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:
Μια εβδομάδα πρίν την δεύτερη καραντίνα αποφασίσαμε να πάμε μια βόλτα στο Πήλιο, να δούμε τα φύλλα να αλλάζουν χρώμα και να ντύνουν τους δρόμους και τα καλντερίμμια με πορτοκαλί και κόκκινο. Φτάσαμε αργά το βράδυ στο Μούρεσι και αμέσως βάλαμε ξύλα στο τζάκι και φτιάξαμε ενα τσαγάκι να ζεσταθούμε. Την επόμενη μέρα ξυπνήσαμε με ήλιο και φανταστική μέρα. Φτιάξαμε τα πραγματά μας, πήραμε νερό, μπολάκι για τον Ίκαρο και την κάμερα και ξεκινήσαμε πρός Νταμούχαρι.
Σε τρείς μέρες κάναμε τρείς φανταστικές βόλτες στην ευρύτερη περιοχή του Μουρεσίου. Κατεβήκαμε στον Άγιο Ιωάννη, στην Νταμούχαρι, Τσαγκαράδα και Φακίστρα. Είδαμε καταρράκτες, πλούσιο δάσος, φοβερές παραλίες και πανέμορφα πετρώματα. Το καλύτερο όμως ήταν το δίκτυο μονοπατιών που υπάρχει μέσα απτό δάσος… τα καλντερίμια. Είναι ενα πολύ ιδιαίτερο στοιχείο, κάτι που δεν εχω δεί πουθενά αλλού στην Ελλάδα.
Ευτυχώς όλα τα μονοπάτια τα βρήκαμε πολύ εύκολα μέσω του WikiLoc όπου μας οδήγησε με GPS καθόλη τη διάρκεια των περιπάτων στα στενά καλντερίμια και μονοπάτια της περιοχής.
MT OLYMPUS – TO THE TOP
October 17th, 2020. Summer is slowly coming to an end. Winter is creeping in. It’s the last few weekends before the cold really hits us. No better time to climb the tallest peak in Greece.
We began from the Gortsia Parking area on the East side of the mountain, and made our way up to the Muses Plateau. On average it took about 6.5 hours, including a half hour stop at Petrostrouga Refuge to catch out breath and have a cup of tea.
The weather was incredible. Temperatures were in the mid 10s most of the day, so the hike was easy. We were informed that beds at the refuges had been restricted before even arriving, so we came prepared to sleep under the stars. Or in tents anyway.
After setting up basecamp right in the middle of the two refuges, we headed up to Apostolidis Refuge to grab a bight to eat and talk about the next day’s ascent to the peak with our lead guide Sakis Pitenis (Trekking Hellas Mt Olympus). The place was rammed with fellow hikers, climbers, adventurers and first time visitors. But once a plate of hot food got placed in front of my mouth the whole world disappeared and it was by far the best meal I’ve ever had.
We finished up and headed back to our tents for a chilly night’s sleep. 6am start the next day. Better get some rest. I tried. My sleeping bag was a little less than ideal. My toes felt like they were about to fall off. Couldn’t get much sleep but as soon as the alarm went off I happily got up to move around and warm up somehow.
Off to the beginning of the Louki of Mytikas. The long, narrow and steep corridor leading up to the peak of the mountain, at 2918m. I had only heard of this section of the ascent. And I’m no experienced climber. But somehow I didn’t get too scared. Maybe it was the lack of sleep. The sun began to shine on the rocky surface leading up to the top, and I couldn’t wait to touch them with my bare hands to warm up my fingers and toes.
Sakis and Tasos from Trekking Hellas led the way for our group. Some friends went up with Nikos, Babis and Stergios from WildTrek Greece. And just like doing a tour of a busy museum, we crossed paths on the way up and down, briefly, but long enough to exchange smiles and take a couple photos.
The peak was lit perfectly by the morning sun, so it was a welcome break from the chilly ascent. It felt good to be up there, a really nice reward after a tough hike up carrying tents and sleeping bags the previous day, and a bad night’s sleep. None of that mattered though. I tried to take in the view along the crystal clear horizon, the sea on one side and the open plains to the West. And that morning light. I know I mentioned that already. But damn it just made everything look so damn good. A great moment. A few more minutes to take photos and hug your buddies, before heading back down the rocky chute.
The descent seemed like an impossible task. It was super steep and we already knew how careful you had to be going up. And there were more groups making their way up at the same time. Like trying to run down a two way escalator in the Tokyo Metro. But once we got going it wasn’t actually that bad. You pick up a rhythm and before you know it each new step was easier than the one before. Piece of cake. Even for Andreas who was scared of heights. He got to the top and back down without even breaking a sweat.
We got back to Apostolidis Refuge for some breakfast and coffee with the rest of the group who decided not to come to the top with us. We could see they were still tired, some hadn’t slept well at all. Others still tired from the previous day’s hike. But we busted in with radiating smiles and tons of energy. It was contagious.
Time to leave. We made our way back to camp. Took our last few photos in the warm sun. Packed our tents and strapped up our bags, and headed down for another 6 hour hike. It was hard on the knees. And the last few kilometers felt like torture. But that moment you see your car parked at the bottom of the road is golden. We got this second wave of energy as we dropped our bags into our cars and said our goodbyes before heading back home. 2 days went by pretty fast. It felt like more, but I was also happy to head back to Athens, with a quick pit stop at the Thermopylae hot springs of course.
Thanks to everyone who came! And congratulations to each and every one of you for outdoing yourselves! Hopefully it’s not the last time we see each other on the mountain of the gods.
This year’s IKARIA Surf & Yoga camp was an absolute blast! I still can’t believe we crammed so much into such a small amount of time. The fact that we only had three days of waves gave us the motivation we needed to explore the island and take advantage of everything it has to offer. We surfed, we stretched, we learned new balancing techniques, we climbed rocks, paddled across bays, jumped and flipped off anything we could find, played beach games, went to beautiful villages, ate amazing food, enjoyed the hot springs, and slept like babies.
I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better camp, with such amazing people! Sara, Sandra, Freya, Eleni, Alexandros, Konstantinos, Christoforos and Ladiko thank you all for joining us, for being present and going with flow… Stay safe, and we hope to see you all again soon!
TTAG BANKED SLALOM X BIG AIR 2020
Special thanks to Ilias Kostaras and Ilias Mertis for the incredible photos of the event, Mike Vassileiou for keeping the music cranking, and Athanasios Perrakis (aka Tiny Jackal) for sharing the MC slot with our very own Andreas Mitsioulis (aka MC Zeth)!
BANKED SLALOM OFFICIAL AFTERMOVIE
BIG AIR OFFICIAL AFTERMOVIE
Photos By: Ilias Kostaras & Ilias Mertis
Join us on an Epic Adventure to the mountain of the Gods!
The Trip includes:
- 2 nights accommodation in the KEOAX Refuge
- 2 days of guided splitboarding / touring on Mt Olympus by Trekking Hellas Mt Olympus
- Avalanche and Mountain Safety Seminar by Akis Parousis
- Lift Passes to use the KEOAX lifts
- Avalanche Gear Rental (Beacon, Probe, Shovel)
- Photos and Video
Does NOT Include:
- Equipment Rental (Splitboard, Skins, Batons) – If you need to rent equipment we recommend our partners MicroXtreme and Splitboard.gr.
- Food and Drinks (Food at KEOAX usually includes Soup and traditional plates, about 30% cheaper than a Taverna).
Friday 21/2 … 20:00 – Arrival at KEOAX Military Base // Briefing and Equipment Check.
Saturday 22/2 … 7:30 – Breakfast, Morning meeting
9:00 – Avalanche Seminar: Snow Profile, Beacon use, Search and Rescue Techniques.
12:30 – Backcountry Ascent: Equipment check, Ascent techniques, Backcountry Descent.
Sunday 23/2 … 7:30 – Breakfast, Morning meeting
9:00 – Ascent to Agios Antonios Peak (2817m) and descent to the Ski area base (1900m). If time permits we will also explore the unmarked area around the KEOAX Lift area for some more backcountry riding.
18:00 – Departure
WE RECOMMEND YOU BRING:
- Water bottle
- Backpack with carrying straps
- Two sets of gloves
- Extra socks
- Breathable Thermal Layers
- Sun Glasses / Goggles
- Light Sleeping Bag
To Register for the Mt Olympus Splitboard Camp 2020 please email us at:
Registrations accepted until February 10th.
Minimum Participation 8px
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.
So I went down to Ikaria for the first time this September (2019)… yeah yeah I know, what took me so long? Well I’ll be honest – Up until now surfing has just been a series of small drownings followed by quick smacks to the face and shredded toes (loosely paraphrased from Alexis De Tarade’s description of surfing)… However the conditions in Ikaria this summer were just right, it seems, to build up a little confidence and actually catch enough waves to say I really went surfing. Finally!
Anyway when I wasn’t getting thrashed around on one of Ikaria Surf School’s soft boards I managed to snap a few clicks of some of the local boys ripping the spot. We were lucky to get such a variety of waves during the 10 days we were there. Huge Kudos to the surf school crew for running a tight ship, and of course the crew up at Messakti Beach bar for making the tastiest fruit salads!!!
Here’s to next time!
The 2019 Ikaria Surf & Acroyoga camp will go down in history considering everything we did in 6 days! Surfing, yoga, dancing, falling, partying, laughing, healing and loving! We couldn’t fit them all into a single video so here’s a snapshot of why Ikaria was our favourite destination this summer ???♂️???♀️?
Huge thanks to Ikaria Surf School / Greece for their love and support, and everyone who made this such a fun experience!
It was only at the last minute that we spotted the wild horses by the side of the road. Enough to make an epic ride down the newly paved hairpins of Mount Olympus even more awesome…
While Freeboarding has been around for a while now, it’s never really grabbed mainstream attention, for a variety of reasons depending on who you talk to. The purists say it’s too much like snowboarding and not similar enough to downhill skating, where higher speeds and full body participation play a major role in defining the sport. Others say it’s just a style thing. Whatever your cup of tea might look like, I can only tell you what it felt like while I filmed Lazaro sliding down the powder pavement, around the corners and precariously close to the edge of the turns. Hanging out the side of the car, one hand was on the roof rack while the other one holding the camera had gone completely numb from the cold. Still, watching Lazaro switch between regular and goofy, adjusting his speed coming into the hairpins, the whole while keeping his balance perfectly aligned with the akward looking wheel setup was fascinating. Admittedly I had never filmed it before, and probably only seen a freeboard up close a couple of times, so there was a uniqueness factor to the whole thing, but throw the scenery and the horses into the mix and my heart was melting by the time my fingers regained feeling later on in the refuge.
If you freeboard in Greece or want to get started talk to the boys from NGR (North Greece Riders) for info on spots, boards and maybe a few tips.
This video was filmed on the West side of Mount Olympus by the KEOAX military ski facility.
Special thanks to Lazaros Kotakidis for shredding and Giannis Giannopoulos for the nifty driving skills.