Two Olympic champions light up the halfpipe

In the winter sports area of Grindelwald-First, a summit meeting of two Olympic champions took place. The two Olympic snowboarding champions Iouri Podladtchikov and Gian Simmen teamed up for an extraordinary project: The 100-metre-long and five-and-a-half-metre-high halfpipe was illuminated with impressive projections after dark while the two snowboarders performed their spectacular tricks.

Gian Simmen and Iouri Podladtchikov have literally reached Olympus in their sporting careers: the two exceptional Swiss athletes have both won gold at the Olympic Games in snowboarding (halfpipe) – Gian Simmen in Nagano (1998), Iouri Podladtchikov in Sochi (2014).

But even beyond their sporting successes, the two Olympic snowboarding champions have many things in common. They still love snowboarding and are still up for new challenges. If these challenges are related to their passion, snowboarding, all the better. Already six years ago, the two realised a first project on First that was close to their hearts: together with many young talents, they opened the halfpipe at Bärgelegg. Six years after the opening, the two have returned to the Grindelwald-First Snowpark to realise another unique project.

Spectacular tricks under changing light conditions

The halfpipe was illuminated with moving projections after dark so that the spectacular jumps by Gian Simmen and Iouri Podladtchikov in front of the majestic Eiger North Face became an impressive spectacle. As darkness fell, they not only had to concentrate on their spectacular tricks, but also cope with the ever-changing light conditions. All in the spirit of the Grindelwald-First – Top of Adventure destination.

The two halfpipe pros visibly enjoyed the unique ambience and motivated each other to top performances. The result is an extraordinary video that blurs the four elements and the boundary between dreams and reality.

Visualisation concept and partnership

Kilchenmann AG, Jungfrau Railways’ technical partner, was responsible for the realisation of the unique visualisation concept with projection, lighting and pyrotechnics in the halfpipe. The result is a real masterpiece that bears witness to the craftsmanship of all those involved: “Illuminating a halfpipe is an enormous challenge because the moving projections are not projected onto a flat surface but into a curve”, says Jann Schoch, technical project manager at Kilchenmann AG, describing the challenge.

The know-how of the Bernese communications technology company, which is now internationally active, was therefore in demand. In the process, the combination of two rounded surfaces was put together live on site with innovative software, which guaranteed a unique image experience. However, despite the software, the idea was not as easy to implement as the final product suggests: “The weather conditions with the cold of the night setting in as well as the logistical challenges due to the location of the halfpipe made the event a showcase project for us”, says Jann Schoch, looking back on the event. 

Video