Location | Gällö, Sweden
Skier | Jesper Tjäder
Photo | Adam Klingeteg
In 2009, I walked into the Fall-Line offices for my first day as editor. I was nervous. And even more nervous after meeting the publisher.
“We need fire!” he exclaimed. “We need excitement!” he bellowed. “We need skiers going full Evel Knievel, not bloody playing in the powder with snow monkeys!”
Well, Saint Dickie of Peterborough (anyone supporting a ski magazine through this most difficult period definitely needs the help of a higher power) it’s only taken a dozen winters and half a century of WTFs, but finally I put on my best Arthur Brown burning headdress, start humming Da-Da-Dum (oh hell, just Google it) and bring you… FIRE!
Plenty of you will have seen the full series of Japanese-inspired crazies from which this image is taken (with Jesper Tjäder’s Game Show having clocked-up over 500,000 YouTube views). But while the former World Cup overall Slopestyle winner has given his side to the edit (as part of the official 13-minute Red Bull release), nothing’s been heard from partner-in-crime photographer Adam Klingeteg. Until now.
And while flying through a giant flaming hula hoop upside-down can’t be easy (what DIN setting to go for?!), capturing the moment sounds just as challenging. Especially when your location is a cross-country ski tunnel, buried deep inside a Swedish mountain.
“It’s in the middle of nowhere,” says Adam of the former World War II military installation near Gällö, that now claims to be the world’s longest covered ski track (with a full-loop coming in at 1.4km). “It’s not the strangest place I’ve worked,” he says dryly, “that was inside a boiling volcano on the outskirts of Kamchatka… but it might not be one of the more usual shooting areas for photos like this.”
Hard to disagree, with the biggest issue being space. “Everything is in this long, not wide at all tube thingy,” says the Stockholm-based snapper. “It just went on forever. And since we were shooting both stills and video at the same time, to be able to find a creative angle and not be in the way for each other’s cameras – that was tough.”
Add in the element of fire, lack of slope (so you need a winch), plus a tight three-day timescale and you start to appreciate what a bonkers undertaking it was to get the dozen or so tricks nailed (with one of the features alone – the 24m triple-elbow spider rail – taking 60 attempts to get right).
“The tempo was insane,” says Adam. “Long days and long nights with tiny naps in between.”
Which sounds about right for Red Bull’s always-be-pushing ethos.
Something that double-Olympian Jesper knows all about; just watch his Unrailistic or Unrailistic 2 edits (with four-million combined views) to ensure some involuntary head-shaking (in a good way).
“He does it all the way and won’t stop moving for anyone or anything!” says Adam of the Swedish freestyle boss. “He is a machine.”
Speaking of which, our man Klingeteg’s apparatus for the project was an entirely suitable (given the Japanese inspiration for Game Show) Nikon D4S. And after much bowing to the Nippon photo gods (special emphasis on colour correction due to the indoor light), he took more than 3000 pictures during the 72-hour shoot. “I’ve never shot a ring on fire before,” he says, by way of confirmation that it was worth the lack of sleep.
His next project with Jesper the Brave involves playing in the powder with snow monkeys, and will be extensively covered in Fall-Line. Only joking, Dickie!