White Silk Road
White Silk Road tells the story of three professional snowboarders from Australia who travelled to Afghanistan to go snowboarding. In one of the most dangerous countries in the world, they discovered incredible mountains, breathtaking landscapes, and heartwarming communities of happy, hospitable people.
In late February, 2012, Clint Allan, Nick Gregory and Mitch Allan embarked on a trip that would change the way they viewed the world. They had heard about the tremendous, snow-capped mountains of the Hindu Kush that run 800km from central Afghanistan down to northern Pakistan. The mountain range is one of the final frontiers for mountain enthusiasts, and had only been ridden by a handful of amateur explorers before them. From what they could tell, the best peaks for snowboarding lay in the centre of war torn Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Throughout its history, conflict has been the norm and peace the exception. The very fabric of society is violent. It was something that haunted the snowboarders for the entirety of the trip. It didn't help that immediately before they arrived American soldiers had burned copies of the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book, and waves of anti-American sentiment had swept over the country. Still, the drive to explore and to discover overcame their concerns about safety.
Spending more than two weeks in Afghanistan, as a westerner without any security escort, was a hazardous undertaking. Some Germans who travelled a similar route just a few months earlier were kidnapped and beheaded. However for the snowboarders, breaking trail in never-before-ridden mountains brought with it added risks. Afghanistan is one of the most heavily landmined countries in the world. Many of the estimated 10 million landmines lie undetected and unexploded. The villages in the foothills are also renowned for their avalanche fatalities. That winter, there had already been more than 50 Afghan avalanche deaths.
In contrast to the picture portrayed in the western media, the snowboarders discovered that parts of Afghanistan are spectacular. They spent most of their time in a town called Bamiyan, in the centre of Afghanistan. There the beauty of the landscape has endured through centuries of violence, and a culture of hospitality and optimism in the communities has prevailed through the past decade of conflict. The mighty, snow-covered peaks of the Hindu Kush tower above the small town. All winter, they are covered in deep, dry snow. Most of them had never been ridden. With only their two legs to get them up the mountain, the snowboarders set about changing that.
The film is part snowboard movie and part adventure documentary. It will appeal to anyone with a sense of adventure and a desire to squeeze a little more out of life.
Check out the trailer here: