Wavy 2, let’s Svalbard together


What happened to Niko Schirmer? Our favorite Nordic crow swore he would never get on this boat again, but his new film is all about Sofie (that’s the ship nickname) and a sailing trip to Svalbard. Let’s explore this and untangle a few ropes.


First of all, maybe we should get this boat issue sorted. ”Yes, it was the same ship, but with a new captain” says Nikolai, as if to apologize. “Captain Crocs sold Sofie, that was why the former movie was titled « the last voyage of Sofie and Captain Crocs ». The new captain, Mats Grimsæth, got to watch the movie, and he came up to me saying we should sail to Svalbard together.” This new captain may be an old salt and a veteran sailor, he knows how to speak to a skier nonetheless. It did not take much convincing to get Niko on a trip to the northern island, well known for its challenging terrain, tricky conditions, complex weather and touchy polar bears (adjectives are commutable).



Well, here we are again, aboard Sofie, fully renovated by the new captain “all this time he was living in this tiny shack by the harbor, you could think he was victim of some human trafficking gang.” Sailing to Svalbard is one thing, quite tricky in itself, but the crew you embark with is another. As Niko says, « the best part of this trip were the human interactions ». Among a crew made up of (mostly broken) male figures (a former drug addict, the captain’s mom new boyfriend, a closemouthed guide…) was a rookie crow, invited for her relentless love for skiing. « I never had met Niko before this trip, » says Celeste Pomerantz. « I’m quite new at blackcrows, and I was not expecting to get an email with everybody in CC: Would you like to ski Svalbard? »

Celeste upbringing is interesting in itself, as her parents are passionate mountain lovers. Her dad was a “late skier” (one kind particularly dear to our hearts), he started in his 30s in Chamonix, and that made him all the more involved and addicted. Her mom is Norwegian, she was a semi pro cross-country skier. That’s why Celeste can understand Norwegian « but I can’t speak, though I lived in Norway for one year as a student, which proved useful on the boat ».

As Nikolai states, « there can be quite a lot of tension, being on a sailboat, with rules, and a hierarchy structure that makes the sea culture very different from freeriding. » And the captain was not the easiest on board, by any accounts. “I suck at cooking,” explains Celeste, “We all did our chores. Niko made very good reindeer soup. Asbjørn, as the dad of the trip, is a great cook. And by sea law, the captain never cooks.”

All this makes for interesting experiences on the ocean, but then the goal was to ski. And that, too, was not easy. “I was hoping to ski great lines, but Svalbard was hit by heatwaves last spring,” explains Niko. “Everywhere people were telling us the same thing: go north. Good snow was supposed to be further north, but then we hit the north and the snow was still shitty.”



While sailing close to ski lines, feelings were mixed. Celeste was super excited at going skiing anytime, anywhere. “It’s difficult because the sun is always out, so I was like « let’s go skiing » all the time, and also trying to get myself to calm down.” She had never been involved in a full sized ski movie project, so she was not familiar with filming. “The first ski line I was like « It’s good, let’s just go », while Niko was looking for a better light and lots of other stuff.”

Celeste was the youngest of the team, never scared about the weather, and somehow frustrated by the eldest. “We never skied together before this trip so there was some tension, can she perform?” says Niko “But she has a big energy level, reminds me of the first time I went to Whistler, excited about everything « this is a dream trip! » she would yell. And finally she proved strong, she can ski fast, and freestyle too.”

“In the movie I’m a bit of a goofy dude. I am standing in the middle between Celeste and our guide, Asbjørn, not as eager, more picky. My girlfriend just dumped me and I also hit a rock hard, so there is this substory about where I stand in my life and what I can find in the mountains. Asbjørn Eggebø is 10 years older, he was scared about the rocks, he broke his neck once so he’s more cautious, plus he left his wife and two little girls at home.”

All this time I was telling myself OK, I’m looking at this and I may never see it again, I must remember.


The team saw a lot of animals, as Svalbard really is much alive despite its demanding weather: walruses, seals, many different types of birds, reindeers, dolphins, whales… “We saw 5 or 6 polar bears,” recalls Celeste. “The first one was really beautiful, he was the one we got to spend the most time looking at. We were on land, I was about to learn how to shoot a flare. You use the gun first if the bear is coming to you, and then you shoot at him only as a last case scenario. But just before I was going to use the gun for my first training, the captain spotted this bear, maybe 1km away. We quickly got back on the boat. It was really cool to see him, or her. All this time I was telling myself OK, I’m looking at this and I may never see it again, I must remember.”


On a sailboat there are rules and a hierarchy structure that makes the sea culture very different from freeriding.

Finally the crew found the goods. “Brøggertind, the final mountain, you lose all hope and then you find redemption.” This place had lots of options, couloirs from top down to the ocean (including “La Diabla” christened by the crew who did the first descent). With so many great skiing lines, they got to spend a lot of time there. “One day while Niko slept (we had a strange sleep schedule) we all went and skied 2 lines,” says Celeste. “Not gnarly, but great. Then I did another party line with Niko when he got up. It was one of these good vibes days that I will probably never forget.”



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