboard descents on 8000 meter peaks (Snowboard Descents From Above 8000m: Database). Even within the category of "skiers" equipment has evolved significantly from the time of Yuichiro Miura's first foray on skis above 8000m in 1970. Big mountain skiers have benefited greatly from incorporation of lighter and stronger composite materials into the manufacture of skis, boots and bindings, reducing the carry weight of their ski gear in addition to similar advances in designs for their other climbing gear and attire. Today's ski-mountaineer has likely shaved 20–25 lb (9.1–11.3 kg).) off their gear packs compared to when, for example, Sylvain Saudan hop turned down the face of Gasherbrum I in 1982, perhaps the first full descent of an 8000 meter peak.[5] The length, width and shape of skis has evolved to facilitate turning and flotation in deeper snow conditions. (Reports for most high altitude descents actually are far more likely to complain of hard, rutted ice than deep snow.[4] Back country skiing whether at altitude or on the lower ranges has also seen the development of "alpine touring" bindings with detached and fixed heel configurations for use in both upslope (in the "walk" configuration) and downslope (in the "fixed-heel" configuration).

Mountaineers apply rigorous standards to define an "ascent" and its "purity." The use of oxygen, for example, is vigorously debated, and it has become practice for trip reports to distinguish ascents supported by oxygen (O2)from those foregoing O2 use.[3] But for mountaineers at least the basic standard of attaining a summit with safe return is fairly absolute, the issue of documentation aside. Debate over use of 02, amount of assistance from Sherpas, line of ascent and other nits are qualifiers to the purity of the ascent. In ski mountaineering, the added dimension of the purity of the descent further muddies the standards at this time. Is the top the highest elevation of the snow line or is it the geological summit? Does a descent need to be continuous and what is the consideration for terrain in the middle of the mountain that is "un-skiable?" Does it matter if the skis come off during some portion of the descent to abseil a portion? While the standards of a mountaineering ascent still apply (including notation of O2 use), skiing, and the vagaries of "skiable" terrain add numerous variables to evaluating the purity of a descent.[6] Any database of ski descents is therefore likely to include heterogenous data.

Of the fourteen 8000 m peaks, clearly some peaks are more skiable than others as reflected in the number of descents to date (see below). Everest, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, GasherBrum II and Shisha Pangma have all seen more than 5 expeditions ski from above 8000 m. On the other hand, there are no reported ski descents from above 8000 m on Kangchenjunga, Makalu and Broad. Dhaulagiri and Nanga Parbat have been conquered by only one expedition each. Jamie Laidlaw made the lone descent on Lhotse but not from the summit; Hans Kammerlander skied the top 400 meters of K2 but no further.

Some Firsts:

  • 1970: Yuichiro Miura (Japan) made the first ski tracks above 8000m in preparation for his epic schuss starting near the south col of Everest for the film The Man Who Skied Down Everest.[7]
  • The honor of being first to ski from the top of an 8000m peak depends on the standard applied: Yves Morin (France) skied off the top of Annapurna in 1979 and over the course of the expedition skied all segments of the descent. However, he died while descending from the summit.[8] Joseph Millinger and Peter Woergoetter (both Austrian) skied from approximately 30m below the rocky knob summit of Manaslu in 1981.[9] The top knob was most likely not skiable due to lack of snow. However, in 2011, a cornice enabled Adrian Ballinger of the United States to "ski" from the same summit. Swiss extreme skier Sylvain Saudan's 1982 3000 m descent on skis from the top of Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak) may be the first complete descent from the top of an 8000m peak. With estimated 3000 jump turns down a continuous 50 degree pitch Saudan's run off the top of GI is in any calculation one of the most daring extreme ski runs of all time.[10]
  • 1988: Veronique Perillat (France) was the first woman to ski from the top of an 8000er and the first woman to ski from over 8000 meters, skiing off the top of Cho Oyu on a monoski.[11]
  • 2000: Davo Karničar (Slovenia) completed the first top to bottom (base camp) descent of Everest (South Col route) without removing his skis. However, he benefited from 02 use. There has not been a similar ascent/descent of Everest without oxygen. 1996: Hans Kammerlander (Italy) skied the top 300 meters of Everest but climbed down to 7700m before skiing to Advance Base Camp. Kammerlander skied the North Col route.[12]
  • 2006: Kit DesLauriers (United States) was the first woman to ski off the top of Everest.[8]

Notes on compiling this database of high altitude skiers: The 8000 meter ski database includes ski descents using alpine, telemark or mono ski equipment from above 8000m. It does not include snowboard descents. In addition to the entrant’s name and peak identification, each entry details the estimated highest and lowest skied elevations, the route, use of oxygen, ski method and other very brief notes on the descent. A single reference for each entry is noted although often multiple sources are available. Notation: "c"=camp; "bc"=base camp; "abc"=advanced base camp; "m"=meter.

EVEREST - NEPAL/CHINA - 8850 meters [13]

Skier Name Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Hans Kammerlander ITA 1996 8848 N. face from top 300m, 1000m by foot, ski to abc.[12] NO 39
Davo Karničar SLO 2000 8848 S. col 1st summit to bc ski descent without removing skis, 4h:40min[8] YES 37
Kit DesLauriers USA 2006 8848 S. col 1st woman to ski off summit[8] YES 36
Jimmy Chin USA 2006 8848 S. col abseiled hillary skis on; hike to 200m above s.col; ski to col; night at 7800; lhotse face to abc[8] YES 33
Rob Deslauriers USA 2006 8848 S. col abseiled hillary skis on; hike to s.col; night at 7800; lhotse face to abc[8] YES 41
Olof Sundstrom SWE 2006 8848 N. ridge to abc (6400), removed skis for several sections[8] YES 25
Martin Letzer SWE 2006 8848 N. ridge to abc (6400), removed skis for several sections[8] YES 25
Tormod Granheim NOR 2006 8848 Norton to 8800; 8750 to 8500; 8480 to 7100 camped overnight; to 6500m[8] YES 31
Tomas Olsson SWE 2006 8848 Norton died from fall at 8500[8] YES 30
Pierre Tardivel FRA 1992 8760 S. col to c2. world altitude record at time[14] YES 28
Dominique Perret SUI 1996? 8300 N. face Hornblein couloir, n. face[15] NO 34
Jean Afanassieff FRA 1978 8200 S. col to 6200 "not in one smooth run"[8][16] YES 25
Nicolas Jaeger FRA 1978 8200 S. col to 6200 "not in one smooth run"[8][16] YES 31
Reinhard Patschneider ITA 1987 8200 lhotse face from S. col fell dislocated shoulder[8] YES 30
Brice Lequertier FRA 2003 8200 S. col to 6100[8] ? 26
Yuichiro Miura JPN 1970 8082 S. col 5-6 turns to S. Col, then wore parachute in schuss to ~6200, ended with fall[7] YES 37

K2- PAKISTAN - 8611 meters

Skier Name Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Hans Kammerlander ITA 2001 8611 Abruzzi skied top 400m, climbed rest of route due to conditions and pitch[8] NO 44
David Watson USA 2009 8351 Abruzzi skied to c3 (7351), downclimbed pyramid and chimney, skied 6400 to 5100[17] YES 34

KANGCHENJUNGA - NEPAL - 8586 meters

No ski descents from above 8000 meters

LHOTSE - NEPAL - 8516 meters

Skier Name Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Jamie Laidlaw USA 2007 8300 Face to 6400 at night[8] YES 27

MAKALU - NEPAL - 8586

No ski descents from above 8000 meters

CHO OYU - NEPAL - 8188 meters

Skier Name Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Veronique Perillat FRA 1988 8188 NW side monoski, first woman from 8000m[18] NO 26
Halvard Stave NOR 2001 8188 NW side to rock band at 7800; c3 to c2; fell 300m but ok[8] YES 25
Thierry Renard FRA 1987 8188 NW side to 6200 - descent disputed[8] NO 41
Russell Reginald Brice NZL 1996 8188 W. ridge -W. face to 7500[8] YES 44
Hajime Terayama JPN 2000 8188 NW side to 7400[8] YES 33
Laura Bakos USA 2000 8188 NW side to 6600 w/ overnight at camp 3[8] NO 32
Vladimir Smrz SUI 2000 8188 NW side to c2, removed skis at yellow band[8] NO 35
Vladislav Terzyul UKR 2000 8188 NW side to c2; side stepped certain rock bands[8] NO 47
Viki Groselj SLO 2001 8188 NW side top to c1, overnight at c2; no snow below c1[8] NO 49
Kristoffer Erickson USA 2001 8188 NW side to c3(7500)[19] YES 28
Kazuka Hiraide JPN 2001 8188 NW side to c3(7500)[8] NO 22
Thomas Laemmle GER 2003 8188 NW side to rock band 7800; 7600 to serac (6800); 6750 to snow end (6000)[8] NO 37
Wilhemus Pasquier SUI 2003 8188 NW side to C1 (6400)[8] NO 54
Greg Nieuwenhuys NED 2004 8188 NW side to 8000, overnight at c3 (7500), ski c3/c2 and 6750/6400[8] NO 24
Takashi Nizayama JPN 2004 8188 NW side skinned up from 8000; skied from summit to 8000[8] YES 43
Tomas Olsson SWE 2004 8188 NW side continuous to c1 (6400)[8] NO 28
Tormod Granheim NOR 2004 8188 NW side continuous to c1 (6400)[8] NO 30
Martin Walter Schmidt NZL 2004 8188 NW side continuous to c1 (6400)[8] NO 44
Todd Cavell Windle NZL 2004 8188 NW side to 7800[8] YES 30
Jean Noel Urban FRA 2005 8188 NW side continuous to c2(6750)[8] NO 45
Kasha Rigby USA 2005 8188 NW side to abc (5700) with overnight at c2; 1st telemark descent[8] YES 35
Hilaree O'Neill USA 2005 8188 NW side to abc with overnight at c2[8] YES 32
Kenton Edward Cool GBR 2006 8188 NW Side to abc (abseiled icefall c2-c1)[8] YES 33
Dusan Debelak SLO 2006 8188 NW side to c2 (6750)[8] NO 40
Octavio DeFazio ARG 2006 8188 NW side to c1 (6400) (except 10m ice cliff)[8] YES 36
Martina Palm SUI 2006 8188 NW side to c1 (6400) (except 10m ice cliff)[8] YES 32
Steve Marolt USA 2007 8188 NW side to c1 (6600)[8][20] NO 42
Medhi Didault FRA 2007 8188 NW side to c1 (6600)[8] NO 22
Tyler Johnson USA 2007 8188 NW side to abc (5700) with overnight at c2[8] NO 31
Rory Stark USA 2007 8188 NWside to abc (5700) with overnight at c2[8] NO 36
James Gile USA 2007 8150 NW side to c1(6600)[8] NO 43
Michael Aasheim USA 2005 8100 NW Side skied to abc (5700) (thru icefall)[8] NO 43
Daniel McCann USA 2005 8100 NW side skied to abc (5700) (thru icefall)[8] NO 43
Mike Marolt USA 2007 8100 NW side to c1 (6600)[20] NO 42
Jose Diogo Giraldes Tavares POR 2011 8050 NW side to ABC (5700) with overnight at c2 (7100)[8] NO 44

DHAULAGIRI - NEPAL - 8167 meters

Skier Name Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Tunc Findic TUR 2009 8147 NE Ridge downclimbed 7300-6700 (ice)[8] NO 37
David Fojtik CZE 2009 8147 NE Ridge 20m below summit couloir to 30m above C3 (7200);C2 (6700) to BC (4700)[8] NO 36

MANASLU - NEPAL - 8163 meters

Skier Name Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Benedikt Bohm GBR 2012 8163 NE Face to bc (5000); skis off 7400-7300[21] NO 35
Adrian Ballinger USA 2011 8163 NE Face skied summit cornice from top, skis off 6100 to 5800[22] YES 34
Sergey Baranove RUS 2011 8148 NE Face skis off 6100 to 5800 "hourglass"[23] YES
Guy Willet GBR 2009 8148 NE Face downclimbed 1st 15m, skied to 5050 w/ 5m downclimb @6250[24] YES 38
Emma Jack GBR 2009 8148 NE Face downclimbed 1st 15m, skied to 5050 w/250m downclimb at icefall (6250)[25] YES 56
Kenton Cool GBR 2010 8148 NE Face to C2 (6400)/ 2 days[26] YES 37
Andrew Eggleston GBR 2010 8148 NE Face to C2 (6400)/ 2 days[26] YES 30
Josef Millinger AUT 1981 8133 NE Face skied from about 30m below summit to c5; then to c1 next day[27] NO 39
Peter Woergoetter AUT 1981 8133 NE Face skied from about 30m below summit to c5; then to c1 next day[27] NO 39
Nobukazu Kuriki JPN 2008 8133 NE Face to c3 (6900) then to bc next day (4800)[8] NO 26
Sebastian Haag GER 2012 8003 NE Face to basecamp (5000) with skis off 7400-7300[21] NO 34
Constantin Pade 2012 8003 NE Face to basecamp (5000) with skis off 7400-7300[21] NO
Andres Jorquera Taipa CHI 2009 8000 NE Face to 5000 (crampon pt) over 3 days[8] NO 33

NANGA PARBAT - PAKISTAN - 8126 meters

SkierName Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Hans Kammerlander ITA 1990 8025 Diamir face (Kinshofer) downclimb top 100m, ski to bc[28] NO 34
Diego Wellig SUI 1990 8025 Diamir face (Kinshofer) downclimb 1st 100m, ski to bc[28] NO 29

ANNAPURNA - NEPAL - 8093 meters

Skier Name Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Yves Morin FRA 1979 8091 N Face skied all sections but died at 6600 on descent from summit[8] NO 34
Davo Karničar SLO 1995 8091 normal route 1st descent from top to bc in one day - hawley notes suggest started 1200m below top?[8] NO 32
Andrej Karnicar SLO 1995 8091 normal route 1st descent from top to bc in one day[8] NO 25

GASHERBRUM I (HIDDEN PEAK) - PAKISTAN - 8080 meters

Skier Name Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Sylvain Saudan SUI 1982 8080 N. Face longest 50 degree slope ever skied? Age 42[10] NO 42
Iztok Tomazin SLO 1995 8080 N. Face Overnight at c3, Abseiled 8m section in Japanese couloir, to 5300[29] NO 45

BROAD PEAK - PAKISTAN - 8051 meter

No descents from above 8000 meters

GASHERBRUM II - PAKISTAN - 8034 meters

Skier Name Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Jacques Demarolle FRA 1984 8034 SW Ridge skied summit to c4 (7500)[30]
Frederic Maurel FRA 1984 8034 SW Ridge skied summit to c4 (7500)[30]
P. Glaizes FRA 1984 8034 SW Ridge skied summit to c4 (7500)[30]
P. Guedu FRA 1984 8034 SW Ridge skied summit to c4 (7500)[30]
Wilhemus Pasquier SUI 1984 8034 SW Ridge summit to bc (5200) over 3 days all on ski including 10m serac repel[30] 35
Patrice Bournat FRA 1984 8034 SW Ridge summit to bc (5200) over 3 days all on ski including 10m serac repel[30]
Thierry Renard FRA 1985 8034 South Face bivouaced at 7500, skied to c1 (5400) next day.[31] 42
Fredrik Ericsson SWE 2005 8034 East Face to c3 (7000m)[32] NO 30
Jorgen Aamot NOR 2005 8034 East Face to c3 (7000m)[33] NO 31
Jean Noel Urban FRA 2006 8034 SW Ridge NO 46
Louis Stizinger GER 2006 8034 SW Ridge 17hr ABC to ABC (5900m); skied entire descent[34] 39
Benedikt Bohm GER 2006 8034 SW Ridge summit to c3[34] NO 29
Sebastian Haag GER 2006 8034 SW Ridge summit to c3[34] NO 28
Benedikt Bohm GER 2006 8034 SW Ridge 17hr ABC to ABC (5900m); skied entire descent[34] NO 29
Sebastian Haag GER 2006 8034 SW Ridge 17hr ABC to ABC (5900m); skied entire descent[34] NO 28

SHISHA PANGMA - CHINA - 8027 meter

Skier Name Nationality Date Start Altitude (meters) Descent Route Notes O2 Age
Peter Woergoetter AUT 1985 8027 NE Face uncertain if descended from main or central summit[35] 44
Oswald Gassler AUT 1985 8027 NE Face uncertain if descended from main or central summit[35] 38
Jerzy Kukuczka POL 1987 8027 Northern Route conflicting reports of start altitude[36] NO 39
Mark Whetu NZL 1987 8027 Northern route AAJ'88/279 suggests whetu from summit[36] 28
Jean Noel Urban FRA 2005 8027 SW Face - scott rte main summit partial descent[37] NO 45
Giorgio Daidola ITA 1988 8027 Northern Route [38] NO
Pino Negri ITA 1988 8027 Northern Route [38]
Mike Marolt USA 2000 8008 Northern Route central summit; 1st N. Am. to ski from 8000m[39] NO 36
Steve Marolt USA 2000 8008 Northern route central summit; 1st N. Am. to ski from 8000m[39] NO 36
Fredrik Ericsson SWE 2004 8008 central summit[40] NO 29
Jean Noel Urban FRA 2004 8008 SW Face - Loretan rte central summit partial descent[37] NO 44
Mark Newcomb USA 2005 8008 Untsch central summit[41] NO 38
Kent McBride USA 2005 8008 Untsch central summit[42] NO

See also[edit]

References[edit]

For the eight Nepalese peaks, the Himalayan Database from Hawley and Salisbury is the best single reference, particularly because Elizabeth Hawley et al. often interviewed the teams and solicited trip reports enabling some verification of the claims.[8] Nevertheless searching the Himalayan Database on “skiing/snowboarding” still occasionally omits expeditions who reported ski descents in their expedition notes but for some reason are not categorized under skiing/snowboarding or in several instances simply omit discussing skiing altogether in the database report. It is probably the case that information from many years ago, while admirably back filled by Hawley, focused on ascents without reference to descent by skis. For the Pakistani peaks sources include web references, the American Alpine Journal and other expedition accounts. Similar sources are referenced for Shisha Pangma in China. Little or no attempt has been made to verify claims. Disputed claims are noted in the notes. It is hoped that by publishing this preliminary database, alpinists and others will correct, update and fill out what can only be considered a preliminary attempt to accurately catalogue skiing above 8000m.

  1. ^ Club], Richard Sale & John Cleare; colour origination by Saxon Photolitho (2000). Climbing the world's 14 highest mountains: the history of the 8,000-meter peaks. Seattle (WA): The Mountaineers. ISBN 0898867274. 
  2. ^ "Climbers who have reached the summit of all 14 eight-thousanders". 
  3. ^ a b Molenaar, Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver; with maps and peak sketches by Dee (2008). Fallen giants: a history of Himalayan mountaineering from the age of empire to the age of extremes. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300115017. 
  4. ^ a b [Skiing Everest] Directors: Les Guthman and Mike Marolt, 2009
  5. ^ Mehlman, Ham (2009). "Mike and Steve Marolt - Getting High on Skiis". unpublished. 
  6. ^ Dawson, Louis. "Wild Snow". Excellent discussion of "purity" in back country skiing ascent/descents. 
  7. ^ a b Perlman, Yuichiro Miura, with Eric (1978). The man who skied down Everest (1st ed. ed.). San Francisco: Harper & Row. ISBN 0062505750. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be Salisbury, Richard (2004). The Himalayan database the expedition archives of Elizabeth Hawley. Golden, Colo.: American Alphine Club Press. ISBN 0930410998. 
  9. ^ American Alpine Journal: 226. 1982 "millinger" http://c498469.r69.cf2.rackcdn.com/1982/226_nepal_3_aaj1982.pdf#search="millinger" |url= missing title (help). 
  10. ^ a b Favre, Pierre-Marcel (1983). Le Skier de L'Impossible - Sylvain Saudan - Victoire A ski sur l'Himalaya:8068m. Paris: Publi SA. ISBN 282890129 Check |isbn= value (help). 
  11. ^ Hawley, Elizabeth (1989). American Alpine Journal: 283. 
  12. ^ a b "Kammerlander". 
  13. ^ "Geographical facts of the Main 8000ers". "Altitude of the Nepalese mountains are taken from the Finnmaps and for the Karakoram mountains they are from the Chinese snow map. The altitude of Shisha Pangma was taken from the Austrian Alpine Club map. 
  14. ^ Tardivel, Pierre (1997). Memoires de Pleine Pente. Paris: Publialp. ISBN 2950630774. 
  15. ^ "Everest 1996". 
  16. ^ a b American Alpine Journal. 1979 http://www.americanalpineclub.org/site/aajsearch |url= missing title (help). 
  17. ^ Watson, David. "K2 2009". 
  18. ^ American Alpine Journal: 283. 1989 http://www.americanalpineclub.org/site/aajsearch |url= missing title (help). 
  19. ^ American Alpine Journal: 417. 2003. 
  20. ^ a b Paumgarten, Nick (2010-08-08). Outside http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/athletes/twin-freaks.html |url= missing title (help). 
  21. ^ a b c Spring, Joe (2012-10-10). Outside Online http://www.outsideonline.com/blog/outdoor-adventure/climbing/benedikt-b_hm-first-to-summit-and-ski-manaslu-without-supplemental-oxygen.html |url= missing title (help). 
  22. ^ "Ballinger". 
  23. ^ "Baranove". 
  24. ^ "Willet". 
  25. ^ "Jack". 
  26. ^ a b "British Mountain Club". 
  27. ^ a b American Alpine Journal: 226. 1982. 
  28. ^ a b American Alpine Journal: 277. 1991. 
  29. ^ Golub, Janez (1996). American Alpine Journal: 290. 
  30. ^ a b c d e f Croisot, Daniel (1985). American Alpine Journal: 311 http://c498469.r69.cf2.rackcdn.com/1985/308_pakistan_1_aaj1985.pdf |url= missing title (help). 
  31. ^ American Alpine Journal: 273–274. 1986. 
  32. ^ Adventures Gasherbrum II. "Gasherbrum II". 
  33. ^ "Adventures Gasherbrum II". 
  34. ^ a b c d e "Gasherbrum II". 
  35. ^ a b American Alpine Journal: 299. 1986. 
  36. ^ a b American Alpine Journal: 279. 1988. 
  37. ^ a b "Urban". 
  38. ^ a b American Alpine Journal: 287. 1989. 
  39. ^ a b (personal communication from Mike Marolt)
  40. ^ "Shisha Pangma". 
  41. ^ The Line: A journey to the Far Fringe of Skiing produced by Marmot
  42. ^ The Line: A journey to the Far Fringe of Skiing produced by Marmot