My first visit to the mountains in wintertime had nothing to do with winter sports; I just came to visit friends who had settled in the French Alps. More visits followed and it became unavoidable that one day I would find myself standing on the front de neige of a French ski resort, amidst cheerful skiers and noisy ski lifts.
From this first visit on I was — and still am — astonished by the industrial scale of what is supposed to be a leisure activity: the machinery that is needed to get all these people up and the ant-like crawling of the skiers coming down the slopes; entire cities built to house, feed and entertain them; and all this in a spectacular winter wonderland setting.
What also struck me is the strange mix of careful planning and architectural wild-west: some resorts are beautifully designed to fit in their natural surroundings, while others are nothing more than a clutter of chalet-style buildings that, notwithstanding their so-called traditional architecture, have no relationship with the original landscape at all.
With all this in mind I travelled through the French Alps for five separate weeks, in the winters from January 2010 till January 2012, and in the summer of 2010. My focus was the landscape, and how it was affected by the ski tourism industry. My vantage point was the idealistic views presented by the advertising photographs; the result is simply what I found, in all its beauty and all its ugliness.
I chose to name my series The Skiable Landscape , as it has been the ability to be skied upon that has been decisive for the fate of many mountain areas. Goos van der Veen
My vantage point was the idealistic views presented by the advertising photographs; the result is simply what I found, in all its beauty and all its ugliness