The Snow Report
Swedish ski-mountaineer Andreas Fransson, 29, blazed into the ski industry’s collective consciousness this year with the release of Mike Douglas’ documentary Tempting Fear. The film, which follows Fransson’s comeback from a near-fatal ski injury in 2010, won Best Action Film on October 5 at the Adventure Film Festival in Boulder, Colorado.
But for the past few years, Fransson has been steadily earning the respect of his peers by quietly notching eye-popping ski-mountaineering feats, including first descents in Norway’s Lyngen Alps last spring and Denali’s South Face in 2011. In early October, he returned from a month-long expedition to Patagonia, where he claimed the first ski descent of the Whillans Ramp on Argentina’s Poincenot.
When he’s not scouting obscure corners of the globe for new lines, Fransson lives in Chamonix, where he’s training to become a mountain guide. But what separates Fransson from many of his hard-charging peers, is his elegant outlook on life and skiing. He’s endlessly searching for new challenges, journeys, and meaning in it all. Here he discusses fear, risk, and adventure—the philosophic musings of a self-proclaimed soul skier.
In Tempting Fear you say: “It is a human condition to seek adventure and challenge. The temptation to test both possibilities and limits is strong in some.” What exactly do you mean?
I think it’s the human condition to be curious in life. Fear in different shapes keeps us away from exploring the possibilities of life experience. The only sane thing I can think of is to play with life. Play with fear. Play with existence. Play with love, sex, the mountains, and even death. Play is the value of everything. Boredom is the problem.
How does this notion of “tempting fear” play into your skiing?
Skiing is just one of many ways I express myself in life. It’s the thing I have done the most, so I’m not hindered by a lack of skill, which allows me to play with fear before, during, and after I do something. This makes the experience more complete.
What was the experience like of shooting Tempting Fear?
It was a very escapist experience, as I can’t completely identify myself with the Andreas in the movie. I feel like I change so fast and the film is all based on old thoughts, old actions, old adventures, and I don’t think much of what’s old and gone. I’m a new person. Now, I’ve got new theories, new thoughts, objectives and new adventures coming up. But in short, I had a great time, I learned a lot and I really appreciated spending time with Mike Douglas and Bjarne Salén, as well as the guys at Switchback and Salomon.
In the film, you talk about defying society’s expectations as the means to finding adventure. What do you see as society’s expectations and how do you defy them?
I have to challenge my own expectations to go beyond, into the unknown—the only place where real adventure can be found, as I see it. If you know the outcome of something, it will become dead. So we have to play with the unknown, in big and small things, to get freshness in our lives.
To defy society’s expectations might be to defy the concept others (friends, family, colleagues, media) put on us. In other words, to not live the story others create for us and instead, write the magic of our own lives.