In 1970, seven students from Innsbruck set out on an 8,000-km road trip to Afghanistan.
In 2014, Swiss skiers and filmmakers Loïs Robatel and Arnaud Cottet were researching a trip to ski Mt. Noshaq, the highest peak in Afghanistan, when they discovered a copy of an article from a 1972 issue of Alpine Journal that recounted the mountain’s first ski ascent. In 1970, a group of seven students from Innsbruck, Austria had set out on an 8,000-kilometer road trip, with Noshaq as their goal.
Still frame from Hans-Jörg Moser’s 8mm film
Robatel and Cottet met with members of the original expedition, eventually discovering the 8mm film shot during the trip by Hans-Jörg Moser. “When we discovered the footage we were amazed by the quality and intensity of the frames,” they write on their website. “From there, a spontaneous vision was born to conceive a movie retracing the old expedition and a new attempt of our own, both to be paralleled by each other.”
In April 2015, Robatel and Cottet set out in the footsteps of their predecessors, tracing their own route from Europe across the Mideast and central Asia and of course, stopping to ski at some exotic locations along the way.
Robatel and Cottet write that due to the current political situation in Afghanistan, they had to depart the path of the original expedition, traveling north through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikstan instead of crossing the Iran-Afghanistan border. “Driving through all these countries is a great experience,” they write. “Landscape, people, customs… makes the journey a beautiful human experience.” In addition, they gleaned some useful knowledge during their trek, including: need to bribe customs officials? Bring Swiss chocolate.
If you want to cross borders and avoid any problems with customs… Give them a lot of swiss chocolate! It works! This is the Afghan – Tajik border, the last one of our journey for #skiingnoshaq . The last 2 month we drove 10’000 km, crossed 8 countries and received 1’000’000 smiles! I will miss you custom boys ! #salewa #passemontagne #nordica #evoc #girosnow #algorigin #mulebar
Finally arrived with @bengonercut and @mafiabf in Dushanbe, after a week of tourism, corruption, and boarder crossing from #iran #turkmenistan #uzbekistan #tajikistan #salewa #passemontagne #blackcrows_skis #nordica #algorigin #mulebar #evoc #girosnow #skiingnoshaq
A photo posted by Arnaud Cottet (@arnaudcottet) on
We’re looking forward to seeing the full film from this incredible journey. Until it’s out, you can find more information about the Skiing Noshaq project on their website: http://cargocollective.com/skiingnoshaq/The-project