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Yukon slopes, scenery draw big crowds at French ski festival

A travelogue episode about backcountry skiing, filmed in Yukon last winter, played to sold out crowds at the High Five Festival in France.

'I'm pretty sure we will have more skiers coming in,' said Yukon-based guide Claude Vallier

'I showed [the filmmakers] something that we have in the Yukon that they don't have in Europe — so a lot of wild open spaces, not a lot of people,' said Claude Vallier, a backcountry ski guide in Yukon. (Yukon Backcountry Skiing/Facebook)

A short film showcasing Yukon as a backcountry skier's paradise has taken a French ski festival by storm.

Claude Vallier, a Whitehorse-based guide, is featured prominently in the episode of the travelogue, Bon Appetit, which was filmed in Yukon last winter. He went to Annecy, France, last week for a screening of the film at the High Five Festival.

"I think it's becoming one of the biggest ski festivals in Europe," he said. "It's pretty big."

The Yukon episode of the travelogue series 'Bon Appetit' played to sold-out crowds at the High Five Festival in France last week. (Claude Vallier/Facebook)

The Yukon film, which features a team of European adventurers skiing in some of the territory's most spectacular terrain, played to sold-out crowds in five theatres.

Vallier says about 2,000 people saw it, indicating a growing interest in Yukon among European skiers.

"People like to see nice movies and to discover new places," Vallier said. 

Vallier played host to the skiers when they came to film in Yukon. He showed them some of his favourite places, even Whitehorse's Mount Sima — a relatively small slope, when compared to some in the French Alps. 

"I showed [the filmmakers] something that we have in the Yukon that they don't have in Europe — so a lot of wild open spaces, not a lot of people," Vallier said.

"They were just amazed."

Vallier says the resulting film captures Yukon well — so well that he expects some who saw it are already planning their own adventure trips.

"I'm pretty sure we will have more skiers coming in," he said.

'I'm pretty sure we will have more skiers coming in,' said Vallier.

With files from Claudiane Samson and Sandi Coleman

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