By Tom Winter - Education, Culture and community. Piedmont’s largest freeride gathering returns to the alta Val di Susa on March 17, 2023 with events and gatherings in Exilles and Bardonecchia. Featuring inspirational mountain films, avalanche education and casual freeride sessions on Bardonecchia’s famed Jafferau slopes, Hard Snow Festival 2023 benefits the Italian rescue service, the Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Piemonte (CNSAS) and was founded in 2019 before being put on hold due to Covid. The 2023 edition is free to attend and welcomes back mountain enthusiasts with unique happenings in both Exilles and Bardoneccia, with on-snow freeriding sessions and avalanche education hosted by the professionals of the CNSAS.
The event starts on Friday, March 17 with an intimate evening in the historic village of Exilles. Exilles, known as a summer hiking and tourist destination, is one of freeriding’s best kept secrets. The historic village oozes charm and is close to endless off-piste ski touring opportunities and has a quiet, intimate vibe that makes it the ideal spot to kick off this year’s event.
New this year, the Hard Snow Passion Person 2023 recognizes an exceptional individual who has made a substantial contribution to freeride culture in the Piedmont region. For 2023, The Hard Snow Persona Passone award recipient is Etorre Barabino, the founder of Peace Love and Powder snowboards. Peace, Love and Powder (PLP) has been making innovative snowboards and supporting the Piedmont freeriding ecosystem since 2011. The company, under the direction of Etorre, has built a global reputation for innovative shapes, designs and graphics along with the highest quality workmanship. Etorre is based in Siestriere and in addition to his work with PLP, is widely known for his commitment to the larger community and sport of snowboarding. Hard Snow is proud to honor Etorre with the first annual Hard Snow Persona Passone award in 2023 at the Festival’s opening night, the Gathering of the Tribe, in Exilles on March 17.
Also highlighting the 2023 installment of the Hard Snow Festival is the festival’s annual showcase of mountain and freeriding films hosted by Bardonecchia’s Palazzo Delle Feste on the evening of March 18. Highlights of this evening include A Turn Of Mind, Camels Are Never Cold and La Promenade. Featuring superlative snowboarding and skiing in the most beautiful mountains on the planet, the Hard Snow Festival film selection is inspiring and compelling, offering up a visual feast of some of the best mountain film available today.
Finally the weekend wraps up with not-to-be-missed on snow avalanche education and training hosted by Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Piemonte – CNSAS. Essential education for anyone who skis, snowboards, climbs or travels in mountainous snow-covered environments, this on-snow session features the basics of avalanche rescue gear, direction how to use this gear effectively and strategies to avoid and minimize avalanche risk in the mountains. It is the perfect way to wrap up the festival, with participants ending the weekend inspired and educated, and ready for new adventures in the mountains.
All of the off-snow events at the Hard Snow Festival are free to attend, and discounted tickets will be offered to participants for the on-snow events. For more information visit Hard Snow Festival.