The last powder run of the season

While we are under a lull in what concerns swell in Southern Portugal, let me share the last powder run of the past season with you. The flow is everywhere (even if you’re riding a stiff, unfamiliar board such as the one in the video).

Thank you André Pisco for guiding me into the powder stashes of Glacier 3000 in late April!

Fun in the late season pow!

A post shared by DJ Sir Aiva (@djsiraiva) on

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MG Snowtrip 2017

There is a snowtrip that more or less seems to mark the end of the snow season in recent years. The MG Snowtrip usually takes place around Easter holidays and for most Portuguese snow-lovers it’s a ‘see you next year’ kinda thing (see me going all sentimental about it here). This year’s edition was way bigger than 2016 and I was invited to write a story about it in the local magazine Algarve Informativo. You can read the result from page 46 onwards, enjoy!

(Even if you can’t read Portuguese, the photographic work from professional action sports photographer Joe Mann / GOT IT Shootings is surely enough to dazzle you…)

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The true reason why we ride

Well this is a big claim. I am sure that we all can come up with all sorts of reasons to ride whatever vehicle we choose, either skateboards, surfboards, snowboards, or even skis, boogieboards, bikes, motorbikes, or even your kid’s tricycle.

But man, few things get us as stoked as sharing a sunset ride with a friend at the end of the day. Fuel for the soul.

So I’ll make a call on this one and claim that as a (or the) true reason to do what we do.

Freshlines Boards head honcho Hugo and mountain master Freddy searching for the meaning of life somewhere in the Alps.

The Perfect Winter map

Finally, here it is! All the resorts visited during The Perfect Winter campaign are now on Google Maps. The secret spots are carefully left out – it’s so much more fun to find them yourself!

Click on the image to explore the map and find roads, lifts and slopes. So many possibilities!

Quite a lot of mapping, driving, hiking and sliding down faces of mountains. How I miss those days. Fortunately this winter is already at the doorstep and it’s looking promising!

tpw-map

Trivia on off-season travelling (or how we met Winter in plain Autumn)

Every winter sports enthusiast knows the feeling: the days get shorter, the nights start to get colder and we start looking into weather forecast for the nearest mountains. Yep, winter is coming. But in full climate change process (no, it’s not a hoax by the Chinese) booking a 5-day trip to snowboard in November is a shot in the dark. When we did, we aimed high enough to be safe and so that we’d have at least something to slide on. So choosing the Stubai glacier was not at all a random choice – and did I mention it hosts the Stubai Zoo, one of the best and most hyped snowparks in the Alps?

img-20161112-wa0015(click by Vasco Abreu)

Book flights, make contacts, let’s go. As usual, weather forecasts in Autumn are not really trustworthy, especially when talking about a glacier. But we did know that there would be snow – just weren’t sure how much of it, and when. There was a huge chance that we’d catch bad weather. Hell yeah, we did! We got more than we bargained for, with 2 days of closed skies and temperatures as low as -15ºC up in the peaks. And snowfall, lots of it.

(clicks by Brian Fernandes and Vasco Abreu)

The glacier resort itself had 25km of marked slopes open, which was not bad at all for this time of the year. And with the recent snowfall and low temperatures it really felt like winter. Visibility was crap though, and the wind was strong in the high alpine. Due to that the park was mostly closed in the first days. But the open pistes were more than enough to keep our rusty legs entertained. Even more so were the side-country slopes that looked really good for some off piste riding. Wrong choice! Peer pressure and the craving for powder after a long summer can truly hinder your choices: think thrice before you venture off piste! Nothing really bad happened except for some board carnage and ego damage. But things can go severely sour when these factors come together: early season, glacier, short base layer and sharks. When in doubt, there’s no doubt, don’t go out. Even if the clouds go away and the mountains look as awesome as this.

20161112_122021(click by João Saraiva)

Well they eventually did go away and the sun came out on a beautiful Saturday. And so did the crowds. Geeeez, hundreds, thousands of tourists, locals and pros just stormed in and made it feel like Sierra Nevada after a dump on a weekend. The park quickly became filled with high-level riders, and the one lift that was open (come on, one draglift for the whole park? You gotta be kidding!) queued like there was no tomorrow. Back to the pistes it was, but we managed to steal some quick shots just to say we were there.

So was it worth it? Definitely! Would we go back and do the same? Yep, but my advice is choose your dates wisely to avoid major weekends. Better yet, keep your options open to visit other glaciers nearby: Hintertux is 1.30h drive from Neustift where we were based, and Kaunertal and Pitztal are 2h away for example. They all have amazing snowparks, are open in the pre-season and can be an option even if you’re aiming for the Stubai mojo.

img-20161111-wa0016(click by Brian Fernandes)

Best advice? Leave your riding destination open and make you base in Innsbruck. From there you’ll have plenty to choose from and you’ll get to experience the vibe of a beautiful city that is home of a large community of snow lovers.

img-20161113-wa0006img-20161110-wa000920160129_133332(clicks by André Pisco, Brian Fernandes and João Saraiva)

What are you waiting for?

 

 

The Perfect Winter timelapse

When I first imagined spending a winter in the Alps, the image that immediately popped into my mind was not speeding down a slope, or jumping off a kicker. It was simply waking up every morning in the silence of the mountains, opening the window and seeing the white powdery stuff covering everything. The quiet, the calm, the Zen. This is essentially what I came to Tirol for. So every morning (well, almost) from January to March 2016 I took a picture from my window in the mountain hut in Gerlosberg. This is the result.

I don’t know about you, but this gets me pumped to go shred as much as any Red Bull super production video. Just sayin’.

Winter is coming, or so they say

Although we’re coming into October, there’s no sign of winter here in the South of Portugal. Not only have we been having temperatures around the 30º C, waves have been pumping in the south coast – best summer ever for surfing, I dare say. Look at this photo from yesterday:

 

Not only there are surf vibes everywhere, the  warm weather forecast will keep pushing us to the beach for the next weeks. No wonder it’s hard to change into the Winter gear. Not even the world premiere of Travis Rice’s “The Fourth Phase” on October 2 is really appealing the snowboard mode.

Nonetheless, we’re making plans to hit the mountain roads. We’re aiming high – 3200 m high, to be exact. Stubai Gletscher, here we come.