Just say you have a passion for winter sports and a warm heart for classic cars, well then you’ll be really excited about an event like L’Alpine Classique.
Exactly 50 years since the 1968 Olympic Winter Games, the Iséroise station in Chamrousse, France, welcomes L’Alpine Classique, a totally bonkers winter sports event with a very special vintage feel. Bonkers, because it is organised completely in style of the early days of winter sports, but also because it takes an enormous amount of guts, to not only ascend the mountain in the style of at least 50 years ago, but to descend with contemporary gear as well. That is L’Alpine Classique, winter sports in the tradition of the thirties until sixties of last century. That is when you drive you classic automobile or motorcycle to the mountain station, change from plusfours to your period correct skiing outfit and take part in the slalom course on wooden ski’s with leather shoes. Bonkers will never be more beautiful.
Straight up the alley of Yuri Colman and Boudewijn van den Bogaert, who have been active for months preparing for their secret invasion of L’Alpine Classique. Their weapon of choice, a 1960 NeKaf Jeep. Exactly, a Willy’s Jeep built under license for the Dutch army. Nothing more, but certainly nothing less. No expenses spared to get not only the car, but the entire equipment up to date. Up to 1960, to be clear. They traveled the country and far beyond, placed ads in the local gazette and in internationally renowned magazines. Corresponded through long eloquent lettres and concise telegrams. Postmen, porters and delivery boys were put to work to gather everything in time… Just kidding of course, eBay is your friend, but the enthousiasm both gentlemen showed encountering this project is, once again, completely bonkers.
A vintage event like L’Alpine Classique ask for arrival in style. In a vintage Jeep that means not just wearing the correct steel helmet, but the right uniform, evening wear and of course period correct skiing gear. The devil is in the detail, as the saying goes, so both gentlemen thought it all out with immaculate precision. From the correct backpack, ski’s and ski shoes, to a completely restored pair of sunglasses, it is all there. Sports coats for the dinner party, with the right logo’s, what else, a ski-repair set from the Swedish army, oh and last minute, two pairs of New Old Stock hiking boots from Germany. It doesn’t seem to be all that hard to go shopping back in the fifties. It’s not just the ski’s that require spare parts, the NeKaf isn’t forgotten either, although some weary glimpses have been set on the enormous amount of luggage the little do-it-all will have to carry.
While I am writing this article, the NeKaf and its two adventurers are on their way to the French Alps. Over a thousand kilometers through all elements, to eventually arrive in Chamrousse, at the Iséroise mountain station, for a weekend of sports and pleasure on the slopes. Only one thing can make forget about the whole vintage approach, and that will be fresh snow. We’ll keep you posted on the adventures of these two real men and their unstoppable friend.
Marc GF Zaan