After the release of Mont Blanc: The Land of Toys, we were curious how Furberg Snowboards team rider Davide Capozzi operates, and manages risk on the tallest mountain in the Alps.
How has living near Mt Blanc shaped you as a Splitboarder?
I started splitboarding in 2009. Back then I didn’t know anyone who used splitboards, so I had almost no information. In the Mont Blanc a lot of approaches are done from the lifts so for a long time I thought there was no need for a splitboard. After some years I started to get tired of touring around with my snowshoes and my board on the backpack, so I decided to give splitboarding a try.
It was a nice surprise and I realized that splitboards could expand my horizons in the mountains. The first board I used was very stiff and I found that in addition to being good for the ascents, also perfect for my most technical and steep descents in the Mont Blanc massif …it felt like I had found the perfect tool for my needs.
With a number of First Descents on Mt Blanc, which one has meant the most to you and why?
Many descents that have meant a lot to me. If I had to pick one, it is definitely the east face of Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey. Not because that it is the most difficult descent but since it has its place in the history of steep skiing. It’s also a face that me and my friends had in front of us every day that we went up to Punta Helbronner. It was our dream.
Which decent had you the most worried?
Perhaps the East face of Blanche de Peuterey, because nobody else had been there after the first and only descent by Stefano de Benedetti, The fact that it had never been repeated, more than the run itself made it scary,
The cinematography looks stunning in the film. Did filming have any effect on your riding or decision making? How was it coordinating with Luca or having him on slope with you while riding this terrain?
With Luca there is a close relation which has formed over many years in the mountains together. I tried to ride like I always do, but to have Luca filming a few meters behind drifting at full speed with a stabilizer and his camera in hand wasn’t easy: a lot of things had to work out in order to get the shot.
I remember that the most intense moments were along the couloir dell’Eperon North-East of Courtes. There was perfect snow for Luca, as he could reach incredible speed sliding. Me and Julien were focused not to make mistakes and to keep up, since Luca often was faster than us. Amazing!
Your alpinist riding forces you to encounter variable snow conditions, how does your Furberg splitboard handle those conditions?
One of the main qualities of Furberg’s splitboards, is that they are able to handle various types of snow. I personally find that the development of Daniel in the last two years has made the snowboards really performing and adaptable to all conditions that can be found within a whole winter season. I’m able to use the same splitboard for the more demanding descents and for deep powder.
The kind of riding you do, requires a lot of snowboarding and mountaineering skills. How did you get into steep riding, and did you have any mountaineering skills from before?
I started snowboarding in 1989, and the first descents in high alpine mountains I made in 2002. I had some basic mountaineering skills even though this was my weakness. But I was motivated to improve and learn more. I’m very thankful to my friends who have taught me so much, and still do, and with whom I have the chance to go to the mountains every day.
How do you manage the risk and exposure while riding these lines?
Risk management and exposure is mainly learned through experience. After so many years you learn how to handle these elements. Personally, I also find partners I share the descents with incredibly important.
Many of these lines are typically ridden in the spring, How difficult is it assessing the snow stability and riding these lines in Winter?
In winter it is clearly more difficult to be sure of the stability of the snowpack. In the last couple years it happened quite often that we had spring like conditions in the middle of winter. This made it possible to ride some lines earlier than normal.
You and Luca have been riding together for quite a long time. What motivated you to finally make this film together?
Luca is a very experienced mountaineer and mountain guide. The last years he has been working on his photo and filming skills, since it has always been one of his biggest passions. In all our previous adventures, he has focused on telling stories with photo and film.
Not everyone has the skills and experience to climb and ski exposed faces up to 50 ° with camera gear. So when he proposed the idea of the film “Mont Blanc ” I thought it could be a great opportunity to show people something beautiful.
Can we look forward to seeing more film from you?
There are some ideas that I would like to do with Luca. Unfortunately, the making of a film requires a lot of work and you have to devote much time, so it is difficult to predict. But the desire is there and the ideas too. So everything is possible and we hope to find someone who believes in our ideas and would like to support us.