“High Five Festival in Annecy, France. Ever heard of it? We would like you to visit it, if you’d like of course.”, is what our marketing manager said at the office.
I, as a freshly new marketing intern, didn’t need a lot of time to think about the question and I responded immediately with a big and happy YES.
My colleague Ronald, who was surfing in Ireland at the time, also liked the idea of visiting this huge ski-film festival in southern part of France. A few days later our journey to the where the mountains meet the lake began. Ronald and I only knew each other for a month. Being with a person you don’t really know can be quite exciting especially if you have to hang out with them for over five days straight. Luckily the suspense disappeared very quickly and the corny jokes started almost instantly.
We were taking our trusty old Peugeot van on a 1100 kilometer trip all the way down to Annecy. Although the van had already driven close to 200.000 kilometers it held itself nicely. The only true thing that was missing was a proper sound system which is an absolute necessity on a road trip like this. We decided to take a quick little detour to my parents house to stop for a coffee break and pickup a bluetooth speaker. During the entire trip all of the classic road trip tunes were played and we both sang along loudly. You can only imagine how that must have sounded…
The road is long and winding
Before the start of our trip we decided that we would stay the night at a motel to rest somewhere in the middle of France so we would be fit for the days to come. It was still dark outside when the alarm clock started beeping to let us know we had to be on our way. With a small road trip hangover from the 700 hundred kilometers we drove the day before we prepared ourselves for the remaining 400.
The last kilometers of the journey passed without any problems and we were even able to take a couple of cool shots for our edit (which you can see above). Slowly but surely the surroundings became more and more beautiful.
The entire back of our van was filled up with tents, beach flags and even more goodies. Once we arrived in the beautiful Annecy we met up with Pauline and Anais, two local Protest sales representatives who helped managing the Protest stand that we build up shortly after lunch.
It took a while to figure out how to arrange the tents, but eventually the four of us we were able to put up a very decent and cool looking stand.
Films films films
After that the festival could finally start for us. High Five is a huge ski and film festival in the south of France. Just like Protest there are a lot of other brands who are trying to make their own brand stand out.
Obviously the festival’s main event is watching films! There was a total of 13 sittings of about 3-6 movies each. Each sitting was about 2,5 hours.
Ronald, who has never been on a ski/snowboard trip since he’s a surfer, had practically no knowledge of skiing, snowboarding, snow, yellow snow, après ski, or all the other good stuff you usually see during your average holiday in the mountains. However, while I’m crazy about snowboarding I strangely knew nothing about skiing either.
Despite the lack of background knowledge we were ready for a ton of movies in which the coolest backcountry trips, freestyle tricks and urban ski-sessions were shown. More than once Ronald and I looked at each other in awe about the images we just witnessed on the cinema screen in front of us.
The first couple of films we saw were very overwhelming. One cool trick after another would come across the big screen with the crowd cheering. Since we didn’t understand what we saw (remember we didn’t know anything about skiing) everything seemed cool, but if everything seems cool things quickly become a bit repetitive. The fact that most films were in French and that the English subtitles were missing meant we couldn’t understand most of the backstories. Nonetheless we were still able to enjoy most of the films.
After a while when we learnt more about skiing we got more and more stoked about the films we saw. One film was Same Difference and it was absolutely insane. It was sort of the side documentary for a movie called Legs of Steel. The film portrayed the lives of skiërs in different disciplines and their backstories. It even featured one of our freestyle skiërs Lukas Joas. Just check out the 4K trailer a little bit above here.
The show around the films was presented and hosted by Tom Granier. Prior to each sitting of films the audience could throw paper airplanes on stage to win goodies. You could even win ski’s and a (semi)automatic NERF gun. You know, the ones with the foam rubber bullets. Although we couldn’t understand Tom for 95% of the time, because he spoke in French most of the time, you can still feel the overall vibe. It was very good!
Guess who won the NERF gun by the way. Ronald! He was so happy with his win!
The other event, which was probably even more exciting than the films, was the SOSH big air. In the beautiful city park an almost vertical chemically made white wall erected where a bunch of adrenaline junkies are showing what they can do best. With an annoyingly slow lift the nervous athletes are getting themselves prepped for landing the best tricks that they had been practicing for months. It was amazing!
Our very own rider Andri Raggetli was supposed to participate as well, but unfortunately he hit his head during practice. Luckily everything is going well with him. Unfortunately for us we had to reschedule our plans because the content we wanted to make mainly revolved around Andri, so it was back to the drawing board.
Home is where the heart is
On sunday night our time Annecy had come to an end and the doors of our Peugeot closed for the last time. We have really enjoyed the festival, the lovely weather and the French food. Nevertheless we are happy to return to our everyday lives and to sleep in our own beds again.
See you next year High Five!