111: Lena Stoffel/Solar Voyager

Lena Stoffel, Niseko backcountry, January 2020. Photo: me.

“I like to push my filmmaking, because I’m really passionate about it. I want to be creative, and tell a story which is meaningful and inspiring to experience nature the way I love it”

It can be funny how these episodes come together sometimes. You can spend months trying to arrange a meeting. Or you can randomly bump into somebody at the top of a backcountry run off the back of Niseko Annapurri, as happened with me and Lena in this case.

It was the type of welcome coincidence that has characterised my friendship with Lena Stoffel over the last few months. So after our day in the backcountry, we arranged to sit down in Niseko the next day to record this episode.

Circle of the Sun quiver. Photo: Inigo Grasset

I was keen to speak to her about her life and career as a skier, snowboarder, surfer, photographer and film-maker. Like all pro athletes in this world, Lena is a traveller, and I admire the way she’s putting herself out there with her recent projects. It takes a certain of amount of creative courage to think beyond the usual trick porn and attempt to explore the cultural hinterlands of skiing, surfing and snowboarding, as Lena is.

Classic Japow scenes. Photo: Aaron Jamieson

Her approach is now winning renown beyond the narrow horizons of our own little world. As you’ll hear, Lena is extremely humble, but as is so often the case, there’s a drive and creative ambition at work that is leading her onwards to ever more intriguing projects.

I really enjoyed this one, recorded on a lovely, snowy, calm afternoon in Niseko. Hope you do too.

Show Notes

  • Random encounter on the mountain.
  • The route
  • Face to carpark.
  • “How do you say that?”.
  • 50 cm dump.
  • Low levels.
  • Love of snowboarding as a skier.
  • Hooked from the big fish.
  • Finding enjoyment in new things.
  • Breathing after Circle of the Sun.
  • One year.
  • Big waves.
  • “Unfinished business in Norway”.
  • Idea behind Circle of the Sun.
  • Way North.
  • Working with Inigo Grasset.
  • Working on projects with a non-traditional background.
  • “I like to bring in photographers from a different sport. They have a different eye on things”.
  • Drone shots.
  • “Movie creation is a struggle for me”.
  • The challenge of shooting Way East.
  • Cultural experiences on filming trips.
  • Formulaic ski and snowboard films.
  • Representing cultures.
  • Portraying what happened at Fukushima.
  • Taking time with a small production team.
  • Response to the film.
  • Taking on bigger themes.
  • Inspiring films from this year’s Kendal Film Festival.
  • Female voices.
  • Discovering creativity after a pro career.
  • Why people don’t follow their ideas through.
  • “I’m driven by adventure and the outdoors”.
  • Trial and error.
  • Voice over.
  • Scores for the film.
  • Not pitching.
  • Creative freedom.
  • The slopestyle years.
  • South of Germany.
  • Parents were ski teachers.
  • Competing in the 2010 X Games.
  • “I was going for Sochi”.
  • Torn ACL.
  • “It got more and more important to tell stories and create good pictures”.
  • Inspiring filmmakers.
  • “Nature gives me so much”.
  • Environmental awareness.
  • Surfing.
  • Sponsored by Roxy.
  • Appreciating the differing aspects of action sports.
  • Looking at the mountains differently through each sport.
  • The skiing, snowboarding and surfing relationship.
  • Deciding when to snowboard or ski.
  • Heading north.
  • Exhibition in Innsbruck Spring 2020.

Places Mentioned

Companies/Brands/Organisations Mentioned