Ηταν 8 η ώρα το πρωί την Τρίτη 16 Φεβρουαρίου 2021 όταν με ξύπνησε ο Τσάμ να μου δείξει βίντεο απο τη Συγγρού καλλυμένη με χιόνι, και να χιονίζει ακατάπαυστα. Είχε φτάσει η μέρα που περίμενα σχεδόν 10 χρόνια.
Μάζεψα βιαστικά τα πραγματά μου, έστειλα νούμερο 6 και έφυγα να πάω να πάρω τον Τσάμ απτό σπίτι του. Με περίμενε στη μέση του δρόμου με μια φωσφοριζέ πράσινη στολή, τα χέρια ψηλά στον αέρα, σαν να ήξερε τι θα γίνει.
It was 8am when I got the call from Tsam, showing me video of relentless snowfall on Syggrou Ave. the day I had been waiting for for nearly 10 years had arrived. I packed my stuff up in a hurry, sent the government my Number 6 (Sports and Activities) message and headed over to pick Tsam up.
He was waiting for me in the middle of the road, wearing bright green pants and jacket, with his hands in the air, as if he knew what was about to happen.
Φτάνουμε στο πάρκιν του Διόνυσσου και ξεφορτώνουμε σανίδια και φτυάρια βιαστικά, σαν να μας κυνηγάει κάποιος. Ηταν η αίσθηση ότι είχαμε μόνο μια μέρα να το κάνουμε, μή τυχόν και τη σπαταλίσουμε!
We got to the Dionyssos parking lot and unpacked in a rush, like someone was chasing us. We all knew we only had one day to make it happen, and we couldn’t waste it.
Οι νιφάδες έπεφταν σαν χαρτοπετσέτες, και το πάρκο ήταν γεμάτο με κόσμο. Ολοι θέλαν να κάνουν βόλτα στο χιόνι, να δούνε την Αθήνα όπως δε την έχουν ξαναδεί.
Φτάνουν και άλλοι και σιγά σιγά βάζουμε μπρός τα φτυάρια. Ο Μήτσος, ο Γιάννης και ο Άρης όλοι βοηθήσανε να φτιάξουμε ενα κικεράκι, ενα landing και ενα in-run, φάτσα κάρτα μπροστά στον Παρθενώνα. Από τότε που θυμάμαι σκέφτομαι πόσο τρελό θα ήταν να έκανα snowboard μπροστά στον Παρθενώνα. Τώρα ξαφνικά το βλέπω μπροστά μου. Ονειρο.
Συνεχίζουμε το σκάψιμο. μεταφέρουμε χιόνι απο σχεδόν όλο το πλάτωμα κάτω απτο μνημείο του Φιλοπάππου στο σπότ. Μετά από κοντά 2 ώρες σκάψιμο ήταν έτοιμο. Αλλά ο καιρός ήταν κλειστός. Περιμέναμε υπομονετικά μαζί με όλους τους υπόλοιπους που βγήκαν να δούν το χιόνι.
The snowflakes were the size of napkins, and the park was full of people. Everyone wanted to play in the snow and see Athens like they’d never seen it before.
The rest of the crew began to arrive and we all got to work with the shovels. Dimitri, Gianni and Ari all helped to make a little kicker, a landing and an in-run, right in front of the Parthenon. Ever since I can remember I’ve always thought it would incredible to snowboard in front of the Parthenon. Now finally I can see it unravelling before my eyes like a dream. We keep digging and moving snow from all around the open rocky face underneath the Filopappou monument. After nearly two hours of non stop digging and carrying snow we were finally ready. But the weather had completely blocked our view of anything. So we waited patiently, together with all the rest of the passers by, for an opening.
“Ανοίγει” φώναξε κάποιος. Πιάνω το σανίδι. Ετοιμάζουν κάμερες. Κλίκ κλίκ κλίκ οι δέστρες. “Ετοιμος!”. “Πάμε” φωνάζουν. Εφυγα.
Για τις επόμενες 6 ώρες κάναμε ασταμάτητα. Σε όλο τον βράχο. Απτή μία ο Παρθενώνας, απτην άλλη η θάλασσα. Μια υπέρβαση της καθημερινότητας που ζούμε τελευταία. Κάτι που νομίζω όλοι το χρειαζόμασταν.
“It’s opening!” someone shouted. I grab my board. The boys get their cameras ready. Click Click Click I strap into my bindings. I shout “Ready!”. “Let’s go!” they say… Here we go.
For the next 6 hours we completely owned the spot. We shot around the whole area. The Parthenon on one side, the sea on the other. It was a dream come true. A transcendence from our daily lives, this new normal. Something I think we all needed.
Ρησπέκτ σε όλους που ήρθαν και βοήθησαν να γίνει πραγματικότητα:
This year the United Nations’ Theme for International Mountain Day (December 11) is to promote the development and education of younger people in the mountains – www.un.org/en/observances/mountain-day – So we decided to take a group of kids to one of our favourite places in the Greek wilderness, Mt Smolikas, and show them the beauty of this virgin landscape… with a little twist of our own. We hiked through the snowy forest to the Alpine Dragon lake (Drakolimni), testing our strength and focusing on spreading a message of solidarity against the industrial expansion already set in motion in Epirus, and in other regions of the country. It is of the utmost importance that the younger generation develops an understanding and appreciation of our vast and diverse landscape, if they are to inherit anything more than an abandoned wasteland.
thanks to Ξενώνας Munti Smolikas for their help on this trip. And to everyone involved for being champs.
Mount Olympus Splitboarding Camp 2019 was a great introduction to both splitboarding and mountain safety. Over two days we experienced a little bit of everything. From a sprinkle of fresh snow to blue skies and from spring slush to icy climbs. Ideal conditions for getting used to the equipment and gaining an appreciation of the unpredictability of the mountains.
Day 1 was all about getting to know the boards, going through ascent techniques like proper strides and kick turns, using batons and changing our bindings to fit the slope. We also went through a brief avalanche equipment training course just to get a feel for the reality of avalanche danger. *This is not a certified avalanche safety course – If anyone out there wants to get involved in ski mountaineering or splitboarding we strongly recommend attending an official mountain safety course.
We got to Migotzidis Refuge at the top of the KEOAX ski lift area, currently used by the military for training purposes, but is also open to the public for a small fee on select days throughout the year. After a quick snack we headed back down through the Xero-un-lucky Gully down to the base near the cars. On the way we stopped to do a couple of avalanche scenarios with the team, and dig a profile to explain more about snow layers.
Day 2 – The target was to reach the second tallest peak in Greece – Skolio 2,911m. Due to icy conditions and an increase in wind at higher altitudes however, we stopped short of Agios Antonios Refuge and returned down the same route as the day before. Playing it safe on the mountain should always be number one priority, and turning back was an important lesson in mountaineering, not to be underestimated.
The team arrived back at Olympus Lodge Hostel safe and sound and with big smiles on everyones faces. Greece has an incredible potential for ski mountaineering and splitboarding, with an almost endless mountainous terrain, even on the islands, it’s a blank canvas with plenty left to discover.
Thanks to Pitenis Siokas and Gerasimos Avramidis for the valuable lessons on safety and risk management, MicroXtreme for the rental boards and Splitboard.gr for the extra rental boards, Olympus Lodge for keeping us warm and fed, and Odyssey Campers for the extra wheels.
If you’re interested in joining next year’s Splitboard camps let us know by sending us a message. If you’re interested in venturing up into the mountains on your own make sure you have the right gear, and know how to use it. We recommend attending an official avalanche safety course before going out there without a guide. Play safe. Have fun.
Finally, special thanks to everyone who made our first Splitboard Camp one of the best things we’ve done all winter! You guys (and girl) rock!
The first official Igloo Experience in Greece couldn’t have been a better meeting for aspiring eskimos! Igloos, Snowboards, kids, dogs, food by the fire and plenty of snow made this event one to remember. Wether you had lived in n ice cave in Siberia or had never spent a night out in nature these two days of outdoor living in Vasilitsa turned everyone into certified ice architects. Getting to snowboard down one of our four different jump lines was just the icing on the cake. Choosing wether to go over the fireplace or through the ice palace was the only difficult decision you had to make all weekend.
Our Igloo building seminar helped everyone produce some amazing results. From the small two person igloos to the fortress like structures big enough to host a party in, igloos just kept popping up all over the place. We learned how to cut blocks, stack them to create a dome, and finish off the interior to make it nice and smooth. With the help of hot rocks from the fireplace everyone managed to have a good night’s sleep and wake up energised for an epic snowboarding session the next day.
Congratulations to all Snowmen and Snow-women for building one of Greece’s coolest little villages ever! #vasilitsamanicsidevillage
Special thanks to Fuit Art Cafe for sponsoring the event, and to the Fasolia, Zografos and Avramidis families for joining us in the festivities.
If you’re interested in joining next year’s Igloo Experience send us an email or message us on Instagram or Facebook.
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Take a Virtual 360 Degree Tour of the Village in the video below:
The 2019 Freestyle camp was just the right amount of learning and playing. Our students worked on everything from carves to butters and presses, moving up to straight airs and rotations in the park. Coach Spiro tailored the lesson to each student’s ability with visible results by day 3. We saw better flow over the jumps, better body positioning through rotations and greater edge awareness in butters and spins. Thanks to all of our students for participating and for the great feedback!
Special thanks to Kalavrita Ski Center and Hedonism Rides for creating the park, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year!
Thanks to Microxtreme for the test boards and Stone Garden Hostel for the warm meals and comfy beds.
If you’re interested in joining next year’s camps send us an email or message us on instagram or facebook!
Welcome to a super special day at Kalavrita ski resort… After a 2-day dump, the snow conditions were epic, although it was still a little crusty up high, and soupy down too low. We still got our money’s worth playing in the trees… Special thanks to Andoni for the fun hike out. Nice one buddy!
Special appearances by Mel Wax, All School and Tale…
Music by ΟΔΟΣ 55 – ΑΤΤΙΚΗ ΒΙΚΤΩΡΙΑ
All photos by Meletis Vaxevanidis – Check him out on instagram
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One fine January morning we decided to head up to one of Athens’ most iconic peaks – Mt Pendeli. The plan was to drive up as far as we could go, but things got a bit hairy with the jeep so we ended up walking up most of it. The peak was covered in fresh snow and the sky was clear blue, so clear you could see all the way to Karistos on one side, and Elefsina on the other. Pendeli isn’t the highest mountain around Athens, but definitely a sight for sore eyes! Enjoy this video best on your phone, while looking around!
Special Speks to Billy (who broke his kneecap on a rock), Alexis for keeping it old school and Badass Badios for… being badass.
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Το Banked Slalom είναι ίσως ο πιο θρυλικός αγώνας στην ιστορία του snowboarding χωρίς όμως να έχει καθιερωθεί στην Ελλάδα μέχρι στιγμής. Δημιουργήθηκε πριν από 32 χρόνια στο Mt Baker των ΗΠΑ, παρόλο που εκείνη την περίοδο το snowboarding δεν ήταν αποδεκτό από τους υπόλοιπους χιονοδρόμους ως άθλημα, το συγκεκριμένο χιονοδρομικό κέντρο ήταν από τα λίγα το οποίο τούς δεχόταν. Είναι, λοιπόν, ένας αγώνας εναλλακτικός, ένας αγώνας αλληλεγγύης, ένας αγώνας για όλους.
Μπορεί να άργησε 25 χρόνια αλλά το πρώτο Banked Slalom στην Ελλάδα πραγματοποιήθηκε με μεγάλη επιτυχία στο χιονοδρομικό κέντρο της Ζήρειας. Με τη βοήθεια του χιονοδρομικού, και των αδιάκοπων εθελοντών, φτιάξαμε τη πίστα ‘φίδι’ με 18 στροφές, 2 άλματα και ανόμαλα καρουμπαλάκια σε μήκος 400 μέτρων. Ο κάθε διαγωνιζόμενος είχε 2 χρονομετρημένες καταβάσεις και την ευκαιρία να κερδίσει καλύτερο χρόνο, καλύτερη στολή ή καλύτερη τούμπα.
Ευχαριστούμε ολόψυχα τους εθελοντές μας για τη βοήθεια και την παρέα, τον Γεράσιμο, τον Κωστή και την διαχείριση του Χιονοδρομικού κέντρου Ζήρειας, τούς υποστηρικτές και όλους εσάς που δώσατε τον καλύτερο σας εαυτό για να γίνει αυτό το εβέντ πραγματικότητα.
Οι υποστηρικτές μας: Χιονοδρομικό Κέντρο Ζήρειας, CAPSOUL CAPS, MicroXtreme, We Ride Local, Mohxa Clothing, Massive Boards, Basement 22, Fivetwenty Taste Experience, Jackals Tattoo, RISE TV, Plastikourgeio,
Γιώργος Πρίφτης και Γιάννης Γιαννόπουλος
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Athens got hit with two (or three?) heavy weather systems beginning in late December, that left the city in a beautiful white mess. The streets were icy and slippery, people didn’t know wether to call the police or make dirty snowmen, and from above the city looked cleaner than it ever has as the snow covered the rooftops and roads with a white blanket. Meanwhile on the mountains around Athens, an “Arctic” scene kept the news reporters away from more important issues like climate change or political unrest, which was actually a nice change.
So we took to the hills. Different days, different friends, different mountains.
First we hit Parnitha where we had to overcome our first, and most unpredictable obstacle. A police blockade had shut the road up to the mountain, due to icy roads and increased risk of cars getting stuck on the narrow streets. We happily obliged, parking the car just out of site of the police, a little ways up the road, right next to a delicious little bit of swept snow. Spiro and I dug a little line on the side of the road and played around until sundown. Back to the city
A couple days later Spiro and I did a little reconnaissance mission up to Mt Pendeli to see if there was enough snow to ride. It was dismal. There was barely enough to make a tiny snowman. Still, we got the shovels out and made ourselves a fun little hip to play on, overlooking Athens below. Once again, we managed to finally start shooting just before sunset.
A few days later we woke up before dawn, gathered the troops and headed on a little photo mission to capture the city covered in white, a truly rare occasion. We packed the car full of warm clothes, fresh coffee and baked goods, and headed to two of my favourite lookout points – Neos Kosmos and Tourkovounia. I got the drone out and flew around the city, getting some awesome shots of the sunrise poking over Ymmitos and this epic moment where the light shone directly onto the parthenon while the city was still in the shade. Probably the first shot I’ve ever taken of the parthenon that I truly loved.
We headed up to Mt Pendeli after that to meet Spiro and Katerina Soldatou, who were planning a mixed theme photo shoot – Spiro Snowboarding and Katerina doing her Aerial Dancing hanging from a giant tripod. On the way up we found Billy who had arrived earlier and had started skinning up the mountain on his splitboard. The roads were snowy but not very icy down low, so Billy and I got a little tow up the road behind the jeep. We finally encountered some pretty deep snow and couldn’t get the jeep through, when along comes a beast of a car, carrying Katerina, Spiro, shovels and her giant tripod. It was probably the biggest car I’d seen in Greece for a while, a Ford Raptor. Ridiculous machine. Anyway, we dropped the jeep off and jumped in the back of the Raptor for a few hundred more meters. As beastly as it was, we still got stuck and ended up spending the majority of the day digging cars out (there were more)… until we finally got it unstuck and into a “parking spot”. Katerina and her buddies Giorgo and Kosta set up the tripod while Alexi, Billy, Spiro and I headed to the top to get some riding done. The snow was really deep now, like waist high, and as fluffy as despicable me. A good sign if you know there’s another meter of snow underneath. We were just floating on sharp rocks.
We finally made it to the top, where Badio strapped in and headed off down to help the others with the tripod. We scoped out a couple of spots and found out what it was like for the ancient Greeks to snowboard up here… fantastic.
We topped off the day with a little ride on the road back down to the cars, and then home for hot chocolates and more weird dreams about Australian motocross riders and polar bears in ice caves. don’t ask.