Ludo May, Manon Carpenter and photographer Dan Milner decided to escape to a refuge high up in Val d’Aosta, Italy, for some quality mountain time. Ludo explains why trips like this that take us closer to nature are always exceptional.
Everything starts at dawn – including photoshoots. We leave the refuge at first light as nature slowly awakes. All is calm and still, as if time is frozen. This sense of feeling alive and of enjoying the tranquility at this moment of the day is one of nature’s most beautiful gifts.
The first rays of sun appear over the horizon. Morning light at altitude is magical and helps us forget the early wake up call. Dan shouts “action”, we drop in and the first shots are in the bag.
After the morning’s photo session we head back to the refuge for breakfast. We’re not alone here in the mountains. Through my binoculars I can see golden eagles, chamois and foxes. The rest of the day is spent exploring and swimming in lakes.
When I visit an area for the first time I like to study maps to work out the possibilities for riding and photos, but the best way to get to know a place is to just explore. This is what makes alpine rides so intense; riding barely ridden trails on sight. I try to be as flexible as possible when exploring so I can fully experience the excitement and novelty of riding new trails.
The day ends as it began, with a photoshoot. We decide to go to the highest point in the area to make the most of the evening light. After 45 minutes of portage, we arrive at Pointe de Leysser. It doesn’t take long for the magic to happen once again.
As the sun sets we’re rewarded with a magnificent view of the Mont Blanc massif, crazy cloud formations form and drift away, adding drama to the scene. Once again I have this feeling of being in the right place at the right time and a real appreciation for the magical moments that nature provides.
The best way to play the mountains is to spend time in them. Staying at altitude not only opens up new trails, it also allows you to get closer to nature and experience those magical moments, to share quality time with friends and forget the stresses of everyday life.
Is it time you escaped to the mountains?