Swiss photographer Silvano Zeiter on his home mountains in the car-free Aletsch Arena

Silvano Zeiter was born and raised in the Swiss Alps. For over a decade, his life was bound up in the snowboarding spirit that prevailed there. That time made him what he is today – a photographer with an eye for the artistic and a special sense of humour. Silvano’s work maintains a balance between documentary film and editorial, and has been published on countless magazine covers around the world. In 2016, he published his first hardcover book entitled “Honey Ryder”. Silvano now lives in Zurich because of his work, which is mainly in the fields of action, lifestyle, fashion and portrait photography – for companies and magazines all over the world. But his home is and remains the place he loves most.

Instagram: @silvanozeiter

Interview with Silvano Zeiter

What do you particularly love about your home turf?
The Aletsch Arena has influenced me profoundly all my life. It is like a huge playground where I grew up, skiing as a child and later learning to snowboard. In my teens, I began exploring all the nooks and crannies of the region, especially ever further from the slopes, and to this day the region still manages to surprise me. My fascination for photography, which was to become my profession and calling, was also sparked to a large extent on those mountains. And it always fills me with a sense of pride when I can show my homeland to people from all over the world and share it with them. But it’s first and foremost my home, of course, where my family and my oldest friends are.

Have you ever spotted famous faces from the scene?
I’ve been working with some of the best and most popular snowboarders in the world for over 10 years and have been able to get many of them excited about the Aletsch Arena. From Nicolas Müller and Fredi Kalbermatte, to Eero Ettala and Heikki Sorsa, the Jackson brothers and several Absinthe crews – everyone has had loads of fun and productive days here.

Do you have any special tips on when it’s best to come?
In the off-season when there’s powder snow. Slope carving always works well, of course.

I don’t know much about hotels, but I know that the Top of Bettmeralp’s holiday apartments are fantastic. If you want to get far away from the hustle and bustle, you can grab a holiday apartment at Casa Yolanda in Fieschertal, in the house where I grew up. Always a good tip: for groups, the simple chalets are cheap and cheerful. In the evening, you can cook together cheaply and all very relaxed. By the way, the cable cars up here are on the inexpensive side compared with most of Switzerland.

Eating out?
The Bättmer-Hitta is right by the slopes and people rave about the exquisite local specialities they serve. On Fiescheralp, I almost always eat at Restaurant Eggishorn, where they do good, wholesome food at a fair price. I really like the house salad dressing, and the chef’s desserts are amazing. The pizza at the Jungfrau is great, too.

Do you have a favourite place up here for great views or for a break? Will you tell us?
The view from the Eggishorn is awesome, as is the glacier grotto right on the glacier in Märjela valley too, of course – but not suitable for Sunday drivers. But the area beyond Moosfluh as far as the Aletsch Forest is pure magic for anyone.

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We’ve read about your GEX project. Can you tell us about it?
I recently co-produced a film project together with Holden Outerwear, doodah and Switzerland Tourism. It’s a five-part documentary series called “The Glacier Express” about a freeride trip by Glacier Express from Zermatt to St. Moritz. Besides that, I’ve published a print zine with my favourite photos of the trip curated on 40 pages, called GEX. It’s about the journey, of course, but above all, about the people we meet and the unique places we visit along the way. I think the whole thing is well done and comes across well-rounded, but see for yourself.

Anything else you’d like to say?
Please be nice to the mountains and don’t leave anything behind. I’ve already picked up some PET bottles and crisp packets on and alongside the slopes. That makes me sad.

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