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.

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The Perfect Winter TV interview

It’s finally online!

I was invited to talk about The Perfect Winter on Segunda pele, an action sports show at Sport TV. I was honoured by this invitation – after all, this was a personal project that I wanted to share with people, and to think that it was interesting enough to get media attention is very rewarding!

I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I did being there. Talking about the trip and showing videos and pictures is always good, makes me be there again somehow. Thank you Catarina Faustino for this opportunity to share The Perfect Winter with you.

 

I know what you did last winter

It’s a wrap, as they say. Spring has arrived to the Algarve, all the snow gear is washed and stored until next season (or, who knows, some glacier shredding sometime in summer), and all that’s left of winter are the memories. It’s a good thing that Youtube is around the almighty internet so that we can store and share moving images of happy times. Because, you know, even memories fade unless you exercise them.

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I would love to have more of these videos to watch again and again, and every time I watch them I think I should have filmed them differently. Fear not, because a proper video campaign is being planned. Maybe, just maybe there will be yet another Perfect Winter.

In the meantime, enjoy the playlist of this year’s edition.

Closing the circle

12.105km.

3 countries.

16 resorts.

82 days, 3 hours and 22 minutes.

Thousands of powder turns.

Hundreds of kicker jumps.

Zero severe injuries.

Countless new friends.

These are some of the numbers of the Perfect Winter. But you know as well I do that there is much more to a long trip than mere numbers. While I’m finding it difficult  to stay away from emotional clichés when talking about this season in the Alps, let me try to stick to the facts of these last few months.

One of the big objectives of The Perfect Winter was to witness the changing of the seasons. In Portugal, especially in the south, spring and fall are kind of extensions of a long summer. Even our winter is very mild when compared to higher latitutes. Therefore, we are not used to the changes that come as Earth spins around the sun. In the Alps, on the other hand, these changes are not only obvious but they also profoundly affect the lives of the people living in and around the mountains. First of all, green and brown give place to a magical white carpet covering everything. I was fortunate enough to witness the first heavy snowfall that kicked this late winter into full gear.

At first I didn’t grasp the true importance of this in Alpine life, but it’s pretty obvious. While this generation relies on snow to make ends meet as it attracts tourists, previous generations would wait for snow to cover the fields and fertilize the earth for cattle grazing and crops. It’s scary to think that all this can change as winters get shorter and snow falls higher and higher.

I must say that even thought this winter was far from harsh, I enjoyed it to the maximum. Because I was there all the time and with the right people, I could go out whenever conditions were perfect. You can read all about this throughout this blog…

Eventually the season in Tirol came to an end. By the time of departure spring had arrived and once again I was privileged enough to witness the changing of the season, as the snow starts to melt and the grass starts to grow.

This time the arrival of a new season had a strong impact. After  my first winter in the mountains I could really feel the days getting longer, and the warmer temperatures seeping through the valley. Experiencing the incoming Spring is hard to describe in words, and quite pointless at this time actually. However, while it did put a different positive vibe into the daily routines, it meant that Perfect Winter was ending.

I left Tirol on March 15, and headed West towards the beautiful village of Villars, in the Vaudoises Alps in Switzlerland. This town and the surrounding mountains are a picture perfect place – but extremely expensive. The obscene prices around here were simply an insult for someone coming from southern Europe, even after spending a season in Austria where the cost of living can be similar to that of Portugal if you shop smart. However, I was invited by friends to stay over and their company largely compensated for this financial shock. I ended up exploring most of the amazing mountains in Villars, Les Diablerets and Glacier 3000 in just 2 days, with a hint of local knowledge and chilled vibe. Thank you David and André!

The final stage of this journey would really represent the closing of the circle. Most of us usually started skiing or snowboarding  with friends, and still spend their holidays in the mountains in groups, and friends are probably the most important part of every snowtrip. Most of the fun comes from the people you are with, regardless of the snow conditions or how nice the place is. So being reunited with the MG Snowtrip family in France, who I have travelling with for some time now, was indeed returning to the origins of snowboarding: sliding down slopes with your snow buddies. I would be lying if I said that it didn’t take some time to adjust to be snowboarding with other people around me instead of simply roaming free, but in the end it’s just another way to enjoy life in high altitude.

There are hundreds of photos of this amazing gathering of friends and snow enthusiasts here and here, so I’l just post one that shows the good spirit present in this snowtrip.

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The drive back to good old Portugal was nice and easy. I was blessed with amazing waves right when I arrived, and pretty much that sums up the invaluable experience from this Perfect Winter.

However, the ride is never over. There will be more winters to spend and more paths to travel.

Ride on.

 

The ride

While browsing through my stash of pictures, first starting with the Perfect Winter facebook page and then through my own archives, I realized how there seems to be a thread linking apparently unrelated events. It’s amazing how people, music, ocean, waves, mountain, forest, beach are all part of this universal Love ride that is Life. There is so much beauty out there, so many things to be experienced, so many people to meet and know, so much to learn, so much to teach.

This trip has been just so enriching in so many ways, far more than I expected – and all it took was to leave my comfort zone and do it. Solo traveling is never so. In fact, it’s the only way to really travel without being solo, without being bounded by your own expectations. When you travel in a group from the start, you always tend to be closing your circle, and you bound your experience of your trip by the collective perception, that already is there in the first place. But when you travel alone, there is no boundary, you open yourself to everything and everyone around you. Unless you don’t want to, but then again it’s always your choice.

In the end, either traveling or staying, there is only one that you are always with. It’s you. It’s your ride. Make it count.

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