T-7 days

Winter is finally making its move. More than 2 meters of snow are forecasted to fall in the coming week – it’s about bloody time!

chart

It’s been hectic around good old sunny Algarve. There are absolutely no signs of winter and yet all my energy is going packing into gore-tex jackets, insulated pants, gloves, thermal layers and snowboards, while trying to tie the loose ends regarding my scientific duties, that are to be paused while The Perfect Winter is underway. Combine that with one of the best swells this year on the south coast and the arrival of the hoodies and t-shirts… Maybe you get the picture.

20151222_232839

One of the accomplished tasks was changing into winter tires. Again, this puzzled the guys at the workshop. But now the van is all ready for snowy roads!

20151222_115608

I’ve also been working on my equilibrium with the customized board made by One Love EcoSurf products. Never too late to start!

20151220_202044_DSC3783

While all that happens, I am still soaking in the fact that The Perfect Winter got the cover on the Algarve Informativo magazine (see previous post). And this is all happening as 2015 comes to an end, as does a very worrying mild winter start that was driving everyone crazy.

The fact is Global Climate Change will be rendering our seasons further and further unpredictable. I might as well enjoy this winter and this project to its fullest extent – who knows when and how could this come together again?

Advertisements

The Perfect Winter… just not yet

You noticed it, and so did I: where’s winter?

Despite big expectations in the summer that something big would happen this season, due to the infamous El Niño (the strongest ever recorded), and a decent snowfall all around the Alps in November, this winter has come into a halt. Hardly any snow, mild temperatures and no forecast to make us smile in a reasonable future. And anyone in his right mind would not believe a forecast of more than 5 or 6 days – more than that is like looking into a crystal ball, you choose what you want to believe.

Speaking frankly, there is no real pattern on the el Niño activity and intensity throughout the summer and snowfall during winter in Europe. However – as always – every snow addict hopes were up, as it usually happens after those warmer months. Yes, summer is nice, but as soon as the first long sleeve comes on, all we think about is heading up and taste some pow pow.

So, when November brought the white stuff everyone was waxing the boards and booking early trips. But then… nothing. Sierra Nevada started only on artificial snow. The pyrenees looked promising but everything melted or is maintained by hard work and technology only. Claims of temperatures of 15ºC above 1500m for the next days seem not to be doomsday prophecies. Where the… hell… is winter?

Quoting Meteomorris from Wepowder:

‘The jetstream is moving around the Alps with a big bow.  This article was written a couple of weeks ago, but it’s still standing strong. The result is that the storm depressions don’t reach the Alps, but reach western Norway or that a northern current is taking the storms to Russia, the Black Sea and Turkey and Georgia. Snow that would came down in the Alps in a ‘normal’ situation. The weather in the Alps is on lockdown. But… hang in there. Winter will come eventually.’

(You can read more about what is causing this  phenomenon here. At least it will distract you while the cold days linger on.)

12189399_10156181267855464_8150022200103644357_o

 

The Crowdfunding experience

‘Support something meaningful. It’s as simple as that’.

This is the headline on the indiegogo webpage, where The Perfect Winter crowdfunding campaign is hosted. This was my first time running such an endeavour, although I contributed to a few in the past. The idea is brilliant: instead of searching for a lot of money from a few major sponsors, companies, brands or the keyholders of any business areas (and banks, let’s not forget that), it  searches for a bit of money from a lot of people. It’s actually kind of revolutionary because it frees the entrepreneurs from the corporative agendas, and puts the idea directly to the test within its target audience. Although it does involve a lot of work (more than I anticipated, oh yes), the thought of skipping a step in the financial chain is very rewarding, and the creator of the concept, product or service gets to feel what is the economic value of its ‘thing’.

Academic considerations aside, it is also a very emotional thing. The perfect Winter is a personal idea, that can only be valued by people who think more or less like I do – outdoor sports and adventure lovers, nature enthusiasts and, let’s be honest, dreamers of some sort. Some people do not get the appeal of spending a winter in a cold, snowy, foreign place, leaving your job and risking professional, social and family consequences. But the ones that can see beyond that – such as you, who are reading this, I suppose – did probably get a smile when you first heard or read about this project. I know I would. So, when you – the supporters of this campaign – put your contribution in, despite all the effort and hardship to earn your salary, you deposit more than the €€ value. There is a bond and and a vote of confidence that I take very seriously. I will do my best not to let you down, because from this moment on, The Perfect Winter is no longer a solitary travel, we are in this together. And believe me, I am so, so thankful for each and every one of you who contributed.

This emotional side was unexpected, to be honest. I was aware of the work, and I was aware of the process, and the networking effort, and the marketing, the persistence. But I was not aware of the gratitude I would feel whenever people would contribute. Nor was I prepared to the sarcasm of the nay-sayers, and the indifference of a few close ones. But hey, it’s all part of the experience. And the negatives are wildly compensated by the positive vibes when someone I hardly met long ago sends me a message ‘great idea, I hope you accomplish your goal. I put in my contribution’. And not to forget the help from the sponsors, who made all the perks possible, and actually believed in this project while it was still in a very early stage.

‘Vestir a camisola’ (to put on the uniform, in a free translation) is a portuguese expression for dedication to a cause. I like to think of myself as someone that does that in everything I put myself into, and is a quality that I really appreciate in people. I cannot thank enough to all of you who ‘vestiram a camisola’ of The Perfect Winter!

TPW – official presentation

Friends, good music and great venue – what could be a better environment to present The Perfect Winter?

This is a simple clip of a great evening that gathered friends and mountain enthusiasts to learn about The Perfect Winter. It was hosted in downtown Faro, at a beautiful venue called Mezzanine Wine bar on November 27, 2015.

The images speak for themselves, I guess. Thank you!