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:
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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.
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Late in the winter of 2018, a handful of wandering snowboarders decided to establish the first ever igloo village in Greece, on Mt Vasilitsa in the Pindos Mountain range. After 2 weeks of abstract weather shifts, bear and fox visits and lots of burnt snowboard boots, this nomadic group of filthy animals was left with nothing but soaking socks and swollen faces. Oh… and good times.
In mid 2017 Makis Kalaras, a three time Paraolympic competitor and Silver Medalist, endured a severe injury to his bicep tendon, rendering his arm almost completely useless, leaving him with only one fully functional limb. No better time to set his sights on going to the Winter Paraolympics in South Korea in March of 2018. This is the story of his journey through rehabilitation, physiotherapy and qualifying for the games.
Most people know Greece for its amazing beaches, delicious food and smashing plates. What you might not know is that there is an epic winter playground hidden away in its many mountains. This film follows the journey of Themistocles Lambridis through the Greek mountains over two seasons, making new friends, exploring the unknown side of this culture and uncovering some of Greece’s best kept secrets.
Music by Imam Baildi, 1000MODS, Planet of Zeus, the Velvoids, Mary’s Flower Superhead, Afrodyssey Orchestra, Black Hat Bones, The Killer Seas, Wisdom, Themistojesus, Souleance, Wild Kitten, Whereswilder, Chinese Basement, 63 High, Los Tre, Dirty Fuse, Last Drive, Hat Trick
Featuring: Spiros Badios, Vasilis Koutoumatsiotis, George Chalkias, George Ouzounis, Gerasimos Avramidis, Themistocles Lambridis, Dimitris Maniatis, Vasilis Karageorgiou, Mike Styllas, Nikolas Plytas, Vasilis Koutlemanis, Miltos Tzimas, Vasilis Tsipos, Christian Manousaridis, Raymond Prentice, Tasos Takolas, Spiros Bellonias, Mikka Nikkanen, Dimitris Liossis, Antonis David, Daniel Petrov, Dimitris Dimitriadis, George Felekis, Alex Panagakos, Giannis Panagakos, Alexandros Aspromougos, Giorgos Priftis, Kostas Sirios, Jason Siadimas, Rodrigo Valsamis, Stelios Danourdis, Vaggelis Martinos, Babis Tsiros, Dimitris Tsiros, Kapetan Garidas, Eva Patapatiou, Dimitris Pappas, Konstantinos Tzirvelakis, Yiaggos Pappas, Konstantinos Karmas, Marios Karpouzas, Christos Karpouzas, Nick Dimitriaids, Christos Boukoros, Trantafylos Triantafylou, Konstantinos Lyketsos, Giannis Kotileas, Ivan Furkov, Leonidas Spiropoulos, Aristides Vergos, Alex Nikoletopoulos, Apostolos Dianelos, Alexis De Tarade, Antoine Baduel, Anto Brotto, Remy Barreyat, Mike Handford, Jess Oundjian, Giannis Papachristou, Christos Makridis, Giannis Sampson, Teo Galinidis and more…
Directed by: Themistocles Lambridis Colorist: Dimitris Lambridis Sound Design: Joe Hudson Edited by: Themistocles Lambridis, Spiros Badios
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When the lifts finally shut and the mountain traffic came to a not-so-glamorous halt, we dropped in to munch on the leftovers. The psychotropic mountain setting was exactly what I needed to escape my modern day troubles. I couldn’t leave my phone behind of course, but I did put it on airplane mode for a bit.
Half way up the hill we realised we weren’t alone. Christos and some friends had been shaping the kicker. park break…
It was that kind of temperature where you could be in shorts, but then the wind changes and maybe its not a good idea any more. Confusing.
Then off to the top. We decided to make it up before sunset this time, so we hustled up, well actually it was more like me chasing Bill, and reached the nearest peak – Gerontovrahos before sunset for a change.
After a couple warm beers and a long talk about minimalism and moustaches we headed back. We discussed important issues on the ride home. But the silence was good too. It’s part of the whole thing. Reflecting on a big day. I had falafel with extra hot sauce that night. Bill had the steak.
So Winter 2016-17 started with a quick stop up to Mt Dirfis with Bill. In classic fashion we left Athens late because I wasn’t ready, took forever to get there, and didn’t get onto the snow until well after midday. Bill was less than impressed but we decided to come down before it got too dark and just shrug it off…
A month or so later we came back, knowing that the boys from the YAMAS production by the Snowmads were there filming some sunset shots. We got there late again but hustled up and met the boys on the top for some cookies and milk.
A couple of bad jokes later we strapped in and headed down for sunset. I had forgotten my jacket so I was already getting cold, when my phone battery ran out mid drone flight. Marco Freudenreich lent me his phone while the drone was still buzzing around our heads, and I used the remaining 9% of his battery trying to get the signal connection to work, and filming blind. I doubt you’ll see any of those shots in the upcoming film.
Bill and I headed down in the dark and listened to Alan Watts audiobooks all the way home…