Re-connecting in Val di Fassa

EW:

Producing a new video for PRO gave us the perfect excuse to ride with friends from all over the world again

Re-connecting with friends in Val di Fassa

Trying to plan the production of an exciting, captivating mountain bike travel video during a global pandemic is something of a challenge. But we like a challenge here, so when we were approached by our friends at PRO to help them create a brand video, we were happy to help.

The best laid plans…

So we made plans, and we changed plans, and we changed plans again. But, finally, in August 2021, we arrived in Val di Fassa with our band of merry men and women to get the job done.

I had first travelled to Val di Fassa, in the Italian Dolomites, earlier in 2021 to catch the first round of the Enduro World Series and instantly fell in love with the area. The landscape is a unique blend of Torres del Paine and the Alps and is just spectacular. Not to mention the unbelievable riding opportunities there. So when our original plans for the PRO video disintegrated in a fog of travel restrictions, Val di Fassa jumped to the top of our destination hit list.

International relations

Our crew consisted of: top photographer Dan Milner, from Chamonix; PRO ambassador Scotty Laughland from Scotland; our Swiss guide Dave Spielmann; Ernesto Araneda, our guide from Chile; Danijel Kovačič, lead guide in Slovenia; Alexa Cunningham from PRO; and the rest of our Scottish contingent from H+I Adventures – me (Euan Wilson); Douglas Tucker (ace videographer), and Catherine Shearer. Not forgetting our expert local guide Albi “Chicken Fence” Valeruz.

A truly international band.

Into the Dolomites

Our plans for the next eight days were ambitious, as ever. Not only in terms of getting all the footage we wanted, but also because we had all just emerged from an extended period of living very small, insular lives, limited in social contact and travel outside of our immediate home environments.

After getting set up at our accommodation in Canazei, and brief introductions with local guide Albi, we had a warm-up, lift-assisted ride to get everyone’s heads, legs and bikes dialled in before hitting the mountains proper the next day.

And, naturally, we went big straight away with two days of hike-a-biking, riding, repeating, and filming on Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites at 3343m. Long days, but worth it, and the collective effort to achieve a shared goal meant we bonded as a group pretty quickly and had a lot of laughs in the process.

Going off grid

The second part of our expedition involved driving and hiking up to Antermoia refuge, at 2497m altitude, which would be our base for the next three days of off-grid living. This new location showed us a different side to the Dolomites and gave us a host of new opportunities for riding and filming – albeit shared with quite a lot of hikers!

As with all video shoots we worked long days, riding and re-riding the same piece of trail countless times, chasing or waiting for the ‘perfect’ light, re-arranging dinner several times (which our hosts took remarkably well)… but we think that the results were worth it. I hope you agree.

Shimano Pro Video, MTB, Val di Fassa, Italy
Shimano Pro, Val di Fassa, Italy
Shimano Pro Video, mountain bike Val di Fassa, Italy

Dave – “To be honest one of my best moments was chilling and waiting in the middle of Tutti Frutti. Laughing at silly videos and just enjoying the moment.”

Shimano Pro Video, Val di Fassa, MTB Italy
Shimano Pro Video, Val di Fassa, MTB Italy
Shimano Pro Video, Val di Fassa, MTB Italy
Shimano Pro Video, Val di Fassa, Mountain biking Italy

Scotty – “I didn’t realise how much I’d missed the long alpine descents, mid lap high fives and drinking cappuccinos!”

Shimano Pro Video, Val di Fassa, mountain bike Italy
Shimano Pro Video, Val di Fassa, mountain bike Italy

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