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Julbo Press Trip Zermatt | The Pair of Kings experience

Powder and cinema with Antti and Sam

by Sebastian Müller 01/07/2023
Julbo, manufacturer of goggles, glasses and helmets, invited us to legendary Zermatt to present the new "Cyclon - Pair of Kings" goggle with a photochromic lens that covers categories 0 to 4. Sam Anthamatten "King of Freeride" and Antti Ollila "King of Freestyle" co-developed them and I was allowed to test them for you. In the following, I talk in detail about my three-day trip, the goggles, their manufacturer and the two athletes behind them.

First day

Advertising // This post is part of an advertising partnership between Julbo and PowderGuide // Advertising

Tourism in Zermatt

The journey from the furthest corner of the Alps, Trieste, to one of their highest massifs, the Mattertal, was a happy and ultimately pleasant one by train with a sprint through Milan station. When I arrived in Zermatt, I took a short break to get my bearings, ate two pretzels and then tackled the 300-metre walk to the hotel. Rolex, Lindt and McDonalds, it's all there! Check in and off to the room. December 6 Santa Claus - I got nuts and mandarins. I hung around for a while and was then visited by Flo, the Julbo marketing manager for German-speaking countries, who gave me goodies and briefed me on the procedure. I still had a good hour to do a bit of tourism before the evening film screening and I headed off towards the end of the valley. Selfie here, selfie there, oh lala! Then I discovered and memorized the friendly soupi soup store and the public library, and walked on and finally - bam! - the Matterhorn, right in front of me! A mountain so familiar from photos and movies and stories! All of a sudden it's there at the end of the valley and even though it's still quite far away, it seems mighty! Selfie and then walk back. Then a potato and leek soup and - immediately recognized as a homie - an apple punch. Finally, a quick visit to the library and a browse through a few mountain books. Messner once carried a mountain doctor who had injured her foot back to Askole himself.

Ski cinema with Antti and Sam

Back at the hotel, we went straight to the cinema: colorful and warmly lit, with steampunk art everywhere. Fancy! Wow! I meet all kinds of people and get my first Zermatt beer. Together with Michele from skialper (, we set up a little Italian corner. Then I'm approached from the side, "Sebastian, this is Sam", I turn around "Ciao Sam, I'm Sebastian". Whew, he's standing in front of me! Just chatting now: Powderguide, Trieste, Julian Alps, Obergabelhorn and "congratulations on being a father!" Then we were asked down for dinner. It was a room straight out of a sci-fi movie with all kinds of mechanics on the ceiling and large-format photographs of Formula 1 cars and sailing yachts on the walls. I didn't want to impose on the stars and just sat down in the seat nearest to me. And then Sam asks, "Is there still room here?" and sits down next to me. Antti Ollila immediately takes a seat opposite me. I introduce myself to Antti and, thanks to my experiences from last year's trip to Finland, I manage to strike up a conversation quite elegantly.

I remember a few questions I had thought up before the trip, "Sam, what do you think about the massive mountain railroads in the Mattertal? Aren't they a disfigurement of the landscape? " and I get a rather pragmatic answer: "Yes, but they are our daily bread here." In addition, the latest investments have been sensible and well-considered. I am satisfied with that and at this point I have little idea what it looks like up there anyway. Then I wanted to talk about the Freeride World Tour: "It never went so well for you in Verbier, would you accept a wild card? " and I get a deep insight into the fates that befell him there. At one point, he and four other riders (Häusl, Barkered, Prevost, Durcroz) had the chance to win the overall title. Häusl crashes, Barkered rides strongly, Prevost crashes and Sam thinks to himself, "I have no chance against Aurelien (Ducroz) anyway", and he rides a little below his ambitions, and Aurelien wins. Apart from that, the pressure at home was always great and difficult for him. Nevertheless, I realize that a wild card would still be nice for him. We finally make our way to the movie screening. Each visitor receives a set of playing cards, on which the kings Sam and Antti are represented with skis, ice picks or skateboards, and which is otherwise delivered together with the goggles. Very cool! Sam introduces the evening charmingly and Antti stays in the background in his very Finnish minimalist style, with a sympathetic, mischievous smile. The two talk about the glasses, which they helped to develop, and Antti's film "Dusk", which he actually produced himself, follows. You can find my comments on it in VdW#1. The piece is even more impressive on the big screen. Applause rings out and Sami segues into his movie "Freerider", in which he is dropped off on a glacier in Alaska with Victor de le Rue, from where the two then climb and ski down the Spines. All of this is told in a brilliantly witty way by French director Jérôme Tanon. A small masterpiece that elicits a few cheers from the audience and sends everyone off into the night with a pleasantly happy feeling. I chill out and chat for a while and soon head to the hotel to sleep, because tomorrow we're going skiing!

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Day two - skiing in front of the Matterhorn

7.15am breakfast, with Power Juicer and plenty of everything. The disappointment that you ultimately get butter from disposable plastic containers in fine hotels shouldn't bother me for long. We were then invited to the "Julbo Product presentation and reception of test products" and found ourselves in a seminar room. The people in charge presented the history of Julbo, founded by Jules Baud in 1888 in the Jura in France, then the bare business figures, with the main sales market France and considerable dependence of sales on snow conditions, the takeover by Peugeot last year, production sites and cooperations. Then the product designers took over and we were shown the latest premium models and explained their innovative ventilation mechanisms. Then finally the new goggle "Cyclon - Pair of Kings", developed with Antti and Sami. Simple design and the disk is "REACTIV 0-4 High Contrast". Here, the entire pane itself, and not just one layer, is made photochromic. The production is therefore more time-consuming and the adjustment to the lighting conditions is slower (a few minutes rather than seconds), but the photochromic quality is maintained virtually forever and extends from cat. 0 to 4. The one pane for everything! Antti in the park in Finland at night and Sam on the glacier in Alaska in full sunshine, same glasses, same lens! We're all given a copy, with another deck of cards, and told to get ready to test them out. Thank you very much!

We find ourselves in front of the hotel and, somewhat embarrassed, I justify my choice of skis: Down Showdown 115, which puts me ahead of everyone else and I'm afraid I'm overshooting the mark. The planned vertical meters seemed low to me and I like to use old skis in young winters. Well then!

We take the cable car up, every stop is announced like in a subway, always with the Matterhorn to our right and Monte Rose with Dufourspitze, Breithorn, Lyskamm (...) to our left.

We're already heading into the backcountry: rutted, but with some powder. I hold back at first, but then I let go. I overtake Antti and speed ahead, stop and check in with the others. Claim! For the next run, I choose a line even further along the edge of the rocks and crevasses and ski cool through the untracked flat terrain next to the piste. Bravo, good choice of skis! Our group is finally completed by the stragglers with rental equipment and we now take the cable car up to the small Matterhorn. As always, our photographer Juan Arapuiz shoots photos all the time. You almost feel embarrassed, but quite cool about it...

The amount of cable cars and the sight of two excavators in the glacier are rather frightening. Unfortunately, ecology and sustainability could not and cannot be discussed here and now, and we cross over to the glacier below the Matterhorn. In the ice cave where Sam recently climbed, we marvel and take photos. Then a short ascent and a descent through the worst broken snow: a compact layer of artificial snow covers the powder. We make it through safely and cruise down the slopes to the hut. Cheese fondue awaits us there! I sink endless pieces of bread into liquid gold, with a correspondingly large number of glasses of Swiss white wine. We finish the feast after sunset and set off into the darkness with headlamps.

Everyone is excited to see how the goggles adjust to the dark conditions: It takes a little while, but eventually the lens is really transparent and we all ski down with a clear view. Back in Zermatt, we take a group photo and congratulate each other on a special day's skiing. I end the day with a sauna session, a few beers and always in the best company of passionate skiers. I offer my pizza from Trieste with jam from Bavaria and give away a jar of kimchi. Buona notte!

Third day - campervan, ski tour and journey home

I drive back with Michele from in his VW bus and we go on a nice short tour from the Simplon Pass. From Turin, where I skip a 17€ Banksy exhibition, I have a pleasant journey home.

Conclusion - 5 stars

These were three very cool days for me: firstly Zermatt, this mystical and romanticized place with its truly stunning mountains, then the look behind the scenes of Julbo, a very likeable manufacturer, as well as its equally likeable athletes, Sam and Antti, and all this in the sun and with powder. Nevertheless, an event in Zermatt is silver, a tour in the local mountains is gold! The goggle "Cyclon - Pair of Kings" was completely convincing and we recommend it because of its simple construction, its cool design and especially because of its unlimited range of use.

Photo gallery

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

Show original (German)

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