Whiteroom Productions is an independent film company based in Innsbruck, Austria. They have been recording different ski and snowboard films for the last years and this season they present When the mountains were wild, where the crew goes to Albania on a road trip from their hometown, Innsbruck, crossing the Balcans and seeing the devastating effects of the Balcan war.
Once they reach their destination, it will be like travelling back in time. Mountains are still wild and pristine, they way they used to be in the Alps or the Pyrenees over a hundred years ago.
Why did you come with the idea of planning a whole movie? what are the difficulties of doing it on your own?
First I was not planning on doing a movie but I was really motivated to go on a trip and explore some new terrain so I started some research. When Jones Snowboards came up with the adventure grant I put my research in a concept and applied. The grant was the starter, then try to get a little budget together and to make the movie. The hardest thing is always to get some money for the production! Without the stoke and idealism of the whiteroomproductions crew for that project beyond the budget, it would not have been possible to accomplish it.
Your final destination was Albania, an unknown country for commercial splitboard trips. Why did you choose it?
There is no real wilderness left in central Europe, not even in our mountains. I wanted to find mountain wilderness close enough to drive there from home. Researching on Albania I got the feeling that the mountains, the altitude, the precipitation and the distance from the sea should or at least could make up for conditions we were looking for. Before getting into it I didn’t know that Albania is the highest, average altitude, country in Europe!
What are the logistics of such a man-powered expedition? What are the risks of being completely isolated from the world in terms of safety?
Logistics start with finding proper maps of the region. Klaus took care of that and ended up plotting some russian maps he could find online. Driving there makes things easier, you just throw all the equipment you might need for in your van… On trips like that safety is for sure an issue, the Satellite phone doesn’t help so much if there is no helicopter you can call to pick you up when something goes wrong and you are 2 days away walking from the closest road in an almost non-populated valley. You have to be aware of that!
Will we be seeing more splitboard projects from you in the future?
I always love to go on adventures and to explore new terrain! If there is a story that is worth telling and I can also manage to get a little budget together, it could be.
Thanks for your answer Mitch, and congratulations for this beautiful movie. We’ll be definitely aware of your new productions in the future!