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.
With snow all over Greece and strong northerlies bringing in some super low temps, we decided to kick off the season with a little home shred. For Athenians that usually means Parnasso or Kalavrita, but the truth is Athens has a much closer snowy spot. PARNITHA. Home to the former king’s estate, red deer, an archaic casino and a few decent snowflakes a year.
The last minute crew assembled in Athens and we headed up early. Hill Bill, Iason and I (Themi) parked the car just past the refuge and went for our inaugural run, from the top antenna base down to the refuge. It was Christmas eve so the mountain was more full than I’d ever seen it before. Families playing in the snow, lots of hikers and runners. Super cool to see it so busy. We kept walking up to the very top, strapped in and made our way through the thick trees.
After a half hour or so of trying to find our way through the forest, with lots of tight turns and some shallow rocky presents along here and there, we got back to the refuge. No day would be complete without a little jib sesh.
Night fell – hot chocolates and a gentle breeze all the way home…
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…
“To the season that never came – I bid you adieu”
featuring: Spyros Bellonias, Yaggos Pappas, Dimitris Mavrokefalos, Antonis David, Alexandros Aspromougos, George Pikoulas, Dimitris Lipantetzoglou
As we strapped in at the top of the Parnasso lifts, looking down on the barren resort, I couldn’t help but wonder why the season had only just poked its head round the corner this year. We hadn’t brought them a sacrificial virgin, or spent countless hours meditating to the vibration of the mountains. Did we miss a message? The signs were there, but we didn’t listen.
Fuck it. If the gods give you lemons… build a jump.
We buckled in for one last shred and sent it stupidly high, over the dragons that lurked below. Bellonia, George, Andoni, Yiago, Snowjim, Dimo, Sergio and the rest of the crew took turns hitting the beast until we were tired and hurt.
We knew only the healing waters of Thermopylae could reverse the symptoms of excessive stoke. We bravely tuned in to the stench of rotten eggs and let our bodies melt in the hot green waters.
See ya later winter…
Looking back on the two seasons of filming is nostalgic to say the least. Endless hours of riding, talking, building, digging, hiking, laughing, falling and driving around, summed up in a few photos and shots. Hard to do it justice really. Nonetheless my trusty analog camera (Canon AE-1 in this case) captured some of the moments along the way. I love them because they remind me of all the energy that kept us going through the storms and bails, cold nights and long drives.
Tons of love for every single person in these photos!!!