The undeniable greatness of Frederik Kalbermatten is well known to those who care for such things as power and perfection in their snowboarding. The 32-year-old native of Saas-Fee, Switzerland has long been a staple of the backcountry freestyle movement. His legacy of video parts with Standard Films has cemented his status as legendary in the annals of snowboarding.
Riding with precision as well as style, Fredi K's riding has that misty quality that, watching it in action, leaves us yearning for a bit more. Thankfully, he is one of the most prolific riders around. Interviewed by Andreas Wiig, Kalbermatten explains his methods... and other tricks. --Nate Deschenes
Andreas Wiig: You've had so many amazing video parts over the years. What does it take to film a full segment?
Fredi K: It takes a lot of patience and motivation to always be ready for the few days when conditions are good. You need to really take advantage because it's not always good snow or weather or temperature out there.
Why is your nickname Fredi Stompermatten? Do you stomp every trick all the time?
Yes, I stomp hard! Just kidding.
I got this nickname eleven years ago when I filmed my first video part with Standard Films. I just landed a lot in powder during my first trip to Lake Tahoe. People were impressed and I was stoked.
What's your favorite part about snowboarding?
I like exploring new spots, but also to ride in a place like my home in Saas-Fee where the glacier forms different every year. Because of this there are always new things to find.
I really enjoy being deep in the backcountry, in the calm and no-stress atmosphere, in the quiet where there is no traffic, no stress. The strength lays in the calm.
How was Saas-Fee this season?
The season started really good, but then it just stopped snowing. Sometimes I was really frustrated, feeling like I couldn't work because there wasn't enough snow. But it made me get creative, to look for what was there. So I did…. and there was ice.
And then I kind of fell in love with the ice and I wanted more of it! It was different than other seasons when I used to chase the snow around the world, but since I spent the whole season in Saas-Fee it worked out great.
Did you go on any trips somewhere else as well?
My Real Snow part was filmed in Saas-Fee only. I did go on two trips with Jake Blauvelt to shoot for his movie "Naturally." One was Arechês, France and the other one Riksgränsen Sweden.
What was your crew like when you were filming for Real Snow?
I was working with different people who were working for on all sorts of different projects. We pretty much had a youth hostel in our house. Aaron Hooper came as my first filmer, and he brought along riders Forrest Burki and Mason Aguirre.
Forrest likes to cook, so he would make these special salads with whatever he could find -- sometimes gummy bears in the salad and whiskey or rum salad dressing.
Later Grego Campi came as my filmer, and brought his twin double-angle brother, Martin, and Nico Fuentes. These three brought some Latin flavor. And most of the time there was also a photographer sleeping on the couch. It was a lot sometimes, but it really cool to have this community for the season.
Was it different filming for Real Snow than filming a video part for a movie?
Not really, since we had all season to film. When selecting the shots for Real Snow it became a bit challenging because it's only 90-seconds long. I have had a good year with lots of good footage for a much longer part.
Did you work on any other projects this year?
Yes. I will be starring in Jake Blauvelt's high-profile snowboard film "Naturally." I have a video part in Ride Greener's movie "Steps," a video part in Film For Food's first video "Livin," and a full online video part, in partnership with TransWorld & Onboard.
What are you up to this summer?
Enjoying married life with my wife. We are going to the USA for three months. Woohoo!