Dienstag, 27. März 2012

Sun, Kickers and Natural Lines

After over 2 weeks of snow and clouds we finally got to see the sun for three days in a row! Sunrise in the Backcountry before an unforgettable day on the first of three jumps.

Some last fine tuning on Jump #1
The landing of our jump probably had the seize of an average ski slope in Finland...
 We were having a nice session on this one and thanks to the huge landing and Elias shutteling me up with the sled I could ride this jump for 14 times within a couple of hours. I think I have never a hit a single backcountry jump that often!

 And the next day was acutally even better! We hit a jump which is called "the perfect one". And this is just what it feels like. Smooth take off and perfect landing.

Elias was killing it on this one! Be sure to check out his part in this year's People movie!

After another epic kicker session the day wasn't over yet but the most fun part was still to come. With the last light of the day we were shutteling each other up to some short but perfect natural lines.
This is what my first line looked like from the bottom:

 And this was the view from where I dropped in:
I have never ridden such steep terrain before. Thanks to the wet climate due to the short distance to the sea the snow in Whistler just sticks to the rocks like glue.

 Elias picked out a really nice line just 50 meters next to my one:


Of course we are not the only people here who want to enjoy perfect conditions like this and therefore you have to get up early to claim the spots. This means getting up at 4.30 am in order to have a decent breakfast:
 And then be ready at the parking lot at 6.30 am which is already packed with people at this time:
As the snow was already sun baked on most slopes after 2 sunny days we had to scout for some north facing landings for our third day. At first it seemed liked every kicker spot with good snow had been hit within the last two days until we finally found another perfect spot:

After only three hours of shoveling we had already set up a decent jump thanks to Cameron Hunter's ambitious shoveling!

Although we just had two amazing kicker sessions the days before this should be the one blowing our minds. The landing was as soft as feathers and the sunset was overwhelming!

We have had such a good time on this jump that we just did not want to end it even after the light was gone. The last time I hit this jump was at 8.10 pm and this is what the conditions looked like at this time when taking an iphone picture:
This was the perfect ending session of an amazin week full of experiences. We've been snowboarding six days in a row getting up at 4.30 am and arriving home at 10.30 pm!

Now I am looking forward to finally getting some sleep for more than 6 hours a night and letting the sore muscles (neck, shoulders, arms, thumb, back, legs,...) rest for a couple of days and wait for the next snow storm to bring fresh snow again!

We'll be waiting for you Whistler's Backcountry!

Montag, 26. März 2012

Waiting it out in the clouds...

The beginning of past week the weather was so bad that we could not even find our way up into the Alpine. This is what Whistler's Backcountry looks like on these days:
 After waiting 2 hours in the cold and grey we decided to make a "Canadian Fire" which would keep us warm until the weather was hopefully gonna clear up and we could drive further up with our sleds.
The fire was nice and kept us warm for another 3 hours until we finally gave up our hope on sun and decided to rather spend time Snowshoeing the forrest and filming natural features.

I found a super fun run through some kind of natural halfpipe! As a drop in I built myself a poppy corner take off consisting out of only three blocks.
 Building jumps only as wide as your snowboard can safe you a lot of work...

This way I can use my remaining energy to dig out my sled when I crash into trees for example.
By the way Elias has already invented his own signature move on how to get stuck on a sled in completely flat areas.
 If you can't find a frozen lake to try it out you could as well just do it right next to the cat trail!

On the third day we were lucky enough to catch a sunny window to get up to the zone where all the kickerspots are and even managed to set up two sick jumps for the next good weather day. Whenever this will be...
 But as we spent a whole day shaping on the two spots we were almost forgetting about how difficult it could be to find our way home in a snow storm.

When we finally tried to find our way out of the Alpine the view when driving looked like this:
 But as it was already 6 pm and we were the last people still on the mountain 15 km away from civilization we just had to figure out a way to get down as soon as possible.
After some silent moments caught in a snow storm on 2000 meters we started trying to find the way back to the cat trail by always having someone walking ahead and touching the ground to figure out if we were still on the cat trail (which was completely windblown). This way we could slowly make our way forward step by step.
This experience definitely gave me some more respect for the mountains and the always changing weather conditions out there once again. I am happy that we made it down before it got dark but I see it as a close warning.

Dienstag, 20. März 2012

Junkyard Jibbing

Here we go for some pictures from our jib session in some Junkyard outside of Whistler:

Ready to play! Train comes in on the background which means that we are stuck on our junkyard as it closes the only exit. And these trains here are so long they seem to go forever...
Elias trying out the first doubleslide on the barriers.

Me firecracking some barriers. These are left overs from the Olympic Games two years ago, where Whistler just produced way too many of these barriers...
This is how the blue crew rolls in:
This is how our Filmer Garry Pendygrasse rolls in these days:
And last but not least may I introduce our latest member to the blue crew: Bob. Bob is a shovel that shovels ten times as fast than any other shovel. We are proud to have him as a strong part of the blue crew!

 And the train isn't over yet...

Thanks to www.anrodphoto.com for all the pictures.

Donnerstag, 15. März 2012

As the weather has not really gotten any better yet and my sled is at the doctors for a couple of days we decided to build some stuff down in the valley. Big booters of course...
As well we killed some decent ledges...
Now we are ready to step it up a little and go for some gap to firecracker to drop to quarterpipe spot tomorrow morning:
Our photographer Mark Welsh and filmer Garry Pendygrasse will be stoked to spend another day in the rain!
And as we have been kind of missing the feeling of digging out our sleds on the mountain we decided to now always get stuck with our truck at random points next to the road just for the fun of it!
By the way this is what we call our home for the next two months.
That's why I really wanted the floor to look like at home as well:
We hope on going on the mountain again soon. But so far the forecast is all about snow storms and clouds and shockingly high avalanche danger (it was on 5 yesterday! and now stays on 4...). But this won't keep us from going out snowboarding. If it is not possible on the mountain then we just work on our jib career in the streets!

Dienstag, 13. März 2012

Whistler - Dumping. Every day.

Whistler has got some crazy weather. We haven't seen the sun in five days and if you look at the forecast this does not seem to change within the next two weeks...
Nevertheless Elias and me had a nice session on a natural hit in the forest yesterday and both might have gotten a good shot on it.
 Although they call it an "ordinary winter" here the amounts of snow and the possibilities in the terrain are just mind blowing.
  Sightseeing. This roadgap became famous through Devun Walsh years ago:
Although the zone beneath does have sled and hiking access (if you bring some time) no one ever goes in there we were told. Probably because right next to the trail there is jumps like the road gap above.
Kind of looks like next year's Supernatural Course...
Accidentally Bene Mayr and Sven Kueenle just rented an appartement in 2 meters distance from ours. Funny coincidence.
But the major coincidence is that the blue Dodge we just bought used to belong to Sven about 6 years ago. He sold it to someone else and after years in various hands we just bought it from some snowboarder in Whistler...

They call us the blue crew.
Unfortunately when it comes to fuelling up the car, the blue truck obviously is not green at all but can take 113 litres of gas which do not even seem to last very long...
  Until the sun comes out again we will just spend our time digging out sleds from random valleys in the woods...

Freitag, 9. März 2012

Whistler - getting set up

I just arrived in Whistler one week ago together with my good friend Elias Elhardt. We are going to spend the next 2 months over here filming with People Productions.

Already on the way to here we were so motivated we just had to do some work out at the airport before jumping on our flight to Vancouver.

We bought ourselves a nice setup in order to spend the next two months sledding in the amazing backcountry over here.
But as we are both sled rookies it was already a big mission to just get the sleds loaded onto the truck.
And it did not really get easier once we were up on the mountain...
After three good weather days in a row we have learned a lot about sledding and the amazing terrain up here and we can't wait for the next good day to get out there again!