wandering in mountains during winter



A long time practitioner of martial arts, I will nevertheless try to express, not with a martial vocabulary, but with my vocabulary as a " rider"!

To ride a virgin face alone on a sunny day, to trace a line without all the way without stopping is a great feeling… The skiers who begin to ski out of bounds (off slope), are full of apprehension. They find themselves in a vast element, like a novice sailor upon the open sea. This is important in order to appreciate the mountain; to want to experience these particular moments, whether alone or with friends. The craving to ski in the superb places of the world, to rediscover oneself in sometimes difficult positions, obliges one to surpass themself, just as in the martial arts!

Val d'Isere Pissaillat

This discipline is "authentic", in relation with Nature. The rides in the powder are an "Active meditation". To ski is, at least at first, to beat oneself...

Marc Garcia's style

The backcountry skiing, with its jumps, is penetrating the full liberty of skiing:


When one simply starts off to "progress", one can easily become bored. It is necessary to go beyond! To become one with the mountain. To do that, his fleeting track must become more; like a human signature on the Divine, one writes calligraphy of value with the mountain, rather than a horrible scar on the white face of the Goddess.

This is the Eternal pleasure that is the motivation of the fully free skier. In the deep powder, one can go to try and attempt new things without taking too many risks.... It is more regular to be hurt on the packed snow.... This is rather rare in the "powder" (with its natural protection), unless you fall on boulders or rocky bars, or are taken in an avalanche. And there the backpack ABS can save your life!

To ski on the packed snow or set trail and to ride the powder is the difference between ice skating and water skiing. In Free skiing, it is necessary to have a more open spirit, than on the other types, as more is required. The fully free skiing is multilayered. There are a lot of different aspects. Every mountain is different. The manner of skiing each progresses year after year. These things change constantly and are never the same. This "wild" energy characterizes the skiing styles of Perret, Morrisson,  Enak Gavaggio,  Laurent Niol, Romain Raisson, Master, Guerlain Chicherit, Manu Gaidet, Aurélien Ducros, Seb Michaud, Adrien Coirier, Cedric Purgin, David Allemoz, Olivier Meynet, Antoine Diet, & Bichon, Marc Abma, Pollard, Burks, David & Loris Falquet, etc and also this is a "martial" approach to skiing for certain! The Zen style of Dominique Perret, The style Zen of Dominique Perret, the flowing aerial style of Coirer, the line of waves of Gavaggio in TX3 amazing video are all almost  short moment of "meditations"; in any case, their "lines" are true offerings to the Mountain. This is how I consider it to be the Grand Skiing! As said by the Dark Lord: "It is necessary to find your own clean style", for the mountain allows us to be creative.

Good and bad moments pass to create things... The mountain teaches us about permanence and all the non-fatal accidents are carrying a constructive message for the future.

The Great Lie which consists of finding a good job, thinking of the future, paying your taxes, partaking in the bazaar.. what the Corporation represents to society. Is seeing this lie what leads to the "Rebels" among fully free outback skiing as well as practitioners of the martial arts?

The first snowfall of the season brings the valley back to life
The mountains (as martial arts) yield more and more ground in reaction to the mercantile attitude… The mountain learns the respect. To mark a slope, is comparable to overlapping ones own spirit…

Aval Valley Sylvain St Bon

The skiing is an endless "Arthurian" quest, that takes us to the most incongruous places .... To turn carefully in the fresh powder; to give preference to the flexibility and beauty of the "run", has something magic... Of course, one can place there more "trick" techniques, to adopt a fluidity which invokes desire for skiing (in those that watch).

This style of skiing is my essential focus when facing the techniques of the jumps during fully free skiing.

As in the martial arts, where any exchange is positive, it is necessary in skiing, to listen to the seniors (even the snowboarders)! Something will always emerge that is positive. How choose a run with fast line, large curves, or a slower run, where one can try a natural jump. To ski with all possible fluidity and jump on natural terrain.


With ski's on the feet, to split the powder, is like splitting the air with a sword, full of vitality and flexibility, or to perform calligraphy well, with the ski's as brushes in the powder.

The skiing of full liberty allows a better neurological rehabilitation of the TC (brain injured), while developing the Theta & Alpha waves in the brain, if a meditative process is associated with it. (I am a good example of this).


A good skier of full liberty is an old skier, as in the martial arts where longevity is preferable to the short life of the feudal warrior...

To caress the soft soft bends, arrive to merge, in harmony, with the Mountain for no more than to be one with her; is the goal of All acts in love, of all tantric acts. Such is my "Inner Skiing".





St Bon Sylvain Febrary 2013



2008 Inner glide in Japan

February: Japan film skiing "Inner glide on holy mountain of Japan"

The three last weeks of the month of February are devoted to shooting our film in Japan. It is the "Team Wolfpack" Association that I chair, that will carry this out.. The team is composed of a pro cameraman of Happy Ride : Dino Raffault. Yann Picot will be the other cameraman.. There is also a professional skiing photographer : Dominique Daher. Olivier Bourdet freeride skier and Adrien Coirier, pro skier, fill out the membership of the association. A Japanese Lie Ishihara, is our interpreter in charge of "communications in Japan" along with myself. The film subject is to relate the history of an exchange between a professional skier and his mental assistant, between a freerideur that classifies himself among the top ten in the world and a skier with deficiencies for whom skiing is a means of neurological rehabilitation.

Adrien Coirier Manza Japan (Copyright Dom Daher)

This film will also show the return to the sources of traditional and ancestral Japan which perpetuate techniques of meditation particular to the 21st century. I have been a guide to Adrien in this, while he will be my guide for breaking new trails in the Japanese powder. It was necessary for me to practice for four entire seasons in the valleys of Courchevel, Killy and Argentière, to be at an acceptable level of skill. For two seasons, I took regular courses to improve skiing : A big one thank you to all my instructors, especially those of Courchevel 1650, that already skied Japan, on shiga-kogen with the hearing-impaired. It is thanks to the generosity of our patrons that Wolfpack was able carry out this project which cost several thousands of Euros. Thank you to the corporation BOUCHERON of Paris, to the pharmaceutical laboratory LMBD/ Algues mer, the house building entreprise EMBA and Montmorency and Air France who supported us well. Each member took care of their own plane ticket.

We quickly arrived at the international airport of Kansai near Osaka, where we rent a car and a small van for our 500 kilograms of equipment and trip to Kyoto. We arrived in the morning at Osaka and 15 hours later, we check into the Hotel "Hiean no Mori" in the Sakkyo-ku neighborhood, close to the Shogoin temple in Kyoto. Not the time to rest! Our business takes us to Fushimi, in the south of Kyoto, in order to shoot our first scene of the waterfall Kyotaki. With the light of the end of day, the red gates are luminous! The next day, we film in the morning at the temple Kinkakuji with its famous gold pavillion.

The afternoon we have an appointment with the buddhist monks of the Shogoin temple for the fire ceremony regarding the "blessing" of our skiings in order to be able to ski on the sacred mountains of Japan. The central point of the film being the mountains in Japan, I wanted to show Adrien this form of mountain Buddhism that is Shugendo and I therefore request that the monks of the Shogoin temple (of which I am one) to execute the more secret ceremony of Shugendô, the one of the fire! Fire & Water will also be another theme of the film, with the waterfalls of Fushimi and the one at the volcano Asama next. Once the ceremony is finished, we have a discussion with the Gomonshu Miyagé Tainen, the temple superior of the imperial Shogoin temple and the one of the grand masters of Shugendô, who will be very important at the time of the film editing. Then I carry out in the temple, a demonstration of Japanese sword.

The next day during the night, we leave Kyoto to go to Manza, the highest town in Japan, in the Japanese Alps of the prefecture of Gunma, in area of Nagano. This is a trip that takes us all day by car. It begins snowing strongly at the start near Kyoto. If Japan is tropical in summer, the winter there are Siberian and the snow acumulations are astronomical! In Manza, with its nationally reknowned hot springs, we present ourselves to Tatsuyuki Kuroiwa, director of the school of skiing in Manza. Thanks to his assistance, and to his assitant Mr. Ogata, of hotel MANZA ONSEN, we have all the authorizations to ski out of bounds, on the condition that we are not seen doing so, as it is forbidden in Japan. It is an extremely unfortunate thing because if the small stations, for example Manza, Kusatsu and Shiga-Kogen were connected by only one track and if out of bounds skiing was allowed, with the powder there, it would become a Mecca to the world of Freeskiers. Kuroiwa, formerly from the Austrian school of skiing, is the pioneer of “free skiing” in Japan. He lends us a vhs copy of the film which he made in 1976 wherein one sees him with his instructors skiing, out of bounds, so that we can put clips from it in our film. Thanks to his councilss, we go directly to the areas to ski. Not need to lose hours in poor locations. This is a most noticeable time saver. I knew that the snow in Japan was special and I wanted to share it with Adrien as well as Olivier; a person whose first name defines very well, as he is pure & hard! Five days of snow, with 50 cm of fresh snow everyday.

Sylvain Manza Japan

Everyday one can "scratch up" the surface totally, for the next day, the tracks are covered and you start all over again ! "It is magic!", as described by Adri. An afternoon where it snows strongly in Manza, we take advantage of it and return to the foot of the Asama volcano where I spotted an important waterfall for practicing the TAKIGYO, ritual ablution under the waterfall! Adrien thinks that she will be completely and promises to shave his nuts if the water is flowing. It is located an hour by car from Manza, on the other mountain. Unfortunately for Adri, the water at 2° degrees flows, wrapped in ice… it IS magnificent. After the waterfall I carry out in Manza a talk about calligraphy to make a point of showing the parallel between skis, a sword, a brush which, when they become the extension of the body, allows a better rehabilitation of the brain. I make a point of showing the similarity between: to trace in fresh powder with skis and to trace ideograms on a clean paper sheet. A vast project is this film… because it must also be a message of hope for others with cerebral injuries whose path to rehabilitation is difficult! It can be more difficult than mine, and mine has lasted for seven years already. It will not be that a film on just skiing, but it will also fully show aspects of traditional Japan which I know from having lived there for twelve years; as the exchange between a capable high level skier and one with cranial trauma for whom skiing is one of the means of rehabilitation. It is a poetic and sporting voyage about the surpassing of oneself!