No Expectations!

No Expectation! Movie Poster

A Ski Mountaineering Odyssey through Switzerland, Chamonix, Austria, the Dolomites, all the way to Lyngen.

Andri Bieger’s journey with the Ogso Ambassador’s Program began during his student years. Fast forward four years, armed with a freshly earned diploma and a newfound status as a young and dynamic lawyer, Ogso feels honored and appreciative to have Andri as part of their esteemed team.

Amidst the dynamic energy of the slopes and the lively ambiance of youthful après-ski activities, Andri effortlessly harmonizes with Ogso’s philosophy and mindset. A passionate free-rider and tenacious couloirs hunter, he distinguishes himself as a genuine master of couloirs. Observing Andri’s journey of development and triumph has brought us immense joy, and we are thrilled to present his most recent achievement, “No Expectation.” Come along on this exciting adventure, relish the experience, and immerse yourself in the captivating story that awaits. Enjoy the read!

Ogso Rider Andri Bieger Charging in a Couloirs
Credit: Andri Bieger

“Holy moly! That was easily 500 vertical meters by now. Where is the exit couloir? Did I pass it already?” 

Legs burning. The cold powder snow dusting my face. Skis effortlessly gliding through the light, bottomless powder, while gravity accelerates me down the 45° steep slope. Weightless, free, fully in the moment. Ah, there it is, the exit couloir on the left. Just a few more meters to straight-line and enjoy a face shot, then finally stop. My gaze shifts from the deep blue of the sea to the glittering white of the peak, from which I dropped a few seconds ago – 1300 meters above me! And we’re still not at the bottom! The best run of my life? Definitely! Overwhelmed by happiness, I have to scream and laugh. Is that a tear on my cheek? Must be the cold weather.

Two months ago, we wouldn’t have dared to dream of such moments. Back then, we sat in Disentis, amidst rain and spring-like temperatures, planning the next three months. It was supposed to be the best season of our lives. We, Ricardo, Finn, and I,  are all freshly done with military service, work, or university, and for the first time in our lives, free for the entire winter.

The plan was to chase the best snow and the steepest lines in the Alps with Dirty Harry, Finn’s grandpa’s old camper. But things took a different turn as the Alps experienced the worst winter in decades.

In early January, a snowstorm was forecasted for the Western Alps, so we headed towards Chamonix. However, the first run down from Aiguille du Midi, with a 100-meter-long tomahawk over glazed ice above a rock face, was a sobering experience. It showed us that inflated egos, overestimation, and Salomon Shift bindings can be deadly. 

We had to admit that the terrain was a completely different league than the Swiss Alps, with the consequences of mistakes much higher. The snow was mediocre, and the powder stress was extreme. We spent some days at the Argentière Hut, tackling classic steep skiing lines. On weekends, the winter room was almost doubled with mountaineers, turning the entire boot room into a second dorm. 

The descents through the steep faces were like navigating a human slalom. Nevertheless, we managed to do some major lines, such as Col des Cristaux or the Y-Couloir of Aiguille Argentière (3898m). The skiing highlight of this trip was undoubtedly the three powder days at Skyway Monte Bianco, on Punta Helbronner. The cable car, ending at 3462m, is a dream for freeriders who love open, steep slopes. A ski lift that takes you directly into the high alpine without detours. Simply awesome!

However, warm weather, strong winds, and our poor health forced us to leave Chamonix at the end of January. After a week of warm baths at home, snow was forecasted for the eastern Alps, so we headed towards Innsbruck with Dirty Harry.

Finn with Dirty Harry

We quickly realized that the commercial ski resorts in Austria wouldn’t meet our expectations. Excessive après-ski, rules, and endless lift queues were a bit too much of a culture shock, especially coming from the freedom of Chamonix. Staying with friends, we spent three weeks between shared sofas and nice student pubs. During the day, we explored the Karwendel with its numerous narrow and winding couloirs. A great playground, but here too, a warm front without an end in sight rolled in, looking like the start of summer by late February, even during multi-pitch climbs in shorts and T-shirts.

Disheartened, we decided to escape the miserable situation in the Alps by heading north. Because it couldn’t possibly be worse than in the Alps. Worst case, we’d go fishing and drink beer up there. To keep our expectations low, we never checked the weather forecast or snow predictions. So, for five days, we raced northward at 80 km/h, covering 3500 km. After a broken windshield, a run-over badger, and four crime audiobooks by Jo Nesbø, we reached Lyngen. We parked at the edge of the snow-covered road and bundled up in thick sleeping bags, curious about what the next weeks would bring.

Ogso Rider Andri Bieger and team mate chilling in the sun
Credit: Andri Bieger

The next morning greeted us with freezing cold and 60cm of fresh powder. Without knowing exactly where to go, we walked behind the camper up the hill. Run after run, we had the best tree skiing of our lives that day. And it would stay like that. Basically, every day was the same. We woke up when it got too cold in the sleeping bag, turned the heater to full blast to bring Dirty Harry from -10°C to a cozy 5°C, and, once the freezing point was surpassed, brewed our first coffee.

Well-fed, we plunged into the cold weather, starting to track through the endless, flat valleys with their meager birches towards a couloir in the deep snow. The couloirs presented a whole new challenge because the cold, unbound powder snow usually lay so deep in the lines that boot packing without Auftriib plates was simply impossible. At the top of the line, it was a quick transition, an incredibly good pow run through the line, and then a long, flat walk back to Dirty Harry. Once there, the heating had to be turned on again before indulging in Polar bread with herring and lots of butter. 

The evening, after selecting the line for the next day, was spent studying, reading, philosophizing, or listening to audiobooks with a rather clear White Russian in hand. Life is good – at least until about 1 am when the camper reaches freezing point again, and we eagerly await the next warm coffee in our sleeping bags.

No Expectation! team standing together
Credit: Andri Bieger
Aurora Borealis
Credit: Andri Bieger

Gradually, our desire for a shower grew, and our empty gas bottles and food supplies had to be replenished, so we headed to Tromsø, the northernmost city in the world. There, we not only equipped Dirty Harry with essential spiked tires for the constantly ice-covered roads and restocked our supplies but also quickly got to know some of the outdoor enthusiasts among the locals. They lent us their shower and showed us fantastic tree runs and endless couloirs, as well as the vibrant nightlife of Tromsø.

And as it goes, when basic needs are met, you start to go a little crazy. Higher, further, faster, especially faster, was our trend!

Like when you can’t hear or see your buddy while hiking up a couloir because a mega-spindrift just rolled over you, and before continuing, a simple “All clear” is sufficient discussion basis for moving on. Or when your friend, who sensibly follows the Chamonix handbook, wants to make a belayed ski cut at the entry of a 600-meter couloir to test the snowpack thoroughly, and you respond with, “Well, if you don’t mind, I would just straight-line the whole thing.”

Last year, we saw how important it is to have no expectations and be positively surprised.

We had the time of our lives in Norway. Now we’re back in Disentis, preparing Dirty Harry for the next trip to Norway.

However, this time with high expectations. Let’s see what will happen…

Watch "No Expectation!"

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