The POWDER Library: Shooting Bond on Skis
The real story behind the James Bond ski chase
Editor’s Note: Here at POWDER HQ, we’re sitting on a wealth of archive gold—more than 40 years of recorded skiing history. Rather than let those stories collect dust, we’ve decided to resurface our finest work from decades past. Here are transcribed words from stories published in past issues of POWDER. This story, written by Bond himself, published in the spring of 1978 (Volume 6, Issue 6). Before we begin:
As you know, I had just stepped out of the cabin when these three characters dressed in black began shooting at me. Of course, I was armed with a dart-tipped ski pole rocket device, and did have a parachute on just in case things got dicey, but then one must be prepared for all sorts of situations when traveling alone on skis in the alps.
I’ve sent you the photos of the filmed version of the chase you requested. The simulation took place just last year in St. Moritz, and was attended by your friend, photographer Barry Scott. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but my stand-ins, Manfred Kastner and Edward Lincoln, performed admirably in my stead. The villains of the chase were plated by Swiss skiers Sandro Godio, Rene Seiler, and an American freestyler by the name of Robert Young. Incidentally, both of my stand-ins and Robert Young are rather famous skiers in their own right. Robert was the 1975 World Gran (sic) Prix Aerial Champion (Edward held that title in 1977), and Manfred was the first man to perform a triple flip on skis.
Although their portrayals of the chase in the film were somewhat more acrobatic than the original, I think they did quite well considering some of the problems they encountered during the three weeks of filming. Avalanches, extreme cold (20 degrees below), long 12-hour days at high altitude on the glacier, blizzards (at one point the two helicopters were unable to evacuate all of the 30-man film crew before dark, so a group of eight had to dig an ice cave for shelter until they could be picked up 24 hours later), and illness (young Lincoln, who performed the back flip with a half twist in the film, almost had to be hospitalized, but went on with the show nonetheless). Then there were the communications problems due to the international makeup of the film crew. As Barry told me later, “I had expectations of glamour and excitement, but it was damn hard work.”
Still, there must have been rewards; the scenery, the discovery of the ice caverns, the sunsets seen from the glacier; of course, St. Moritz, and, finally, the success of the project on the screen. I quite envy the actors all that, but for other more pressing official engagements, I would have gladly plated myself. I always enjoy a good chase, even if this one did call for a bit of pretense. But, then, much of what I do does, you know.
All for now. Hope you enjoy the photos. Send me a few copies when you get the chance. With a bit of luck, I’ll be back in London by June.
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