Inspiring wanderlust the world over, Google teamed up with a handful of athletes in Chamonix to create an immersive Street View experience on, around, and atop Mont Blanc. Naturally, the ski world’s ambassador to Google was none other than Candide Thovex. Alongside athletes including Kilian Jornet, lauded ski mountaineer and distance runner, and Ueli Steck, one of climbing’s greatest, Thovex talks about what the mountain means to him and how it’s shaped him as a skier. Meanwhile, Google follows him around Mont Blanc, documenting everything from easy turns in a gnarly no-fall zone to a sunset-lit double backie above the clouds.
While certainly intended to drive both tourism and web traffic, the collaboration proves to be more than a publicity stunt. According to Google’s blog, the “Street View imagery also serves as a digital record of Mont Blanc as it appears today, so future outdoor enthusiasts and scientists can look back at this time capsule to see how the mountain has changed.” Google’s Mont Blanc-focused content includes a discussion of climate change’s impact on Mont Blanc’s glaciers by celebrated mountain guide, Patrick Gabarrou. By bringing the wonder of the mountains—a breathtakingly beautiful and fragile natural environment—to anyone with Wi-Fi, Google hopes to inspire thousands of explorers to take change into their own hands.