It’s nighttime in the French Alps and an army of vehicles are preparing the snow for another day of winter fun. Meanwhile, volunteers scan the mountain peaks with their binoculars. They’re on the lookout for young West-Africans trying to cross from Italy to France on foot—wearing snow boots given to them by Italian volunteers. This prevents the migrants from getting frostbite while they try to avoid the strictly guarded border post on the mountain pass. Once they’ve reached their destination, their French counterparts take the shoes back across the border.
In the dark, the young men—wearing thin clothing and carrying small backpacks—push on through the knee-high snow. On arrival in the French ski resort of Montgenèvre they are brought to a shelter nearby, where they get coffee and a foot bath. Then they return their boots for the next migrant, who does the same. The mountain landscape is the silent witness to their crossing. So too the group of sympathetic mountain dwellers who approach this new problem in a movingly pragmatic way. Meanwhile, in the background, the jarringly carefree skiers complete their descent.