This is one of the most distinctive images I’ve ever taken. When shooting freeskiing, I usually agree with the skier on where and how to do the turn, then set the camera and give the skier the OK.
When I took this photo, the conditions were perfect. It was the first heavy snowfall of the year, and there was wonderful winter light. At the beginning, we were fearful for the avalanche risk. The Courmayeur, Italy, side of Mont Blanc is steep and presents all the dangers of big-mountain skiing, such as crevasses and huge cliffs, but, after a few runs, we found that the conditions were safe enough, so we decided to take some photos. It was difficult to choose where to shoot, since everywhere was nice, so I told Jacopo just to ski wherever he wanted. I took lots of photos of that run, but, at the time, no one noticed what had happened at this moment. In the evening, happy and tired from the long day, we sat in front of the computer and got a big surprise: In a couple of frames, a bird, scared by Jacopo, had flown into the shot.
I agree that I was lucky, but this image is also a result of three years spent looking for powder and skiing in every condition, with a heavy backpack. In the end, it is always a matter of being at the right place at the right time. This picture is not just a good image — it also shows my idea of freeskiing, which is in some ways different from the one seen in videos and commercials. For me, freeriding is a different approach to sports, a life based on feelings and experiences. It is also a different way to relate to nature and the mountains: not a battle, but a way to enjoy every aspect of being part of it.