Full Send Personified: A Day of Extreme Freeride Skiing, Extreme Terrain and ‘Extreme’ Watches with Alpina

“Three, two, one … GO!” Leif Mumma stabs the hard-packed snow with his ski poles and launches himself out of the start gate. He immediately takes a different, more central line down the steep Ozone face. By the looks of his sheer speed and direct approach, he’s charging hard, taking the mountain head-on. Judging his quick decision making and go-big-or-go-home style, you wouldn’t think that this is Mumma’s first rodeo, but it is. He’s just a rookie on the Freeride World Tour.

With a handful of speed, Mumma dramatically cuts in and out, just holding onto his ski’s edges down what seems to be one of thinner areas on the mountain face. He makes one technical jump off a rock face, lands, then cuts right. Then another. As Mumma dances around several spruce trees, the oohs and aahs arise from the spectators along the opposite ridge. At that moment, we’re all witnessing poetry in motion.

All Downhill From Here

Suddenly, an audible crack breaks the excitement. The mountain face starts to erupt on Mumma’s left as he completes a 20 foot jump. Whatever snow that was settled along the lower center portion of the face has now released, rushing down like a raging waterfall. Mumma is just out of the avalanche’s grip as he attempts his last trick. Out of nowhere Mumma’s ski gets caught by a sharkie (an exposed rock in a sea of snow that resembles a shark’s dorsal fin). He’s projected off of the face, his arms and poles flapping like a wingless bird, and his body rotating sideways. WHISH! Mumma crashes and disappears into a bed of snow as remnants of the avalanche to his left cloud any sort of visibility from where he landed. As the snow settled, Mumma emerged, still with both of his skis attached and relatively unscathed. He skis out of the mess towards the finish gate as the crowd burst into applause for his safe return. His score, given his wipeout and the face giving way, still a respectable 39.67. This was just one run at the Golden, Kicking Horse Freeride World Tour.

There’s A Smile Somewhere Beneath All That Gear

The Freeride World Tour is a worldwide circuit of freeride snowboarding and skiing with the collection of the best riders in the world competing on some of the most iconic and challenging mountain faces across the globe. What the rider does during his or her trip from the start gate  to the finish gate is judged by five different scoring categories: difficulty of line, control, fluidity, jumps, and technique. Each of their scores are tallied up and the riders with the highest point total will make the cut to compete for the championship that’ll take place in Xtreme Verbier, Switzerland. It just so happens that the event at Golden, Kicking Horse was the last chance for those riders on the outside looking in to make the cut. And thanks to Alpina Watches, who is in their fifth year sponsoring the Freeride World Tour, I got to be a spectator to some gnarly skiing/snowboarding, chatted with a couple of their competing brand ambassadors, and checked out their latest special edition Alpiner Extreme.

Green On Green with the Alpina Alpiner Extreme

Stay Golden

Views For Days

It was already a hectic day of travel North of the border. Between the delay at my departing airport, the cross country flight, and driving through Banff National Park in some rather sketchy weather conditions, my travels culminated to a 12 hour trip by the time I had stepped foot in Golden B.C. To be clear, this is me not complaining. The travel part of being a watch journalist gig is my favorite part out of the whole thing. And although the trip was somewhat taxing on my not-so-spry body, I was kindly greeted by an old friend in the Northern Lights during the midnight drive through Banff. They were faint, but the moving and grooving green lights were just visible beyond the mountain ridge. A sign of good things to come over the course of my 48 hours in Golden, B.C.

Suit Up

Golden, B.C. is a sleepy little ski town tucked away between Banff National Park and Glacier National Park. Each and every store in their downtown area is a charming mom and pop shop. Everybody is pleasant. Everybody knows each other. And obviously, everyone skis … even the kids who aren’t tall enough to go on your average amusement park roller coaster, but are allowed to shred an 8,000 ft mountain face with ease. Golden has also had the opportunity to once again, host the Freeride World Tour at their Kicking Horse Ski Resort. For a couple of days, the entire town gathers, along with tourists flocking to the world class ski resort, to watch the best freeriders from all over the globe ski their home face.

Kicking Horse Revealed 


At five in the morning, it was still completely pitch black outside. The main gondola was a 10 minute walk down the hill from where I was staying. My flashlight beam bounced side to side. Given the large amount of bear warning signage, I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth if I didn’t mention that bears weren’t entirely on my mind. Aside from my boots crunching along, it was dead silent. The gondola was already underway, taking those ready to prep for what was going to be a big day on the mountain. Directly across the gondola was the buzzing Double Black Cafe. It was open earlier than usual, supplying caffeine and carbs to FWT competitors, event personnel, and spectators like myself who were steadily trickling in.

Golden Getting The Day Started Below

Like the walk down to the main lodge area, the gondola ride was absolutely quiet. Most likely because everyone was still trying to wake up, and waiting for the double espresso to work its magic. Exiting the gondola, it was clear that the mountain had gotten a decent amount of snowfall during the night. “Fresh pow!” one rider and FWT competitor exclaimed. Weather forecast called for clear skies, but a frigid 15°F. And with the occasional gust of wind coming and going, the wind chill had no regard for how many layers or protective gear you were wearing.

The Alpina Alpiner Extreme Looking Good Over The Glove

Within the warm confines of the Eagle Eye restaurant, who graciously left the front door unlocked, we debriefed the days ensuing events. The main concern: safety, safety, and safety. Golden Tourism’s Communication Manager, Andy Brown, who was spearheading the entire event, went through a gear check with each person, making sure everyone was properly equipped, and for those trekking into less stable areas, a RECCO (a tiny rectangular reflector capable of providing accurate location for rescue teams in the event of an avalanche or an accident) on their person. He broke down everyone’s position on the mountain including how to avoid avalanche areas and interfering with the competition runs. Brown in a half-jokingly tone mentioned that if you somehow ended up in a spot where you shouldn’t have been and needed a helicopter extraction, be prepared to eat that bill (upwards of $30,000). Although the light-hearted comment, his serious face said it all. A successful day and event on the mountain is equated to everyone safely getting off of it, and going home.

Moon > Sun

Outside, the vast landscapes of Golden started to reveal themselves. Shades of blue along the snow-capped peaks and valleys transitioned to more warmer tones. Clouds below signified just how high we actually were and ever-so-faintly you make out the little town of Golden in the distance. With the sun rising to its left, the crescent moon was also garnering for attention against the sliver of fiery sky. Alpine glow as they call it, was starting to take form. A heavenly view, if I could say so myself.

Extreme In Every Sense of the Word

Looking For Sharkies

Just outside of my snorkel puffer jacket and below my glove was a watch whose namesake represents what the Freeride World Tour was all about – the Alpina Alpiner Extreme. It’s Alpina’s take on an edgy, hard-lined case, rubber-integrated steel sports watch that functionally, is more than capable of hitting the slopes and aesthetically, looks good on the wrist while enjoying a post-ski beer at the Winston Bar & Bistro.

Alpina x Freeride World Tour 2023

With each passing year Alpina has sponsored the Freeride World Tour, they’ve released a special edition watch to celebrate the partnership. Last year’s release was a steel quartz chronograph with a three-register dial accompanied by a clever mountain logo at twelve and a polished center link steel bracelet. To celebrate five years of their partnership with the Freeride World Tour, Alpina has decided to go in a slightly different direction, tapping into their Alpiner Extreme collection. We still get the familiar steel case with slim bumpers on the case sides, and an angular lug-set that slopes down towards the integrated rubber strap. What sets it apart from the rest is the Freeride World Tour logo and emblem balancing out the Alpina word mark.

The Alpina Alpiner Extreme Regulator

On my wrist was a different take on the Alpiner Extreme. I liked the design and by the looks of some positive feedback on the IG feed, as well as the recent acquisition of the Alpiner Extreme by my good friend and new W&W team member, Ricardo Sime, the Alpiner Extreme is getting some deserved recognition. With its 41mm case, trim fixed bezel and minimal dial furnishing, the Alpiner Extreme presents with a considerably sized dial. With that said, the Alpiner Extreme Regulator, which was the watch of choice for me, filled the negative space within the dial perfectly – the hour sub register positioned at 9:00, small seconds at 6:00, Alpina logo at 3:00, and the center minutes hand wrapping it all together. In regards to the 41mm case, it still wears beautifully thanks to the slimness of the case and lightness of the integrated-rubber strap.

Your Chariot Awaits To The Colosseum

Easy Peasy

My snowboarding skills are somewhat questionable if we’re talking about going down a double black rated face. So I hitched a ride on a snowmobile. Goggles on and white knuckling it the whole way, we precariously made our way up and over a couple of peaks until we made it to the spectator ridge located at Blue Heaven. The ridge was no wider than the length of your average sedan. Exposed on both sides. Without a set of skis, and boots equipped with a set of snow spikes keeping connected to the ridge, I gingerly made my way down the narrow spine of the mountain for a decent view of the day’s festivities.

Front Row Seat

From the ridge, the entire Ozone face, from the start gate at the peak to the finish gate down in the valley, was in full view. From where I was standing, to all the way down to where the production tent was located, the ridge was filled with excited spectators. The “stoke” as they say was palpable. The energy and scenery was akin to the gladiator battles that took place in Julius Caesar’s Rome. Every move was carefully observed with bated breath. You couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions. Given the fickleness of mountain weather (the event was already rescheduled a couple of times due to weather), we were all lucky to experience low winds, sunny skies, and relatively warmer temperatures from above.

The Golden, Kicking Horse Colosseum

To save you from my own play-by-play recap of the Golden, Kicking Horse Freeride World Tour run, I strongly recommend you watch the entire event linked above. The GoPro footage and color commentary provided is most certainly more entertaining than any sort of written recap I could ever provide. What I can say is that I was totally blown away by Mat Hitzig’s GIGANTIC back-flip off of a 90 foot cliff which earned him the top score for the day. I was also thoroughly impressed by the Women’s ski and snowboarding competitors due to their more difficult and higher start-point line choices more towards the left of the Ozone face,  compared to their Men’s counterparts whom for the most part, took the right side of the face and started their run much lower down the mountain.


Alpina was strongly represented in the Men’s Ski event via their brand ambassadors Max Palm and Simon Perraudin. Simon Perraudin started his run off really strong with an impressive 360° jump right into the face. Perruadin’s power was on full display with each turn carving up the mountain. Unfortunately, he was unable to land his second attempt with a much deeper 360° jump and crashed. Perraudin showed off his skill and balance by completing his run with just one ski. Max Palm’s run was also filled with some 360° trickery with each landing showing off his agility by holding each landing with a ski edge. Palm’s line seemed to be much more difficult, as he tackled sharkier terrain down the center of the face where the avalanche had occurred a few rides back. From afar, both runs were impressive, but both young guns seemed to be slightly disappointed with their showing despite the fact they both qualified for the finals.

Alpina’s Young Guns

See You At The Bar!

So how’d you guys feel about your run today?

Max Palm: I was pretty disappointed. I didn’t really understand the info that there had been an avalanche in my run. So I came to the bottom part of my run where I had my big action, and it didn’t work out. I was pretty bummed. But it is what it is.

Simon Perraudin: Pretty bad, I crashed. I tried to do a 360 a bit down, hit a couple of sharks, and crashed.

Crazy stuff. Are your runs pre-planned in your head? Are you winging it going down the mountain? Or is it a bit of both?

Max Palm: Well you have a plan. This was my first time riding Ozone. I’ve never ridden it before. We had two days of face check and with that, you get your line and figure out your Plan A and Plan B, which I didn’t have today. So you follow your line and change up your run based snow conditions and how they evolve.

You guys have been skiing your whole life … and you guys are still young … well you look young 

Max Palm: Pretty young

Is all of this still fun for you guys? 

Simon Perraudin: I feel like it’s always good fun. I don’t know how to tell you but, when I ski, I’m in my safe place. When you ski, you go out with your friends and have so much fun. It never gets gold. It always gets better for me.

Max Palm: I have the same feeling. I injured myself before the season started last year and I had to get through the whole season with injuries. I skied with pain during comps and I never got the chance to ski with my friends. This year I made it a goal to get back that kid feeling and to ski with my friends, and I feel like I’ve gotten that fun feeling back.

More Fun With Friends

How did you get connected with Alpina and what do you appreciate about the brand? 

Max Palm: My manager has a lot of athletes in Alpina and they told me that they were interested and I was super stoked. Alpina has really taken us in like family so that’s super sick. I really feel like they don’t put any pressure on us. They let us have our style and they respect who we are.

Are you guys “watch guys”?

Max Palm: I think watches are really cool, but sometimes super expensive. So to have a sponsor like Alpina that makes really nice watches and allows me to wear them, is really really cool. In general, I’m into fashion and all that stuff, so I definitely think about what watch I’m going to wear.

Simon Perraudin: Yeah the same. I think they look cool. I’m Swiss, and Alpina is a Swiss brand. And plus watches are really big in Switzerland.

Gear often intersects our reader’s enthusiasm for watches.  Do you guys have any other interests in gear or anything of that nature?

Max Palm: I’ve started to take an interest in analog photography. The movie we’re currently shooting is being filmed on super sixteen. It gives such a big vibe that you won’t get a from a normal camera. You can film anything and it’s going to look cool.


Humble Ride Into The Sunset

The stage is now set for the qualifying riders with both Sam and Max in the mix. The first finals event heads to Fieberbrunn where the competitors will take on the glorious, yet intimidating Wildseeloder this weekend. The Freeride World Tour will culminate with a grand finale in the undisputed home of freeride, Bec des Rosses at Verbier, Switzerland later this month.

After a long day on the mountain, watching incredible ride after incredible ride, I felt a little inspired to get my own stoke levels high. Now granted, it wouldn’t be starting from the top of Ozone, or any double black run for that matter. Thankfully, I know my limits. Humble greens and approachable blues it is. And plus I didn’t want to upset Andy by getting stuck somewhere on the mountain and end up needing a helo-extraction. Helmet buckled and boots strapped in, I coasted towards the bottom of Kicking Horse, knowing that a bacon cheeseburger made with love and an ice-cold Kokanee would be waiting for me.

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Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.