DAVID ZINCKE AND THE SONS OF GUNS

When you think of an Alpine après-ski band, you might expect an average band that plays in the background while enjoying a drink – you don’t expect to hear talented, world-class musicians. Welcome to Après-Ski at the Farinet in Verbier, with David Zincke and The Sons of Guns.

David Zincke and The Sons of Guns are not new to the Verbier après-ski scene. A giveaway sign to their familiarity here is the line of Jägerbombs waiting for them on the bar. They’ve just arrived in town, Faye is playing her warm up set on stage, so why not start the week off with a shot! Medi prefers a cup of tea, maybe he’s pacing himself – he knows what to expect from the week ahead…

The Farinet Après-Ski is a Verbier institution, the place you just ‘pop’ into for one drink, and then before you know it, you could be downing toffee vodka from the shot ski and dancing in your ski boots on the bar. Aymeric Ardimanni, (the one with the beard) is well known in Verbier and has been coming to play at the Farinet in various bands for over six years. Based in the South of France, this is where he met other band members Jack Daniel, Tim Parisot and Scott Richman to create ‘The Sons of Guns’. The talented group then became the permanent backing band for songwriter David Zincke. Add the multi-disciplined musician and producer Medi, and you have the après-ski ‘super band’. (Medi is producing David Zincke’s upcoming album ‘Soul and Bones’ coming out later this year.)

One of the first questions I ask is, “don’t you get bored covering songs when you all write and perform your own music?” The response is a quick and easy “no” from all of them. Coming to Verbier is an opportunity for them to all hang out with each other and have fun away from the distractions of every day life in France. On stage they actually look like they are enjoying the experience rather than just going through the motions to make a living. Their love of music oozes through the ski thermals of the coldest punters fresh off the mountain. They don’t just ‘cover’ a song, they play it their way. You end up enjoying songs you didn’t even know you liked.

Any band coming to play on the Après-Ski stage can’t be shy of the Verbier crowd and the party, or ‘heave’, that can often occur at the Farinet. With jugs of beer flying all over the place and people stage-diving in ski boots, or girls dancing in just their bras on the bar – it’s all part of the attraction. Luckily they enjoy the mad atmosphere, or the challenge to create one. The Sons of Guns embrace the après sprit or ‘spirits’ – literally, sometimes knocking back vodka straight from the bottle between songs. And this is a quiet night. It’s easy to see why they aren’t up for the first lifts each morning.

Another reason you won’t see them waiting at Médran is due to the fact no one in the band skis or snowboards. The main reason they avoid the slopes is the risk of breaking an arm or some other injury. Aymeric, however, hurt his arm when he slipped walking through the Place Centrale (he’s not the first or last to have a late-night injury…) A musician’s boots from the South of France aren’t designed for snowy roads.

As with most bands, everyone has their role – the singer, the drummer – egos fighting for space on the stage. With this band, David Zincke might have his name highlighted on the poster, but you turn around to order your drink and when you turn back, the whole configuration has changed. The drummer becomes the singer, the keyboard player is playing the guitar and one of them might be standing behind the bar. No wonder they don’t get bored.

I asked them if they had any favourite stories about their time in Verbier. There was a lot of mumbling and basically there was no point in telling me as I wouldn’t be able to print it. Fair enough. No doubt they’ll add more stories to their collection when they are back in Verbier this month on March 14th and 15th.

If you like live music, an evening watching David Zincke and The Sons of Guns is a must – and if you think you don’t like live music, you will when you watch this crew.

 


Get ready, the Boss des Bosses is back!

The legendary Boss des Bosses, Europe’s biggest inter-resort mogul competition, will be back in Verbier on March 15th. Founder Tom Banfield organised the first Boss des Bosses in Chamonix back in 1990, challenging a friend from Val d’Isère to settle their dispute over which resort had the best skiers. Last year, teams and supporters from Zermatt, Chamonix and Portes du Soleil came to Verbier for the head-to-head mogul competition. Teams made up of skiers, snowboarders, telemarkers and mono-skiers navigate a steep section of snowy bumps (‘bosses’ in French) scoring points for speed, style and jumps.

VL: How was last year’s event after the 5-year break?

TB: The legendary Phoenix rose from the ashes and shook off its dust. Teams from Zermatt, Chamonix and Portes du Soleil arrived with bus loads of supporters to enjoy a fabulous display of fun and games. A dramatic final saw Zermatt beat Verbier on the final race.

NdR: Last year’s event was a real experiment, especially with the location of the course. Back in the 90’s, the Mogul Mania events were staged on the sunny slopes of Fontanet, however we decided to create our own purpose-built course in the trees. It provides better visibility in case of a white out, and spectators can access the site on foot, avoiding the safety issues that curtailed the event’s continuation in Chamonix. Luckily for us, the idea was a great success, especially as it was only a short roll down the hill to Le Rouge’s L’After Party and prize-giving.

VL: What can we expect at this year’s event?

TB: Amazing skiing, great tunes and, hopefully, plenty of warm sunshine. This year’s sponsors include Faction Skis, Sinner Clothing, Mountain Air, Le Rouge Restaurant, Winslow Breweries, Pharmacie de La Croix de Coeur, Sungod Goggles, Verbier Tourism and Téléverbier.

NdR: We learned a lot of lessons from last year’s inaugural event. Amongst other things, how to make better bumps and better jumps.

VL: The first Boss des Bosses was 27 years ago, so it’s older than most of the competitors – what do you think makes the event still so popular with the younger crew today?

TB: It’s only Niko and I that have grown old! The event itself is still fresh. Mogul skiing is still great to watch and the crowd is still made up of a never- ending stream of young seasonaires living their dreams.

NdR: 1990 seems like only yesterday, but the spirit is the same. Chasing the lifestyle of a ski fanatic is a choice that only a few people have the pleasure of realising, but we that do have two things in common: we love to ride and we love to party. So, any event celebrating both is bound to succeed.

VL: How has the event changed over the years?

TB: We started with a ghetto blaster, a bag of cassettes and a megaphone, so to have DJs and a proper sound system is a great improvement. On the skiing front, the quality of jumps and tricks has gone stratospheric!

NdR: Stratospheric jumps indeed! This year, French National Champion Ben Cavet will be setting the standard, skiing for Portes du Soleil. Regarded as one of the best aerialists in the business, Ben recently won a silver medal at the FIS World Cup in Deer Valley, USA.

VL: Your favourite memory so far?

  1. There have been so many hilarious moments and tense finals, it’s too hard to choose one.

NdR: One of my many favourites was watching one of my team mates destroy a very competent skier from Zermatt while dressed as a giant banana.

VL: Who would you put your money on this year?

NdR: Zermatt have managed most wins over the years, winning last year’s final against Verbier on the very last run. So with the incentive of revenge, my money is on Verbier.

VL: How did the Boss des Bosses end up in Verbier?

TB: I’ve known Niko since the very first edition of Boss des Bosses, when he skied for Chamonix. We started reminiscing about how he had skied for three different resorts in the first three editions and after a few more beers we discussed the possibility of hosting the competition in Verbier.

In September 2015, Niko called me to say that his friends, Raph and Tash from Le Rouge, were also keen to bring the event to Verbier, so, thanks to their collaboration, the dream became a reality.

The course is above Bar 1936, with easy pedestrian access from Carrefour.

11h Course inspection

12h Racing begins

15h Grand finals

17h Prize giving and LAfter Party at Le Rouge

22h After LAfter party at Le Crock

 


Star Trail Photography

Philip Field shares his amazing star trail photographs...

As a photographer, my passion for the night sky came about when first touring and snowboarding at night. Whilst catching my breath midway on an ascent to Attelas, I vividly remember turning off my head torch to gaze up into the darkness.

[quote_center]The sight will remain etched in my mind forever - a truly breathtaking constellation of glowing stars. [/quote_center]

My fascination with stars quickly grew and has led me to my latest photographic project - capturing star trails above Verbier in a way rarely seen. This first collection includes Pierre Avoi, Cabane du Mont-Fort, 'Elephant Walk' sculpture, the chairlifts of Savoleyres and forests of Verbier.
Star trail photography can be a surreal experience. Unlike taking a traditional photograph, the actual trails are not visible to the naked eye. To capture just one star trail can take up to 90 minutes and it is only after the shutter closes that you can then see the final image. In addition, results are often best achieved under a new moon (no moonlight) and with only a few 'optimum days' available per month, it takes meticulous planning, long hours and a few prayers to the weather Gods to achieve a successful shot.


One common question asked is "what are the characteristic circular patterns?" In summary, by positioning the camera towards the North Star, the trails are spherically formed as the earth rotates around its axis. The length of each trail is dictated by the camera's exposure time with the colours representing the age and temperature of the individual stars. Blue stars are hot whilst yellow are cool. When combined with varying atmospheric conditions, a truly unique and authentic representation of a moment in time can be captured.

Philip Field Photography www.philipfield.com


Yves Garneau Night Photo Shoot

Photographer, Yves Garneau and skier, Jonas Delonge hit the slopes after dark…

It's the end of the most incredible powder day.  Cold thick air is trapped against the valley floor under a sea of clouds that lights up like an oriental carpet just before sunset.  Most of our friends can be found on the sidewalk outside the Fer a Cheval or on the terrace of the pub sipping a hot wine watching the last rays disappear to the west.  The ridge line separating Switzerland from France boasts some of the best silhouettes in the alps.  Felix Tanguay, Verbier, SwitzerlandThese early sunsets in December and January are a special event in Verbier and one of my favorite times of the year for shooting photos.  The deep blue light of day followed by burning amber rays to the fairy tale sunsets, it's all just one big visual feast for the eyes, and the camera.  And after the sun has said it's fair-wells and our friends have moved closer to the bar inside, there comes a light that few of us skiers normally get to see.   Where the powder turns as black as soot and the horizon casts the only remaining honest light.

[quote_center]And after the sun has said it's fair-wells and our friends have moved closer to the bar inside, there comes a light that few of us skiers normally get to see.[/quote_center]

Jonas Delogne and I give our thanks to the day we just had by raising our arms towards the sky as if to thank the gods.  The glasses of beer we just finished on the terrace of the Attelas restaurant have limbered us up just enough.  We are now ready to try an idea I had months ago when the grass was still long and the mountains were tattooed with wild flowers.  I pull out the flashes, cables and radio transmitters and rig up a system that looks like something out of the first Starwars movie and proceed to explain my plan to Jonas.  It's a night shoot and this is the plan....

DSC_1612

Jonas lays down the turns with an accuracy suggesting he might be Swiss. But this Canadian has already done countless turns, leaps and tricks in front of the camera and is no stranger to the many ski magazines pilling up on your coffee table at home.  We entertain ourselves with the fact that we are all alone and sing loudly to the cold that is now invading over our bodies.  The dexterity in my fingers is gone and we agree that the shots are in the bag.  An hour later we are back with our friends close to the bar and talking of what we just did when someone blurts out...hey I have a great roof I could jump off for your next shot.

Verbier, Switzerland