Couloirs are some of the most sought-after extreme targets for backcountry skiers. They’re long, usually steep channels cut into rock that run down the side of a mountain and get filled with snow in winter. You see people ripping them up in ski movies from Warren Miller to Teton Gravity Research and Matchstick Productions.
Some couloirs are bigger than others, and the Monster Couloir in Norway is what you might call a great white whale. This thing is a massive chasm that’s so consistently steep that the entire thing is a “no-fall zone.” Meaning that if you fall while you’re skiing down Monster Couloir, you probably won’t be able to get up. At least, not until you hit the bottom.
Skiers Nikolai Schirmer and Mark Abma were ready for the challenge, though. In this segment from Matchstick Production’s new film Land of Giants Shirmer and Abma venture deep into the wilderness of Norway outside of Tamok to conquer the beast. They took dog sleds out, then skinned to the top of the couloir — which was neither easy nor casual. In the segment, Abma calls it the “most uncomfortable tour of my life.”
But once the tour was over, the discomfort only grew. Because then it was time for some couloir skiing. And as they discovered, it’s a long run, with a technical chokepoint crux that requires some serious guts to charge. And of course, they charged the hell out of it.
This is just one segment from Matchstick Productions’ Land of Giants. It’s available to watch for free on Red Bull TV right now.
Runtime: 19 minutes