Konrad Bartelski is still Britain’s best ever-downhill skier who came within 0.11 seconds of winning a World Cup Downhill in December 1981 in Val Gardena in Italy. In recent years Konrad, now 60, is pursuing his latest career as an exceptionally talented mountain photographer.
Some 30 years ago, Konrad was the childhood hero of a young James Blunt. Blunty wrote to the deeply disgraced Jimmy Savile on his long-running TV programme Jim’ll Fix It, in the hope of getting a lesson from his hero Konrad. Fortunately perhaps for him, he never got a reply. But the two did finally meet earlier this month in the Tirol where Blunty was performing the opening Top of the Mountain concert in Ischgl.
“It’s great to have met him at last,” said James. “We plan to go skiing together later this season.”
“He seems a really nice guy,” said Konrad, “completely, natural and unspoilt by fame. I look forward to doing a few turns with him. He skied downhill for the army and I hear he’s pretty good.”
Here is a gallery of some of Konrad Bartelski’s fabulous work on snow, ranging from powder in the wilds of Norway to tree-skiing in Japan – and including one of Blunty in concert in Ischgl. Konrad has added his own descriptions here.
Ptor Spricenieks in Queyras National Park
A couple of years ago Ptor suggested that we should visit this unknown corner of France. We were treated to a week of fantastic powder in a year when deep, fresh snow was virtually non-existent. This photo is the first few turns that Ptor made, after we had climbed 1300 meters. It was a memorable day.
Ptor in La Grave
There is a newly-released documentary about his great character and skier, now available on Vimeo – called Dream Line. Ptor is a skilled and powerful skier, who has many first descents to his name, including the North Face of Mount Robson in Canada. Skiing with Ptor is always exceptional and this was taken one day up above his house in La Grave. One day where Ptor charged through the crusty snow like a hot knife through butter.
Snowboard in La Grave
Snowboard or skiing? I don’t subscribe to the tribalism of what is on one’s feet. Being in the mountains is the experience that matters – and how someone interprets that is what really counts.
Mathieu Ottobon is Easyjet
Mathieu Ottobon used to be on the French Ski Jumping team; so getting a photograph of him on the snow tends to be unusual, as he is always popping off into the air. It is as if he has feathers on his arms…he flies so far and so gracefully.
Graham Austik in the Arctic Circle
Graham Austik built a home and a lodge on the side of the sea 600 miles North of the Arctic Circle. That it is one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the world is why it is proving to be such a popular place, even though there is not a single ski-lift. It’s much more exciting going skiing on a boat, which is how you get there.
Mathieu Ottobon in Sainte Foy
Last winter wasn’t a great powder year (unless you were skiing in Italy) yet ski with the right people and they know the best corners. Is always a treat to ski with true mountain folk – this photograph says it all.
Racing in Meribel
The Delancey British Championships and run in Meribel in April, a time of great contrasts, as the seasons continue to change.
Iceland is just one of the most enigmatic and magical of countries. The Land of Fire and Ice has some inspiring ski terrain, too.
Skiing with John Falkiner
John Falkiner is a very long-standing friend of mine and who better to show me the majesty of Iceland? This photograph I took while I enjoyed skiing in his sublime tracks.
Steven Lee in Japan
Steven Lee won his first World Cup Super G in Japan and recently he has returned to spend most his winters in Hakuba on the South Island of Japan. Steven really knows the area now and his company, Hakuba Powder Tours, is the best way to get the most from any visit to Japan. Hakuba has some real Alpine mountains too, so spectacular scenery, as well as loads of snow.
The Moon in Sainte Foy
Early breakfast in Sainte Foy delivered a beautiful reward. That is why it is great opening those curtains in the morning and looking up!
Volker Winter in Hakuba
Volker is a great German friend of mine, who works in the TV Sports industry and he loves his skiing. So when he found the deep powder on tap in Japan, he never stopped smiling.
James Blunt live in Ischgl
No snow in this one, yet this is someone who loves the sport so intensely and subsequently has made his home in the mountains. And good music certainly compliments the mountains.