Thrilling, daring and intense:
Three skiers on a journey to the freeride Mecca of Haines, Alaska.
"The road to Haines"
Haines in Alaska is considered to be a freeride Mecca by expert skiers from all over the world. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Arctic to the north, the location alone makes this town of 2,400 inhabitants something special. This is a place where Arctic tundra landscapes mingle with expansive rain forests. Solitude and untouched slopes are guaranteed here. And that is exactly what freeride skiers are looking for: instead of following safe trails, they seek to explore unknown terrain. In freeride competitions, the way down is not a strictly defined course, rather each skier has to choose the best possible route for themself. And it is precisely this blend of spectacular scenery, closeness to unspoilt nature and the search for the fastest, most extreme line that freeride skiers of the likes of Sam Smoothy, Jérémie Heitz and Willie Lindberg love about their sport.
Next stop: Alaska
So, just as the three freeride specialists like to go their own way down a mountain, they decided to take a more unusual route for the journey to the next mountain. Instead of travelling there by plane, the plan was a three-week road trip, covering a distance of 5,000 kilometres and including just about all types of roads and extremes imaginable. The chosen means of transport: the all-wheel-drive Audi Q5. The journey’s reward? A sense of freedom and independence accompanied by sights on both sides of the road that the three are sure to remember for a long time to come.
A road trip is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a long trip in a car, truck etc or a trip taken by a sports team to play one or more away games.” While an apt description this definition barely conveys the rollercoaster that is stepping out your door and venturing forth into the wild.”
But who better to express the emotions experienced en route than one of the athletes themselves?
This is what Sam Smoothy had to say:
“To seek adventures that you cannot even begin to imagine until they arrive, staring all the way into your core, shining a light on what lurks in your traveller’s heart. And all it takes sometimes is just picking up the phone.”
“…Ours was a simple plan. Head north, ski powder and discover the freeride Mecca at the edge of the earth, Haines, Alaska, all before contesting the first ever Alaskan Freeride World Tour event.”
“Mini spine lines are cut to shreds as we slash, spin and flip our way through the afternoon, finally finding exactly what you would expect on this holy powder highway.”//
Susanne Nuber & Patrick Morda (text), Richard Walch (photos)
Extreme conditions can take many forms, from daunting climbs and wet roads to storms and wintry road conditions: since the 1980s, Audi quattro has been turning all conditions into perfect conditions. The name is synonymous with driving safety and sportiness, with technical expertise and a dynamic way of life.
What benefits does the quattro drive system have to offer, where do its strengths lie and how does it perform in extreme conditions? Here’s the answer to the question: why only drive two wheels, when you can drive all four?