I have just realised that the past few posts were a wee bit mardy, so heres something slightly happier.
Ive just been reading a blog by an American snowboarder,Colin Boyd, who is kind of an adopted kiwi. He spends a lot of time out in Wanaka and is pretty well known. He's been killing it on the Freeride World Tour this year and finished 4th overall. Check out his line in Alaska, complete with the genius that is Ed Leigh commentating.
He's produced a really well made webisode series on freeride in New Zealand. If anyone wants to know what the terrain is like out there then check out the edits, it makes me stoked to be going back to that incredible country..........that and the Afghan biscuits!
Terje Haakenson said that if he had to choose one place to snowboard for the rest of his life then it would be Temple Basin, one of New Zealands club fields.........pretty big endorsement right there!
The inter-season weather has set in here in the Tarantaise Valley, grey sky's and rain make for a fairly grim atmosphere. But its good to just wind down after the season and just chill.
Looking back over this past winter its hard to pick out my favourite day, theres been so many. Maybe the surprise pow we found on our tour to Mont Jovet, or the two steep couloirs, maybe the cheese fondu we had.....theres just to many to choose from. The exposed face off the Aguille Rouge is up there for sure but for me there is a standout day, the Saint Foy Freeride Qualifier. For what was just supposed to be a bit of fun and a way to push myself, turned out to be one of the best days I've ever had. I felt confident having already done the Les Arcs qualifier and i put down the run i wanted to do, even if i did fall at the end. Finishing in 6th place was incredible, although it did make me think i could have placed higher if i had stomped my 360......but thats just the competitive side coming out.
The event had a sweet atmosphere, and people seemed pumped to just be involved. Although everyone wanted to win, they still cheered on all the other competitors.........pretty rare thing in sport these days!
So that day is definitely something I'm proud of, and gets me more pumped to compete more next season.
Heres the Red Bull promo video.
These are my favourite photos of the winter, we were lucky to do so many cool things......pictures say a thousand words.
Oli and Anne(the Germans) have also left. The two of them are the most enthusiastic outdoors people i have ever met. Everyday is an adventure with them ( Oli waking up in the mornings is an adventure in itself) While they aren't sure what to do next, I'm pretty sure it will involve going that big further then anyone else. I hope i will see them again really soon.
Most of the other guys have already left but Tim is still here for a few more days. He recently splashed out on an old camper van,called the bongo, and i know he's going to have a great time exploring in it. Sometimes its nice not having a set destination.........it means you can just enjoy the journey. Again, he's another thats super keen to be in the great outdoors.
Last but not least, Agathe and Chirstophe need a mention. We have become good friends and the two of them, with little Charly, have made our winter. The friendliest people i have met, and hope to stay friend with for a long time.
I may try to get out for one last split board trip before i leave....but thats all down to the weather, and right now its hotter then the sun!
Saying goodbye to the people you spend a lot of time with is always a hard thing. This winter is even more so. I have got close with some amazing people who are so stoked on the mountain lifestyle that it rubs off on you, it reminds me why the mountains are so special.
Im terrible at goodbyes, but its great to know that at some point down the line we will all meet again and go on more adventures. Ive done more this winter then i could ever have dreamed of. People have pushed my limits and I've pushed myself, we bonded over some incredible experiences in this small french town, and those memories stay with you forever.
While I'm staying here for another week, my flat mates have all moved out. Sam and Sarah(Spokes and Scroggin) have started their epic bike trip from geneva to greece, 4000km of hard work.........crazy! Im sure they are going to have some hilarious stories to tell us all, i have no doubt they are going to complete the trip.
So, the season is coming to an end. The snow is melting, the days are hot and the french start incredibly noisy work at 6.30am!!! Who washes the streets with jet washers at that time of morning!
Work is now winding down, the workshop is cleaned and vans are scrubbed and polished, This marks the end of winter. And what a winter it has been! To many adventures to remember, great friends and great cheese.
I leanred a new German word the other day, 'Fernweh'. The translation into english is
'to be homesick for a place you have never been to'
Its such an inspirational way to describe what its like too travel, and in a way it can be applied to Chasing Winter. It describes the excitement you feel choosing a new adventure or a new place to visit.
Most people are heading off to their new adventures this week, i will be sticking around Bourg St Maurice for a mini break before heading back to the Isle of Wight for a few weeks and then onto New Zealand.
Ive really grown to love Bourg, and now everything is turning green you can really see why summer here is so enthusiastically talked about.
For me, NZ brings another opportunity that i have to take. Its seems that in the snowsports industry opportunities are hard to come by, so when they do you take them. It also means i get to go back to that amazing country and stay in the snowy mountains. I plan on really pushing my riding and training for more competitions for next European winter.
My Kiwi friends i live with now are also heading back to Wanaka which is sweet. Before hand though, they are embarking on a big adventure through Europe......on bikes they bought for €150 from Decathlon....check out their blog Spokes & Scroggin and give them as much support as possible!
So I'm going to carry on sticking my fingers up to the 'normal' route through life......that mortgage can stay away for now. Ive got new people to meet and new challenges to attempt.
Uk Snowboarder and Red Bull rider Billy Morgan has broken the internet with the worlds first backside quadruple cork 1800.....basicly he's gone flipping' nuts!
People have been slating it saying its too much like gymnastics, but there with always be haters. Personally, i think its a massive feat of what people can do and how far we can push ourselves. Albeit Billy had pushed himself further then most! Its awesome to see a snowboarder from the UK throwing down on such a massive scale!
Check it out in all its glory!
The Butta Wax samples arrived today, it felt like unwrapping presents at Christmas!
The wax is very well thought out, they have nailed the marketing and the wax smells fantastic. Going to be doing some product testing today with a few of the waxes to see how they cope in the warm conditions.
The clothing looks incredible too, pretty understated and low key, but I like that.
The home wax kit in particular looks great. Everything you need in a smart looking tin, perfect for a present.
So right now its the easter holidays, usually a time when the sun is out, the snow is rapidly melting and families are terrorising the pistes. But something strange has happened this winter, it suddenly feels like it winter again, we had a week of strong winds and snow which now means that we are having the best end of season conditions, there is a lot of nice fresh snow and the sun is out......perfect spring powder!
The past four days have been insane. Each day has been spent hiking, split boarding and finding freshies. Two days ago we hiked 4 separate lines in one day and were rewarded with probably the best fresh snow of the season, that day ended with me and Sam putting lines down the most exposed and dangerous face i think i have ever been on, and probably in the les arcs area. We were both pretty nervous but confident. After a long chat with the pisteurs (who blatantly didn't want us to do it) and with a handful of people watching we picked out way through amazing snow, trying to avoid some serious cliffs. Any fall is this part would not have ended well.
We made it down and put two fresh lines in the bottom section this was followed by big high fives and over the top whooping!
Yesterday was another great day, we decided to do some touring and hit a perfect untracked face we spotted the day before. We started by defending off the Grand Col chair lift in Les Arcs and down to the backside of the face we were trying to get to. A pretty nice 30 min tour up to the summit and we were rewarded with a stunning North-West aspect face with some stunning powder. It was a fun run down with lot of natural hits.
Once at the bottom it was skins back on to tour back up to a slope a bit further up the valley, again a fairly short skin up was rewarded with incredible fresh lines, it was really late in the day so the sun had heated the snow up nicely. It was soft but safe. The sun was intense and made for hard energy sapping touring, the english man in me was not used to the bright thing in the sky and my skin is definitely not thanking me for it now.......but thats nothing a few beers can't fix.
Again....what an incredible season this has been. Every week my riding is being pushed and constantly gaining more confidence and skills. Truly has been a great winter here in France with great friends.
Ive come to really love living in Bourg. It has everything you need in a mountain town and the location is perfect to access so many areas...its like a smaller, less extreme, Chamonix and with a lot less people.
One place that really needs a mention is a local cafe we all go to called 'Charly's Factory'. Its located in an ideal place, just next door to the funicular that takes you to Les Arcs 1600. Its the perfect place to sample their amazing coffee in the morning, or to try some of the amazing Belgian beers on offer after a days shred. The owners are Christophe and Agathe, possibly the friendliest and most accommodating people i have met. There is a great atmosphere, and everyone gets involved due to the layout of the place.
Amazing coffee and food and just as good service with great chat. Not to be missed!
Here is my run from the comp
We had to wait a day for the results and i wasn't expecting much due to the fall i had but as it turns out i managed to come in 6TH place which I'm absolutely stoked about!
Maybe if i hadn't fallen then i could have been top 5, but still more then happy with 6th. Feel like i might be getting the bug for the comps, its definitely good to challenge yourself and push past your comfort zone......
Im also now ranked 134th on the tour, which means I'm the highest ranked UK Snowboarder on the qualifiers!