The Hagen family in search of powder. Jake Holland



Living the Skier’s Life

A look at THE HAGENS, a movie about an inspiring ski family

By: Klaus Polzer March 13, 2024

Stian Hagen and his wife Andrea (née Binning) were both freeriders of the highest level, competing in the most prestigious big mountain events of their time and appearing in the biggest movie productions. Eventually they married, settled in Chamonix and started a family. Both of them remained in the ski business—with Andrea working in communication and Stian being a UIAMG mountain guide—and obviously they still ski with great enthusiasm and capability. As many former ski stars, they managed to include their kids into a skiing lifestyle and to pass on their passion for the sport. Over the past year, the Hagen family documented all of this in a movie simply called THE HAGENS, directed by Jake Holland and published by Arc’teryx this week. We caught up with Stian to find out about the motivation behind the movie and to get some advice for young skiers who think about starting their own family.

Andrea, Aksel, Camila and Stian Hagen (f.l.t.r.) in the mountains of Chamonix. Jake Holland

Downdays: Arc’teryx recently released THE HAGENS online. What was the inspiration for making this film?

Stian Hagen: By making the movie I am hoping to inspire people to spend more time with their kids, especially outdoors. Showing younger couples that your mountain life is by no means over just because you have kids. In my experience, that’s when the real fun starts. I think a lot of people these days fear that having kids will jeopardise their own mountain ambitions, and I hope our example can help them see that this is not necessarily the case.

Downdays: How does a powder day look for you when the kids are not at school? How do you balance your own desire to just ski for yourself?

Stian: We are lucky to live two minutes away from one of the best ski lifts in the world, so on a powder day the whole family gets up early and makes sure we are first in the lift line. There’s a bit of an age gap between Aksel (13) and Camila (9), so we normally split the family into two teams and then change during the day. When I am skiing with the kids, it’s always on their terms, and we are very cautious about avalanche terrain.

Aksel Hagen in action Jake Holland

Downdays: What advice would you give parents who want to bring their kids out into the backcountry?

Stian Hagen: My advice is to start really small, and to never mix your personal ambitions with the family goals. It doesn’t have to be big to feel like a great adventure for a kid. I would also advice to not push the kids at all, they learn at their own pace, some learn quicker than others, but let them figure things out for themselves.

Downdays: How do you manage the risk factor with your children in the mountains?

Stian: For the most part we avoid avalanche terrain and any other terrain where a fall could have consequence. If we venture into avalanche terrain, it’s only on days when I am really confident in the snowpack stability.  If you have your doubts and are not confident in the backcountry terrain, I would recommend using a mountain guide to be sure everything is as safe as possible.

Look, Mum, this is how you do it! Jake Holland
1. The Hagen family earns their turns. Jake Holland
2. Powder to the kids! Jake Holland

Downdays: Has the way you approach the mountains changed after you had kids? 

Stian: I have definitely changed the way I approach risk in the mountains after I had kids, not coming back home is not an option.

Downdays: What do you hope Camila and Aksel will take away from this unique upbringing in chamonix ?  

Stian: My hope is that they will turn into nice human beings, that they respect people around them and the environment. I have no ambitions for them to be professional athletes, but if that’s what they choose to do, I will support them. I also hope they will wait for their Daddy when he can no longer keep up!