Kilian Bron has just unveiled his latest big production in which the Private Sport Shop rider takes us to some of the most beautiful spots in Switzerland.
After Mexico and his video "Colors of MexicoKilian Bron is back on the old continent. For his project "Switzerland Paradise", the Frenchman went to Switzerland on spots as diverse as a glacier, a waterfall or dreamy singles on the edges of the Helvetian mountains. Kilian goes to Switzerland every season for short stays to explore the immense riding possibilities that this country offers. But here, it is within the framework of one of his famous videos that he spent several days there to achieve the result below.
For this latest production made in partnership with Tissot, Kilian comments below on some of the most beautiful photos taken during the shoot. These shots were taken by photographers Matieu Ruffray (from Pagno Visual) and Tristan Shu, who were mentioned in our article on the best outdoor sports photographers.
"My passion for glaciers has been building since our adventures around Mont Blanc in 2015. I think back to a particular outing with my buddy Antoine Montegani. The same Antoine who guided me and then supported me for the scouting of our awesome trip in the Dolomites in Italy. Since then, I think back to those moments and all the glaciers fascinate me. When I was riding in Zermatt for one of the stages of the enduro world cup, the glacier next to the start of the first stage caught my eye. I have to admit that I was more concentrated when I imagined myself riding there than on my race run...
In the continuity and logic of the glacier, we absolutely wanted to find an ice cave worthy of the name. And as usual, it was not an easy task! Like ephemeral works of art, these ice tunnels melt and disappear. During a short period of the year, some are covered with snow on the ground.
The wind and other snow flows cover the rivers that normally flow inside. In a few words, I'm driving through an ice tunnel. But underneath, there is yet another cavity where the river flows... Having returned to the site two months later, it was nothing like it!
It reminds me of our trip to Chile three years ago now. We had approached a glacier towards the Pucon Volcano and found a natural arch. A few months later, while watching a recent video of the same area, there was nothing left...
On the famous Europatrail is the world's largest Himalayan bridge. A huge 400-meter bridge, which schinte an ancient and dangerous crossing below. I went to scout it out a few weeks before the shoot to make sure everything worked on the day. It's sometimes tricky to take the guys with me to an unfamiliar area. Sometimes we have to walk around for several hours before filming a single spot...
And when it's a bad surprise, it's a whole day that goes by the wayside. The weather is already capricious enough on the mountain peaks, it would be a waste of time to accumulate this kind of day, beyond the fact of demotivating the whole team. This is also one of the reasons why these videos often take me a whole year to make. Between the search for spots, concepts, partners, location scouting and the editing of the media team and the complete broadcasting of the project, a lot of time is spent!
To reveal some shooting secrets, the scouting allowed me to provide an extra handlebar cut in the backpack, at 740mm. This means that I had 1,5cm extra margin on each side to ride faster and more serenely on this narrow bridge, about 850mm wide. For all the other grips, outside the bridge, I just had to change my handlebars back to the original one, cut at 770mm.
The sequence of images in the video follows "the thread of the water". I set off from the summit of Glacier 3000 before descending the glaciers, the ice caves, then the mountain pastures and various valleys of the country. On my way is this dam, certainly artificial, but which becomes a playground like all the others. These buildings are part of the Swiss landscape and better than a simple crossing, I prefer to use them as a huge wall ride. In all our videos, I try never to draw variations or modify the terrain that is offered to us. It's all about adaptation, even if it means making my track more technical and less fluid than it could have been with a few shovels.
To tell you the truth, I like to ride everything technical, finding flow in my own way. When we don't have a choice, it's easy to "cheat" for a few pictures, where 2 meters is enough for me to ride. On the other hand, it's more difficult to do in video shooting, and it doesn't make sense! To finish this parenthesis, I could launch myself from the top of the dam, following its diagonal for about 40 seconds. But it's impossible to drop from the top or to imagine a continuous wall ride from top to bottom, it would be suicidal.
In the continuity of the dams, we follow the rivers or the bisses, numerous in the Valais. A bisse is a long irrigation canal that leads water down the mountain side to cultivated land. Most of our runs have a trail that connects them to each other. It's also the perfect kind of trail for an all-mountain or even Gravel outing.
On one of the slopes of Crans Montana, one of these bisses slides under the waterfall. It bypasses it through a cavity, which naturally forms a nice upward bend. There is no way you can miss this magnificent spot. And it's the perfect opportunity to try out some original shots with Pierre, at the controls of his FPV drone.
These Swiss alpine trails gave me a hard time. The most difficult ones are marked with blue and white signs all over the country. Sometimes, some of them can be ridden in their entirety on the way down. But no need to talk about the ascent... No matter the markings, almost all the mountain trails we ride downhill are impassable in the other direction!
As I mentioned in another column, I try as much as possible to locate all these places before filming. But time often constrains me, as do the seasons. 2500m is the average altitude at which all the images you see were taken. This means that the location scouting can be done at best from the beginning of June.
At the same time, I am training for my running goals for the Mountain Of Hell or the Megavalanche. This is also the time when most of the events are organized and there are choices to be made.
The peaks and ridges are the most visual places and the ones you enjoy the most after hours of hard work. I get asked this a lot, but in 95% of cases, there is no chairlift, 4×4 or helicopter to take the team to the top of each spot. Most of the time, we walk up. When the spot is worth spending several hours on, even if it means a sunset + sunrise, we plan to camp in addition to the bike and video equipment.
It's all logistics before we get what we have in mind. In Switzerland, we have been lucky enough to have some great refuges open in the summer. Beyond enjoying the mountains, it takes away the extra burden of managing food and water. These refuges become our base camps and are always good places to meet people.
Drawn and smoothed for thousands of years by the glaciers, these huge slabs are one of my favourite playgrounds! From a distance, nothing seems practicable on a bike... But after hours of wandering from rock to rock, we manage to find a long natural line with a breathtaking view of the Matterhorn."