Photocredit : Aaron Jamieson

When passionate wanderlust becomes reality, horizons widen, engaging all the senses with excited anticipation and that´s when the hearts of two soul-surfing women beat the hardest. 

After a trip to Norway last year, this winter’s adventure for Aline Bock and Lena Stoffel meant turning WAY NORTH into WAY EAST and looking to more distant horizons for another exciting project for the two friends.

The small team – consisting of Aline; 2010 Freeride World Tour Champion, Lena; professional freeskier, filmmaker Mathias Koegel, and local guide and photographer Aaron Jamieson – met in Hokkaido to prepare for a late winter sojourn. Equipped with skis and boards for all kinds of waves and snow, they set off in search of the famous Japanese powder snow and perfect waves but also to discover the reality of life in Japan, post-Fukushima. “ We wanted to get our own personal insight of the situation and the reality of nuclear pollution after the accident and even more importantly, get to know what the local population thinks about it“ says Aline. 

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The adventure would take them several thousand kilometres around Hokkaido on a surf, snow, and camping adventure through the mountains to the ocean and covering some of the least-visited and undiscovered corners of the island.

According to Lena: “Besides surfing the ice cold waters, snow camping definitely was one of the biggest challenges”. With tents and camping equipment on their backs, the crew hit the trail on their skis and split boards to reach the Sea of Japan, traversing the length of the Annupuri mountain range. Wind gusts up to 100 km/h, 20kg+ of gear, fog, and freezing nights in the snow pushed the team members’ resolve to their limits. “Despite being quite hard from time to time, this journey also showed us how powerful nature really is and how much we, as humans, need to adapt to it”

With their journey through a remote wilderness of untouched landscapes, riding perfect lines and surfing unnamed waves, the two sportswomen carved their own path through this beautiful land. Brave women, leaving their comfort zone but finding their happiness WAY EAST.

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directed & shot by Mathias Kögel
edit & sound design by Mathias Kögel
additional footage by Aaron Jamieson

Their 20 minute film WAY EAST, shot entirely during their 3 week long journey in Japan, will be available from Autumn 2016 through various channels.

About Aline Bock:

As a former freestyle snowboarder, Aline quickly discovered her strengths in combining the playful elements of freestyle and freeriding. With her creative choices on the lines she rides along with her strong performance on all mountains, Aline became Vize World Champion the first year of joining in the Freeride World Tour and claimed the title of the Freeride World Tour Champion in 2010. Since then, the German snowboarder has been focusing on big mountain and backcountry film projects, travelling to the most beautiful freeride resorts on the planet. Nevertheless, there is nothing better for her than a good day out in the powder with friends going splitboard touring around the snowy mountains of the Alps. “For me, splitboarding is a new way of moving in the mountains,’’ Aline Bock explains. “It has given me a whole new horizon. Many lines that I have only seen from the slopes are getting accessible and I love the experience in nature, far away from the crowds. I am always happy to share my passion.”

About Lena Stoffel:

With her roots in alpine racing Lena Stoffel went her way further to Freestyle/Freeride skiing. She still competed in several Freeride and Freestyle competitions during her studies in Innsbruck,. Her main achievements were a 5th place at the X-Games in Tignes in Slopestyle  in 2010 and winning the Austrian Open in 2011. As an Olympic hopeful, she spent her last few years fighting back after two major knee injuries to prepare for the Olympics in 2014. Unfortunately she did not have enough time in the end to get back to her skiing level she had before. Lena is now focusing on film- and photoprojects. “Now I have time and leisure to focus on the way of skiing I really love and with projects like “Way North” dreams are coming true for me. I hope I can inspire a lot of people with our images.”