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No other mountain bike photographer brings the Alps to life in quite the same way as photographer Mattias Fredriksson. The Swedish native has spent decades skiing and riding in Europe’s highest places, and captures the vastness and sheer beauty of the continent’s most formidable peaks in a way that elicits instant envy and a yearning for escapism. His high-alpine landscapes, bathed in golden light with perfectly positioned clouds framing snow-covered massifs, as riders dwarfed by their jaw-dropping surroundings pedal past, almost make you wonder if they could even possibly be real. Indeed they are, and Fredriksson always finds a new way to make these scenes never feel old. Over the years, one of his most consistent muses has been the iconic Swiss village of Verbier and along with it, Verbier’s own Ludo May.
May, now 32, was raised in (and still lives) in nearby Le Châble, and was a rising DH star in 2011 when Chris Winter, the owner of Whistler’s Big Mountain Adventure guiding company who ran trips in the area, reached out about an opportunity to shoot with Anthill Films for what would become “Strength In Numbers.” May was beside himself, showing his idols Wade Simmons and Matt Hunter the local tracks at Verbier where he’d grown up racing and training. On that same trip, Fredriksson was along to shoot stills, and he and May hit it off.
Fredriksson has been back many times since to shoot with May, who’s sort of a photographer’s dream. He knows the region better than anyone, is a former Top 20 World Cup DH and Enduro World Series who can make any trail look spectacular, and enjoys the process of shooting, which can sometimes result in long days without much actual riding, all in the name of creativity.
But with Verbier as their canvas, Fredriksson and May have made magic many times over.
“It’s a place that resonates with my style,” Fredriksson says. “That place really has it all, which is quite unique in the Alps. It’s the most scenic DH tracks in the Alps, possibly the planet, and just that relief into the valley. Then you have the Grand Combin massif, which is stunning, and several other mountain ranges close by, so there are never any issues finding a spectacular backdrop.”
Fredriksson shared with us some of his favorite images from some 20 two decades of shooting in Verbier, and the stories behind them.