Arosa, Switzerland - 2 am: Swiss free skier Elias Ambühl is attaching LED luminous diodes to his skis. Photographer Thomas Stöckli is putting his camera into time exposure mode. The outcome: just Ambühlievable!
Elias Ambühl (20), last year’s winner at freestyle.ch, will start his “mission title defense” on the weekend of September 22nd on the Landiwiese in Zurich in front of 40’000 fans. During the past two years, Elias Ambühl has almost won anything that could be achieved on the free ski circuit. His career is picture-perfect, and his achievements can be summarized very simply: Ambühlievable!
In Arosa, Grischuna, the athlete of the year attacked the big air jump in the middle of the night – with luminous diodes on his skis. The outcome are some spectacular night shots, thanks to the Swiss photographer Thomas Stöckli, who’s been widely known for taking amazing shots of snowboarders during the past ten years. "I was a little surprised when I heard that this was about free skiing”, he admits. “But as soon as I found out that I was going to work with Elias Ambühl, I was totally amazed – he’s such an incredible athlete, he really stands out.”
Stöckli, known for his off-the-wall shots, faced quite a few obstacles during that night up there on 2000 meters: "It’s always quite a challenge to take pictures when the temperature is below zero. Also, the timing has to be perfect due to the time exposure and the flash lights. But I am really happy with what we’ve got – the pics will go straight to my portfolio. I won’t decide whether I’ll call this art or sports photography – I’ll leave it up to the beholder.“
You decide for yourself – is it art or action?