Tag Archives: skiing

  • Neil's back to the Bruck!

    I recently got back to Innsbruck for the season and it's been a cool welcome, just the way I like it! I'll like the images do the talking, check them out below

    We had to fit 2 bikes, 2 ski bags and 2 other bags into a train, then a plane, then a bus but it turned out that fitting them and us into Lukas' car for the last 2km was the toughest part

     

    Good to be rolling around Innsbruck again. Photo by Pete Oswald

     

    And back on the mountains!

     

    Lucky to know locals like Lukas and their secret spots, he's even breaking the trail out for us. Photo by Pete Oswald

     

    Storm riding at Stubai glacier with the Whiteroom Productions crew!

     

    Body shot in the new suit once the weather cleared up

     

    Drop, grab and selfie, showing off the new threads. Stoked on the new gears, taking the Eagle Surftex jacket on a test flight

     

    Much more to come, this is only from the first few days skiing! We'll start filming for the El Flamingo webisodes and the next Whiteroom Production movie soon so stay tuned for updates of radness.

  • WP and MVP Ratings – What It All Means...

     

    Ski Wear Waterproof and Breathability Ratings MVP WP

     

    Have you ever wondered what all those weird looking gadgets and pockets on your ski jacket are for? Well believe it or not, every feature has been thought out to the greatest degree to make sure that your skiing holiday is one of comfort, fun and convenience.

    Because there are so many technical features I won’t bore you with a long in depth explanation of every single one (ain’t nobody got time for that) and instead I thought I would concentrate on one feature at a time. A handy little bite-size of design knowledge if you will...

    So where to start.... well let’s start with the most important of all the features, the one that keeps you warm and dry and that’s the waterproof and breathability ratings of the fabric.

    What is WP?

    5,000 WP, 10,000 MVP... if no one has ever explained these numbers to you, how would you ever know?

    It is actually quite simple though. The WP number is an indicator of how much water pressure a jacket can withhold without the water penetrating the fabric and it is always measured in millimetres. For example, 5,000 WP means that the fabric will take 5,000mm (or 5 metres) of water pressure over a 24 hour period before the water starts to leak through. That’s a lot of water!

    How about MVP?

    The MVP rating is an indicator of how breathable the fabric is and lets you know how much water vapor (or sweat in this case!) the fabric will allow through to the outside of the jacket. This stops the sweat and moisture staying next to the skin which causes you to get cold. This one is measures in grams.  So, a 10,000 MVP jacket will allow 10,000grams of moisture vapour to disperse through approximately one square metre of fabric, and away from the body.

    Standard ratings of WP and MVP are 3K (3,000mm/3,000g), 5K, 8K, 10K, 15K and 20K, so just remember, the higher the number the better the rating.

    Isn’t it clever, how it will allow water vapour out but won’t let any water in? I’ve always thought so! This is because the size of the ‘pores’ needed to allow water vapour out are much smaller than the size of a single droplet of water.

    How clever!

  • Focus On... Bollé Goggles

    Bolle Ski and Snowboard Goggles

    For the third post in our 'Focus On...' series, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at our very popular Bollé Goggles!

    The Bollé Story (source Bolle-Europe.co.uk)...

    "The Bollé story began in the small town of Oyonnax, France in 1888. There Seraphim Bollé started his company by first manufacturing combs and hair ornaments for the boxwood and horn indigenous to the region. After WWII, Bollé led the way in molding nylon to the highest standards in the world. Safety glasses and goggles were added to the Bollé line in 1950 ..... And in 1960, ski goggles were first marketed by Bollé. Leading the industry in product innovations, the Bollé family took the business from a small cottage industry to one of the world's most prominent manufacturers of premium eyewear."

    Bollé are now considered eyewear specialists all over the world for both winter and summer sports. Bollé goggles come in a huge variety of designs with different frames and lenses to suit all needs and weather conditions.

    Let's take a look at the structure of a standard Bollé goggle...

     Bolle Goggles

     

    Some of the most important features of a goggle are the ones for fog prevention. Sight is obviously very important when skiing or snowboarding but the cold weather can cause goggles to fog up and impair your vision. Bollé goggles are made with P80 Carbo Glass lenses which are both anti-fog and anti-scratch. They also have a double lens which works in a similar way to the double glazed windows you have at home to prevent fogging and condensation. Vents are also provided along the top of the lens to keep the air flow going and again prevent fogging. 

    Bolle Goggles

     

     

    Bollé goggles all have adjustable straps so that the goggles can be worn over and attached to helmets. The Forestay System provides a swinging outrigger that again allows the straps to fit perfectly over a helmet.

     

     Bolle Ski Goggles

     

     

    More vents are provided along the top of the frame to further reduce fogging and encourage air flow. For ultimate comfort the frame is cushioned with a Triple Layer Face Foam so that they fit perfectly over the contours of the face and also prevent those annoying goggle indents that seem to last for hours after taking them off!

    Lenses available range from category 0 (best for night skiing) to category 3 (ideal for bright sunny conditions) and even modulators (which are photo-chromic). A full guide to choosing the right goggle lens for you will be coming soon so stay tuned....

    Bollé even have an extensive range of children's goggles so you can kit out the whole family with affordable and reliable eyewear for your next family ski or snowboarding trip!

    Bollé goggles are available in all Surfanic stores and online here - link.

  • What filming for a ski movie is like

    When I watched ski movies growing up I always thought that it was some kind of magic. I thought that the guys and girls featured in them got magically transported to the sunniest spots with the best snow, a really talented filmer/editor and then stomped everything first time without fear or hesitance. Turns out it's not like that, a lot of luck and hard work have to come together to turn all the effort of getting there and timing it right into a usable shot. Only one thing needs to go wrong with the skiing, filming, snow conditions, timing, weather or light for the shot to be demoted to B roll status, where hopefully something about it will be funny and then it can roll with the credits. I know that this is a bit of a typical rant and I will end it with the sterotypical 'but getting the shot makes it all worthwhile' line, but I guess I'm writing it for people that ever wondered what actually goes on behind the scenes of ski movies, 'cause it can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. So let me tell you a story about the last film trip of the year that I went on, to film for Whiteroom Productions next movie with Raphi Webhofer and filmer Jonas Abenstein.

    Myself and Jonas watching the sunset from the top of the camper, photo by Raphi, check out his athlete page- Raphael Webhofer on facebook

     

    So we were meant to be flying to Norway for a week of touring and a bit of heli time, but just before we were meant to go the weather forecast told us that it was going to be snowing for pretty much every day that we would be there. So last minute we grabbed the Whiteroom Productions camper van and headed over the border to St Moritz and the Engadin Valley. Raphi and I had already been there on separate trips during the season, but since they had had the biggest total snowfall in over 50 years and had mainly sun in the forecast for the next week it was an opportunity not to poke a ski stick at. The photo above is of us checking out the sunset on the first night after scoping some lines, glad that we had made the difficult call not to chase the expensive dragon to Norway. The photo below is the line that we had found and decided to ski together- an exposed shelf finishing in a compulsory air, that turned out to be bigger than it had looked through our binoculars, and with a rockier take-off and landing.

    The intimidating but enticing line down the central shelf

     

    What it looked like from the top in the sunset

     

    Looking back at Raphi to tell him I think it's on

     

    Tight turns in the steep sluff

     

    The long, rocky air out. With a bit of roll in and an ollie I made this, just, but Raphi got unlucky and clipped a rock on landing, tumbled and lost a pole (permanently). It was quite a contrast to the smaller lines we had been skiing earlier that day where I had been kooking it and he had been stomping stylish tricks

     

    I've seen Raphi more stoked than at this moment, the variable snow above the exposure led him to say it was one of the stupidest things he had ever done

     

    So where to from here? I wanted to ski more faces because I'm not as good at tricks as Raphi and he had been getting better shots than me. We met up with local friend Lukas Swieykowski to check out some new zones and I found a line that I have to ski one day, full on life goal. The light had run out by the time I saw it, but it will still be there next year.

    Dream line from the top left shoulder to the central compulsory air, watch out for it next year

     

    Lukas put us up for a couple of days while he was showing us around, thanks buddy! We found this zone with him too, and salivated, all picking different lines off the bat.

    Lukas' line on the right, mine in the middle and Raphi's on the left. The star is where the variable snow caught his edge and the dotted lines are where he tumbled to where he stopped at the circle, and had to cling to a rock for half an hour with a broken hip till the heli could pluck him.

     

    The rescue heli plucking Raphi off the face, you can see him dangling below it in the rotor wash, heavy day.

     

    Thanks Spiderman

     

    After a short heli trip for Raphi and a long drive in the camper for Jonas and I we got to gape at this in the Swiss hospital, check out what's going on with his hip bone in the top left of the x-ray

     

    This is Raphi looking over the other side from the peak before he dropped in, with good times in the minds eye. We didn't know he would be taking a heli home, how could we? I was thinking about that the other day when I posted this pic on the instabook- check it out on @neilwilliman or FB/Neil Williman Skiing Human, and I got a bit carried away with the caption, trying to capture the ups and downs of filming, what we give for skiing, what it gives back and what it takes away. I guess it was a big part of why I took a summer off, instead of going home to NZ for winter, a bit more time to pull my thoughts back to goals and stoke. And write this to try and explain why this photo means what to me. Below is the original captionessay, maybe it will mean a bit more now if you've read this through or at least glanced at the images.

     

    My good ski buddy @raphaelwebhofer on top of a peak we toured near St Moritz in April, and on a better day this caption would've read something cheesy like 'the days we ski for'. We'd been living in a camper for a week looking for lines to film for #whiteroomproductions before finally finding this zone, but the variable snow sent Raphi to hospital with a broken hip after a scary fall. Shaken after helping the medics load him pale but smiling into the heli I was left contemplating what rewards we were looking for in return for these risks, and how I'll feel next time I stand on top of a serious line. Midsummer has been and gone since then without a conclusion reached, other than that the goddess of snow can be a feisty and unreasonable mistress, and it is something in that renders me helpless- unable not to heed her call when she beckons.

  • English Slopestyle Championships 2014

     

    Last weekend saw the arrival of the English Slopestyle Championships 2014 at Chill Factore in Manchester, and some awesome performances from Surfanic sponsored team riders Thea Fenwick, Sam Annis, Tom Annis and Callum Wareing!

    The unstoppable Thea Fenwick stole the gold at the under 14s and came 4th overall! And big congratulations to Sam Annis for taking home a bronze medal in the under 12s and to Tom Annis for coming in 5th!

    Check out these photos from the day...

    Thea Fenwick English Slopestyle Championships 2014 photo by David Allen Thea Fenwick English Slopestyle Championships 2014 photo by David Allen
    Callum Wareing English Slopestyle Championships 2014 photo by David Allen Callum Wareing English Slopestyle Championships 2014 photo by David Allen
    Tom Annis English Slopestyle Championships 2014 photo by David Allen Tom Annis English Slopestyle Championships 2014 photo by David Allen
    Tom Annis English Slopestyle Championships 2014 photo by Craig Robinson Tom Annis English Slopestyle Championships 2014 photo by Craig Robinson
    Sam Annis English Slopestyle Championships 2014 photo by Craig Robinson Sam Annis English Slopestyle Championships 2014 photo by Craig Robinson
    English Slopestyle Championships 2014 - Surfanic Team Riders photo by Sarah Fenwick English Slopestyle Championships 2014 - The Surfanic Team Riders - photo by Sarah Fenwick
  • Ski modello

    So I got to shoot some pics of my favourite Surfanic Hunter Jacket with pro photographer Alex Schmidt just before I left Innsbruck last month, here's the results. Check out AlexSchmidt.de for more
    Ski jacket in a city
    Felt a bit more at home with a jacket on here

     

    Hard to keep a straight face

     

     

    Arty one to finish it off
  • Skiing In Sunny Southend-on-Sea?

    Surfanic Ski Wear Store Rochford / Southend

    Southend-on-Sea may seem like an unusual location for our Surfanic Factory Outlet Store, a shop packed full of hard to believe ski wear discounts, but it is in fact also home to the Surfanic Headquarters.

    Being a clearance haven, our Factory Outlet Store offers discounts and products that can’t be found on our website or at any of our other shops around the country. It may be a little hidden away but consider it a scavenger hunt with a whole host of treasures to be found.

    Not only do we sell our own technically impressive and affordable products but you can also get your hands on items from brands such as Protest, Rossignol, Head, Saloman, Atomic, Bolle, Carve, Saltrock, Buff and more!

    Our close proximity to the sunny beaches of Southend and Leigh-on-Sea, along with our summer sport and lifestyle ranges, make us a real favourite with the local watersports community.

    Surfanic Ski Wear Store Southend Rochford Essex

    Stocking everything from waterproofs to beach towels and thermals to sunglasses, Surfanic is continuously changing with the seasons. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get your hands on a new ski jacket and salopettes at clearance prices in the middle of July. We know the smartest bargain hunters always shop out of season!

    Need some help understanding goggle lenses? Fancy being fitted for a new helmet? Our fully trained technical specialists and friendly staff will help you find exactly what you’re looking for, without all that high-pressure sales nonsense.

    So, if you’re sailing a yacht around Thorpe Bay, spending a day at the famous beaches of Leigh on Sea, or jetting off on your holidays from Southend Airport why not pop in and see what bargains you can pick up, we’re just down the road. And don’t forget, we offer extra special treatment for anyone who brings us a Rossi ice cream too...

     

  • Published as

    Here are a couple of magazine articles that got published recently, I got an interview in the Chill magazine about my season on the FWT, with photos by Tom Platts, Mickey Troja and Martin Erd, as well as an article that Tove Kockum and I wrote about our trip to South America last season, it'll be getting published online soon too! Grab a copy of the magazines of a ski selling shelf near you to check them out in full.

     

    An interview with me in the Chill magazine (NZ)
    An interview with me in the Chill magazine

     

    The article in NZSkier magazine about the trip Tove Kockum and I took to South America, coming out online soon to a website near you
    The article in NZSkier magazine about the trip Tove Kockum and I took to South America, coming out online soon to a website near you.
  • Volcanoes to Crowd throws

    So I last left you in Portillo ski resort, having just crossed the border from Argentina, and had a couple of amazing days skiing powder to start off our Chilean experience. We followed it up another overnight drive, as was the theme of the roadtrip to avoid paying for hostels every night. Tove and I ended up on the sunrise shift again as we came through the green plains en route from Santiago to Pucon as the local scenery continued to impress. Chile is much greener than Argentina since the weather systems come from the west and lose most of their heavy moisture in the form of rain to enable themselves to rise above the mighty Andes. This is the same situation as exists on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand and the views felt closer to home than Europe, with the exception of the exclusively Spanish signs.

    Looking down from near the top of Super C colouir at the Portillo pass from which we would continue our drive down and to the right of the photo into Chile

     

    Morning light on my Dr Zipe

     

    Arriving in Pucon

     

    This car actually worked and was full of stock for the kiosk behind it!
     
    Getting touristy on it

     

    We arrived in Pucon 13 hours later in the morning of a beautiful sunny day and were immediately awestruck by the landscape dominating volcano the seemed to fill the sky of the ’Center of the south of Chile’. Skiing off the summit was the last of our main goals for the roadtrip, which the others at our cosy hostel seemed to think was a big deal- that had already or were planning to take a guided tour up there including renting an ice axe, crampons, a guide and a hilarious shovel-like apparatus to sit and slide down on. The fear of alpine conditions had been drilled into them from all angles, which I assumed to be partly justified and partly to convince them to pay for the expensive tour. They didn’t know what to make of us when we said that we were just going to ski tour up, and then went to bed nice and early since they had be up at 6 and leave by 7am in the guides van. We planned to leave at 9 but ended up getting up at that time, having a leisurely breakfast, sorting out our gear and eventually leaving the hostel at 11. This meant that by the time we arrived at the gate to the national park and tried to pay entry fee the park warden told us we were too late and not allowed to begin climbing.

    Not discouraged we took the other fork of the road to the ski area carpark instead, which although lower meant that we were able to sneak onto the lifts and save about an hour of touring time, definite win and cheaper, thanks Mr Park Ranger. We enjoyed the sunny and windless day and commented more than once about how incredibly lucky we had been with the weather on this trip, along with everything else! Sometimes things just don’t go your way, but this week had definitely not been one of those times. Even the guys that had to skip the volcano to do some work during the day (who worked by distance and hadn’t told their boss that they were going on a road trip) enjoyed a beautiful day in the sun as they caught up on emails.

     

    Stoked to have just got some free vertical from the chair in the background

     

    Tove is laughing at the tour group mountaineer bum sliders behind me

     

    View over the clouds from the top

     

    We eventually caught up with one of the guided tour groups, who eyed us warily as if we were an unpredictable foreign species with unfamiliar sticks on our feet instead of shovels under our bums. To be fair to them we had been lucky that it was one of the warmest days of the Spring so far, meaning that we were able to keep our skis on until about 50 metres short of the summit, where the icy moonscape finally forced us into bootpacking the last of the summit ridge. I’ve heard that luck favours the brave though, and that you make your own luck, two quotes that I assume came from inconceivably lucky people. Even so we were feeling so smiled upon by lady luck that day and week that we could probably have penned another few sayings about how luck comes to those who smile back, but we were too busy taking time lapses and getting sunburnt.

    Looking into the crater, there was too much sulfer steam to see much but we could hear the lava bubbling away

     

    Stoked to have touring poles for a change, and that Tove's knee got her to the top of a volcano first day back on skis after tweaking it in Portillo

     

    Arty view from the top by Harris' iphone

     

    The clouds began to roll in as we admired the view from the summit but this only provided an even more spectacular backdrop for the skiing pics that we snapped on the way down, and we were nearly back to the carpark by the time they actually enveloped us more the mystical looking short walk back to the car. That night we rewarded ourselves with a restaurant meal (and personally an 800 gram steak), followed by a visit to the local natural thermal springs and a swim in the neighbouring snowmelt river. Chile you are amazing.

    Harris enjoying the spring snow decent

     

    Tove's turn

     

    Me spraying the clouds

     

    Clouds revenge

     

    0.8kg steak reward dinner

     

    The next day we drove back to Bariloche, across a Chilean-Argentinean border that turned out to be a gravel road. We got thoroughly lost, to the growing distress of the two crew that were trying to get back to work, and the growing enjoyment of us that had nowhere to be and got to see traditional farming villages, wild animals swimming and a pair of Condors playing together in the wind. We saw the local Gauchos (Argentinean cowboys with traditional bright clothing and berets) rounding up cows with their horses, open farming houses brimming with chickens and turkeys, waited out a wild sheep roadblock and eventually had to ask directions in our limited Spanish before giving the Kangoo a push to get it up the last hill back to the road to civilisation. This was one of my favourite parts of my whole trip for sure, a paradise for us tourists in a place that tourists never seem to go, given the way the farmer looked at us when we asked him for directions.

    This was pretty standard

     

    Extremely free range chickens

     

    Totally in our half of the one lane

     

    Boss sheep giving us the eye

     

    Once we made it back to a sealed road we were also treated to the 7 lakes road back to Bariloche which is the more well known beautiful drive in the area. Cruising the smoother road in the warm afternoon sunrays gave us some time to think and talk about the amazing experiences and luck that we had had over the past week, filling our bellies with the warm contented feeling of chances taken and gambles paid off.

    One of the 7 lakes from the name of the road

     

    The next few days in Bariloche felt mellow in comparison, spring conditions had set in and we enjoyed some casual laps in the park, hitting some rails felt nice but also weird after spending most of the last 3 weeks in the backcountry! Niki lent me his Big Stix 100 to ski park which still felt pretty small after so long on my 192cm Big Stix 122, the only ski I took to South America J He also showed us a follow cam video of what he had been up to in the Van Titter valley (between Cerro Catedral resort and the Refugio Frey valley), scoring the same storm that we had got in Portillo, check it out here!

    Niki's edit from the Bariloche sidecountry while our roadtrip crew were scoring the same storm in Portillo

     

    And suddenly it was time to get the bus back to Buenos Aires for our flight, which this time we took with the American crew that we had done the road trip with. Another 22 hour ride in first class bus comfort, check my earlier blog for pics to see what I mean. The Americans also invited to stay at their place in the city where they live when they’re not in Bariloche and it turned out to be a bit of a mansion, even city rent is cheap in Argentina! As long as you take cash to exchange at the black market rate kiddies, remember that. We enjoyed a night out partying the night before we left too, even though it was a Monday, and still managed to get kicked out of a club. I feel like we fitted as much as possible into the month we had there, but there is still so much to see and do and I already can’t wait to go back!

    We weren’t quite as lucky with our airport check in on the way back to Europe and had to pay for our obscenely heavy ski bags, but I figured out that I’m going to get frequent flier status on Star Alliance by the end of this year too so that put me in a better mood, airport lounges and a free ski luggage for me next year! We got to Munich and took an airport transfer to Innsbruck, gaping at the first world and how unfamiliar and unnecessarily over-developed and clean it was in comparison. It was Oktoberfest too which added an even weirder element of drunker tourists that seemed over ready to throw their money at anything vaguely amusing, and we hoped that we hadn’t resembled them in South America.

    Our stoke began growing again soon though because we were on our way to Innsbruck for the premier of ‘For a Few Lines More’ at IF3 (the International Freeski Film Festival), the ski movie that I am in courtesy of Whiteroom Productions and Fischer. We arrived in time to hang out and catch up with the crew, drink beers and smile before heading to the cinema together. The movie theatre was the biggest one they had and sold out which felt really good after all the effort that we put into the film, and I was stoked to see myself on a proper bigscreen for the first time. We got up on stage with the producers and director to talk about our parts in the film and the trips we went on before it showed too and it really seemed like people cared about what we had to say, or maybe it was just because we were about to throw a bunch of free stuff off the stage at them.

    Nice start to IF3 Innsbruck for us, the sold out cinema filling up for our movie 'For a Few Lines More' by Whiteroom Productions

     

    Whiteroom Productions crew on stage

     

    Everyone spoke German except me

     

    I was stoked on the film, here are the tour dates and trailer, then it’s dropping online for free in spring! I’m already motivated for an even better part next year and we’re looking at trips to Canada, Iran and Norway to try and be a bit more organised than the pre-heli library session that Fabi and I had to do in Canada last year :-P

    Tour dates: http://www.alp-con.net/alp-con-cinematour-2013/tourplan.html Plus I'm trying to organise one at Winnie Bagoes in Christchurch, NZ on the 5th of December too. Here's the trailer, check my facebook page to see what shots are of me at facebook.com/NeilWillimanskiinghuman

     

    So then it was time to be one of the tourists and check out Oktoberfest on the way home, it was a cool thing to do once, but be warned that the 1 litre handles of beer are also 7% because it got the best of me and I missed the last train back to Innsbruck, now I owe Fabi a big favour for picking me up from the Germany/Austria border.

    Turns out I've been spelling this wrong

     

    Alex Hoffman and I getting overconfident

     

    I got back to Sweden in time to make the most of the warmest Autumn that Tove has seen in a long time and had to spend a lot of time on the computer organising the season and updating my website etc. But now it’s done, I’m now skiing for Dr Zipe, Komperdell, Pieps and Quiver Killer Inserts as well as my long time sponsors of Fischer, Surfanic, Planks and Incline, so stoked! And as I write this I’m on way back to Austria to meet Pieps and get free avalanche training with the team, a perfect pre-season session. Check out the Skiers Left foundation if you want to know more about freeride specific avalanche safety. So I’ll be skiing again in a few days on Sölden glacier and then staying in Innsbruck for the rest of the season! With the exception of competition and filming travels that I’m equally excited about J Bring on the good times! To all of you out there about to head off on a season as well- have fun and stay safe, hope to see you out there!

  • In Argentina, we don't stress

    Words and photos by Neil Williman and Tove Kockum

    So far Argentina has been so exciting, skiing for the first time in a few months and meeting new amazing people. But also it’s been a week to learn how to adapt to a new culture, the very relaxed Patagonian style. Things take their time and you just have to let it flow that way. No need to stress. There’s always time to have a Mate (traditional hot herb drink) or some Dulce De Leche on a cookie. People are very friendly and as a visitor in their country I feel warmly welcomed. Family time here seems more important than sitting by the TV, computer or phone. A good example is the birthday party we went to the other day. It was held in a house on the backyard built with the purpose to drink Mate in, have a barbeque or a party. This is apparently very common in Argentina, to have a hangaround house in your garden.

    Tove enjoying a mate on the way to the mountain

     

    On Thursday we went riding at Cerro Bayo together with Colin Boyd (FWT snowboarder) and his Argentinean girlfriend Sofie that we stayed with in Wanaka last season. This daytrip was an unexpected surprise and Cerro Bayo turned out to be a freeride paradise!  It was only an hour drive from Bariloche but the locals there don’t seem to have discovered what this year’s new gondola has to offer. We scored some fresh snow and a blue bird day with no queues so definitely a day we’ll remember for a long time. With the stunning backdrop we decided to get the camera out, check out what we got below.

    Neil Slashing some powder in Cerro Bayo

     

    Tove getting some

     

    DSC_2395 - CopyColin Boyd getting deep

     

    Amazing view

     

    DSC_2415 - CopyHopplahopp, Tove

    Yesterday we were back on our touring skis, and they were back on our backs. Niki joined us for another mission with James and Lucas, this time touring off the back of Cerro Catedral (Bariloche’s local resort). We were lucky and needed their local-ness to get a one ride pass because they had to convince the lady that we were going cross country skiing on the tracks at the top of the gondola. We started our mission in a milk bowl with absolutely no visibility but we got lucky and the sky opened for us just in time for a sketchy rock scramble over to a good run. The rain crust was still lurking at variable depths under the dry pow meaning that we couldn’t quite ski full speed or drop anything more than a few metres, but the deep turns that we got kept smiles on our faces for most of the skin back to the resort. A 2 day storm was coming in, dropping crazy snowflakes that looked like bean-bag filling, and the thoughts of family fire time with Mate and Dulce de Leche cookies lured us home to bed for a day off.

    DSC_2433Making love to skis with eyes

    DSC_2461

    Making the most of a small hole in the clouds

     

    DSC_2469

    Niki dropping in Patagonian style

    And then it snowed a bunch and we went on another amazing trip! Tove wrote the following words:

    Frey Frey Frey, where to begin with you? Well for us it started at a bongo drums party for a friend of a friend that were celebrating that his girlfriend got pregnant. After the party we got a text from Colin Boyd (FWT snowboarder and friend) saying his crew were heading to Refugio Frey (a backcountry hut) tomorrow and that we were welcome to join if we feel like it. Absolutely we thought! Getting to Frey was interesting; first we had to convince the ticket lady that we were going cross country skiing so we could get a one ride pass for the Gondola. It was only a short tour from the top of the lift to the ridge and drop in but we managed to get lost because the visibility was soooo bad, it was like skiing in a milk bowl with no tasty cereals in it. But then something amazing happened, the light popped and the cereals appeared everywhere! It was suddenly a bluebird powder day and we were the first to get to the saddle that divided Cerro Catedral from the back country and the valley that led to Frey. Eric Hjorleifson and Jen Ashton were next to drop, that felt good.

    DSC_2482Dropping in in the first laguna

    frame g2Neil Loving it!

     

    Famous freeride skiers Eric Hjorleifson and Jen Ashton arriving on the scene

     

    It had snowed 2 days before but the resort had been tracked in low light since then and we had no expectations on the snow quality just over the ridge, so after our first run of deep dry pow we got to the bottom in stuttering, stoked shock. The sky was clearing too and we immediately made way to the next ridge to harvest more dream conditions before moving onto a small river crossing, tight tree navigation and the Frey valley itself.

    DSC_2502The Crew

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    Niki the monkey man showing us his secret spotts

     

    Tove scoring it

     

    IMG_1441Tove and I touring up

     

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    Neil getting tangled up in the bush while crossing a river

    IMG_1508Niki Approaching Frey

    We arrived at Frey with still a few hours of light left so we had a quick Mate and headed out for some more powder skiing. We started touring up a step beautiful face but then eventually had to start boot packing up. Niki the monkey was leading the track and we got to a pretty icy part, our token snowboarder was doing really well in snowboard boots but just as we said so he slipped on the hidden ice and fell over some rocks, his back pack with an attached snowboard got caught and he dislocated his shoulder. He was screaming “mi hombro” but we thought he was saying “mi hombre” which means ’my man’ or ‘my friend’. Hmm we were very confused for a second but soon realized he meant his shoulder. Neil turned into a ski patrol hero and after two tries relocated his shoulder into the right position. There were immediate hugs and cheers, followed by a very relieved and mellow run back to the hut for him and Neil, while Niki and I continued hiking to the top of the face.

    IMG_1522FREY!!!!

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    Here’s a photo of Tove skiing down, it was steep, fluffy and a superb last run.

    With legs tired like over boiled spaghetti we headed back the hut. Dinner was ready to be served which tonight was soup, risotto, pizza and desert and it only costs us about 7 €.

    IMG_1530Heaps of skins

    We woke up with the wind shaking the little hutt and the clouds hanging like a napkin over the mountains. But we headed out and again the sky opened for us and we scored a long nice run. After that I decided to start the tour back to the resort but Neil and Niki went for one more run in a nice colouir. The tour back worked my legs pretty good and getting to the top was a relief. Niki and Neil were not far behind me and I knew they haven’t had anything to eat in a long time so I left some salty biscuits in the touring tracks for them to snack on. They were stoked!

    DSC_2489

    Niki!

     

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    Back for one more

    frame-g4-662x370 (2)Slashing!

    We got back to Cerro Catedral after closing and felt happy, exhausted and filled with new good memories. Although we just realized we didn’t have a ride home and thought it was going to be tricky to find a way down the mountain.  We got lucky and found a ride down to the roundabout and from there a friendly guy picked us up in his tiny car but we managed to fit all of us and all our gear. On the way home we did a necessary stop at the supermarket and bought stuff to fill our empty bellies with tasty treats and amazing Argentinean meat.

    IMG_1546Niki Having a little rest

    Frey, Frey, Frey, what an incredible place. Just waking up in the morning and picking your lines by looking out the window while drinking your Mate. I’ll definitely come back.

    Roadtrip on the cards next!

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