Snowboard Antartica

Words: Paul Wilson
Photography: Tero Repo

Carving icebergs is one thing, taking pics to prove it quite another. The man behind the camera talks action and adventure in frozen paradise

To be the guy taking the photos on amazing snow adventures, you need to focus on three things before you take the lens cap off: “Minimising risk, not getting frostbite and staying alive.” So says Tero Repo, a man who has spent many years documenting snowboard and ski expeditions around the world while adhering closely to his own advice.

“I’ve been in danger many times,” says the 36-year-old Finn, who has been on photoshoots when riders have caused avalanches, or tumbled down the slopes to serious injury. “The more time you spend in the mountains, the more bad things you will face.”

A recent month-long trip to Antarctica was about as good as it gets: long sunny days of exploring icebergs and islands to find virgin slopes and lines with snowboarders Xavier de Le Rue of France and American Lucas Debari. As a skier-turned-snapper, Repo is happy for others to be in shot. “I don’t miss skiing and snowboarding for fun. Now, it helps me do my job, which is to get great photos.” 

Snowboarding

“We had Christoph, a pilot, and his tandem paraglider. He flew; I would just sort of hang there and shoot. In this paraglider shot, Lucas and Xavier are on their splitboards [a snowboard that splits into two skis]. On long flats, it’s much quicker to hike on skis than walk carrying a snowboard.”

Snowboarding

Lucas on the left, Xavier in the middle and the ship’s captain, Jerome Poncet.

“A morning view from the boat, the Golden Fleece, a heavy 19m-long sailing boat: not an ice-breaker but it’ll break through 20cm of ice. We hired it in the Falkland Islands.” 

Snowboarding
“THE CAPTAIN WASN’T HAPPY ABOUT US GOING TO ICEBERGS. HE SAID THEY OFTEN COLLAPSE.”
Snowboarding

“The first mate 
is in the Zodiac, Lucas climbing, with Xavier and our guide 
Tony Lamiche behind him. 
That was a big iceberg.”

“MOST OF THE TIME IT WAS STEEP AND SCARY, BUT WE PICKED THE RIGHT MOMENTS.”
“I AGREE WITH RIDERS ON TWO THINGS: DO TRICKS YOU’RE GOOD AT WHICH LOOK GREAT.”
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“This is on 
land, not an iceberg. Xavier 
and Lucas hiking up to 
the lines we had scouted. 
They always wore the same colour gear,to identify them quickly: Xavier in yellow 
and Lucas in blue. They’re 
not penguins behind them; 
I think they’re Antarctic 
shags, a type of cormorant.”

“AT SEA LEVEL, YOU HAVE TO BE EXTRA CAREFUL ABOUT CHOOSING THE RIGHT LINES.”
Snowboarding

“The Zodiac coming in next to the Golden Fleece. This was actually a spot we stayed overnight. We were lucky with the weather being so good. It meant the preparations were perfect, relaxed. Not chasing around for a few hours of light. We could shoot between 4-10pm every day.”

“Taking pictures in Antarctica is great when there is so much light.”
Snowboarding

“Xavier again. We looked for slopes like this with ridges above them, so I could stand in a safe spot and give a true idea of steepness.”

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