RIDER OF THE LOST SNOW (2007) is TV-series about the world of skiing, hosted by Jimmy Petterson, author of the book, “Skiing Around the World”. The series is loosely based upon the book. The episodes include three main ingredients—good skiing, travel, and a story. They are not strictly ski films, nor are they travelogues. The key element in each episode is a story carried by Jimmy’s sense of humour and spiced by his guitar music and the ski-bum lifestyle. The title for the series is “Raider of the Lost Snow”.

Six interesting countries, characters and stories

1. Saalbach, Austria

This first episode is an introduction of the host and his life, and also features Saalbach, the first stop on his 35-year “career” as a ski bum. It introduces Jimmy’s book and establishes credibility to his role as host of this mini-series. Jimmy still makes Saalbach his home base in the ski world, and we will find out why this is still his choice after having skied in almost 50 countries.

This show opens with Jimmy singing “Greenback Dollar” while driving to Saalbach. The vagabond storyline of the song’s lyrics sets the philosophical tone of the series.
Jimmy shows us the famous after-ski at the Hinterhagalm, the sledding down from the Spielberghaus, some of his favorite off-piste descents, and much more. He visits one of his favorite locations in the area, a castle/hotel where they make their own schnapps in their barnyard distillery.

This episode also establishes Jimmy’s style as an unconventional host of the series. He is a penny-pinching, happy go lucky, singing, vagabond ski bum.

2. Kashmir, India

Gulmarg is a ski resort in Kashmir with the highest gondola in the world that is built for skiing. It rises to 3,980 meters. Part of our story revolves around our guide, Yasin, who is an illiterate Kashmiri man, whose skiing style is far from perfect. But he can get himself down any slope, is extremely kind and informative, and the most knowledgeable man around when it comes to knowing about avalanche danger in the Gulmarg region.

The story line also includes stories of yetis, the supposed burial tomb of Jesus Christ in Srinagar, the interesting Kashmiri culture with its houseboats and shikaras (gondola-shaped boats) on Daal Lake, and the long period of civil war that kept almost all tourists away from this fascinating part of the world between 1991 and 2005.

3. Krasnaya Polyana, Russia

The favorite ski resort of President Putin, Krasnaya Polyana is an almost unknown powder paradise… but that may soon change. Nearby Sochi, on July 4, won the bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics, and Krasnaya Polyana will host the alpine skiing events. This episode looks at both Sochi and Krasnaya, looks at what some locals think about the prospect of their mountain hosting the Olympics and does some soul-searching about the pros and cons of that event coming to this region.

4. Les Marécottes, Switz.

Besides visiting exotic and remote ski areas, another niche of Jimmy Petterson’s journalism has been to visit small, little-known powder paradises in the heart of the Alps. Les Marécottes falls into that category.

There, the Falquet brothers are local, world famous, freeriders and innovative ski-film makers with an interesting story to investigate. They make films featuring off-piste skiing at night! They take their life in their hands hucking cliffs in conditions of darkness. There is some stunning night footage here. Jimmy looks at the current trend toward extreme skiing and wonders if it is necessary to have one’s life at stake to get a kick out of skiing?

But this is not all. Jimmy visits nearby Salvan, where future Nobel-Prize winner, Guglielmo Marconi, first successfully tested wireless communication.

He also meets a ski-instructor/farmer in this conservative Swiss village, learns to milk a cow with him and realizes that the old traditions live on here. It is a wonderful experience to visit small ski areas that have NOT turned into a cog of the ski industry, but maintain their old-world charm.

5. Narvik, Norway

Skiing’s origins go back to telemark skiing in Norway. Today, many experts consider Joonas Karhumaa, a 22-year-old Finn, to be one of the best telemark skiers in the world. He has taken this old ski technique to new levels. In this episode Joonas joins us above the Arctic Circle in Narvik—a visually beautiful region to ski, as the dark blue fjord waters shimmer at the base of the mountain. Besides skiing in the conventional resort of Narvik, we travel with a unique local kind of fishing boat that uses a square Viking type of sail, to reach virgin slopes. We also join the local Lapp reindeer herder for a bit of adventure far from the pistes.

6. Armenia

Not far from the Armenian capital of Yerevan is the resort of Tsaghkadzor on the Eastern slope of Mt Teghenis. While Krasnaya Polyana might soon become a household name, Tsaghkadzor is destined to remain in obscurity. Why visit such a ski resort? Because nobody else does. Because we are curious. Because it exists. We want to discover culture and people.

We discover that Mt. Ararat, now across the border in Turkey, is still the national symbol of Armenia. Hey, maybe Noah’s Arc is hidden under the snow in Armenia rather than on Ararat! We go in search of the arc on a ski tour high above Armenia’s largest body of water, Lake Sevan. We also visit a strange ancient observatory similar to Stonehenge, except that nobody knows about it. We learn that Armenia is a land of ancient churches and monasteries dotted across the landscape as well as kind and generous people.

We visit the Ararat brandy distillery, the only brandy to ever have French sanction to call itself a cognac.


 

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