Sunday, 30 December 2012

Reaching My Limit – Patagonian Ski Adventure Episode 2 – Skiing The Whillans Ramp

My highlight of the past ski year was definitely making turns down the Whillans ramp on Aguja Poincenot in Argentinian Patagonia. Before that trip I used to think that I could ski anything that is white on a mountain. When I got to the ramp I got partly amazed, partly intimidated on how the snow was sticking to these ultra steep slopes that I almost felt uncomfortable climbing up. I mean, 60 degrees ice climbing is a peace of cake, but when it’s on powder snow with rock slabs underneath, then it’s getting interesting. So while climbing up this snow ramp on the other side of the world I realized that: this is it – this is the perfect line to ski where all my knowledge from a life in the mountains comes together. This is the steepest and most exposed line I had the chance to ski, and I’m happy leaving it at that and grateful finding something like this in a lifetime. Now it's time to extend my experience in other directions.

A great big thanks to my friend, filmmaker Bjarne Salén at Endlessflow for another well done episode. More interesting stuff will be coming soon! 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Reaching My Limit - Patagonian Ski Adventure Episode 1

Here it is, the first episode from our Patagonia adventure this autumn! Fresh Argentinian powder, narrow couloirs and lessons learned in the mountains. Great company, filming and editing by Bjarne Salén at Endlessflow

The second and last episode will be released the 24th of December. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Peaking Excitement - The First Real Powder Day Of the Season

At the start of a new cycle the excitement is always peaking – That’s why the first powder days every season are so special. The coordination is not there, the muscles are non-existent and I hardly remember how to pack my bag, but every turn makes me feel like I did the very first time I ever got to ski powder snow more than 20 years ago.

Today was that beginning of a new season cycle and my very first real lift access powder day since last winter. I got to spend it in a relaxed and laid-back manner together with Liz and Miles Smart skiing untracked knee deep magic in the Chamonix mountains!

Liz Smart put together this little edit right away and the same day, check it out! 

Miles opens up some low angle powder fun

Miles on our first run of the day

Liz enjoying

Not a track on Valle Blanche at this time of the year

Liz Smart

Myself on the last run of the day (Photo: Miles Smart) 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Fragments From A Month On The Move

Stockholm, 5/11
Dancing the Gangnam style dance together with the product developers and designers at the yearly Haglöfs sales meeting. Great people, well awaited Swedish food and a little toe suffering from getting a hit by a dancer’s ski boot.
 Haglöfs Sales meet 2012

Rehearsal before the show

Chamonix, 6-11/11
Metal scratching rock, moisture and screaming forearms dry tooling down the valley. Cold fingers and a crushed toe complaining anticipating every hit ice climbing on the steep but short walls on Mer de Glace – All of this, foreseeing the demands of meeting winter on ice falls in the north of Sweden.

Fernando dry tooling in Le Fayet

Ice clogging at Mer de Glaces, Chamonix

Mer de Glace

Annecy, 12-13/11
Coffee breaks, waiting time and long days at the Salomon headquarter in Annecy. Mild waves of frustration sometimes comes in waves from my Swedish mind on these kind of meetings – but then I remind myself, I’m working with artists, and the art of trying to come up with, and develop new inventions is not something that can be stressed in a industrial manner. Things have to take their time, and then once in a while, from all the chaos of brainstorms and test, something ingenious comes out, rises up and gets transformed to something that can be used to realize dreams in the mountains.

A work of an artist

Tignes, 14-15/11
Feeling, sensing and trying to understand plastic and metal put together in different manners to create direction change on snow. I have the chance to share the experience with some of the best backcountry skiers on the planet. Chris Rubens, Mike Douglas, Tony Lamiche and Greg Hill together with Salomon’s sharpest developers are skiing hard pistes to great powder and walking up hills in the search for what we believe is ski perfection.

Mike Douglas enjoying some Tignes november pow

Manchester, 16/11
Flashbacks from my childhood’s ice hockey years is taking hold of me in the lift. I’m in the Chillfactor indoor ski dome in Manchester, England. It’s cold and the building has the same smell (and probably the same cooling system) as an ice hockey hall. Mike Douglas and myself are skiing with the representatives from the Salomon store in the same building. After two runs I get a warning because I skied the tiny, flat, but oh so fun bump course without a helmet (there was no (clear?) signs). Mike was taking a photo of me and then skied the course. As he was with me I guess the “ski patrol” thought he should have known. Mike got asked to leave on his third run. They had just kicked out one of the greatest skiers that had ever sat his foot in this 50 meter (or something like that) slope. Everybody there laughed at the absurdity of it all. I went and got a rental helmet and took a few more runs. This was the definitely the most unreal ski experience this autumn.

Indoor skiing kicks ass

Kendal, 17-18/11
Some of the most passionate skiers in the world must come from the U.K and about 300 of them came to see the presentation of ‘Tempting Fear’ that I did together with Mike Douglas and Bjarne Salén at the Kendal Mountain Festival. We got a great welcoming and it was really nice to see a big part of the British outdoor scene together with some good films. With tears in my eyes, The Freedom Chair with fellow Salomon team member Josh Dueck (and also produced by Mike Douglas), definitely left the biggest impact on me.

Bjarne Salén, Mike Douglas, Heather Swift and Josh Dueck enjoying great English (Indian) food. 

Mike and Josh presenting 'The Freedom Chair'

Abisko, 19-27/11
Early mornings, cold, ice, early nights, pumped forearms, lack of light, magic light, friends and walkabouts in the darkness could sum up my eight days in the north doing my fourth SBO mountain guide course. The main topics were ice climbing and navigation and we climbed some amazing ice, did plenty of night navigation (in the afternoon) and in the end had yet another successful course on the relatively long road of becoming a mountain guide.

Morgan Salén warming up on The Big Blue

Magnus Eriksson at Lillpakte

SBO 2012 course in the dark

Mighty Kaisepakte, great ice already in November

Sami Modenius belaying Pierre Rizzardo and Oscar Wahlund

The magic light of the north! The sun does not rise at this time of the year

Rappelling down in the dark (at 2.30 pm)

Night navigation

French guide and instructor Pierre Rizzardo following on the nicest lead i got to do this week. 

Magnus Eriksson taking over the lead 

Rescue training at Kurvan

Luleå, 27/11
Lying down in my childhood living room, tired, watching the evening news with a cup of tea in my hand together with my mum – that made me travel back half my life to my high school years, when I was aspiring to live a life I’m now living.

Reindeers on the road between Kiruna and Luleå in the North of Sweden

Moscow, 28-29/11
Civilized wilderness defined. Two days in the Russian capital left a deep imprint in me. Beautiful architecture, roughness meeting beauty in the people, wonderful new friends, tons of snow on the streets and way of honesty and simplicity among the people I met, that I have only seen before in Finland. The food felt like what I ate with my family when I was a kid, and the Russian mountains have now discovered through my new friends have made me dream about future adventures. I were for the second time this month presenting ‘Tempting Fear’ as well as doing a short slideshow on a photo exhibition arranged by Russia’s leading mountain magazine VerticalMir

The Red Square in Moscow

Artem at Vertical Mir outside the Photo Exhibition 

Stockholm, 30/11 - 2/12
Returning to my homeland capital I felt like I was on the countryside – the contrast was huge from the Russian ditto. I met up with friend and American alpinist Steve House for a bouldering session, and then went to his lecture at GIH. Our story has many similarities, and it was really touching hearing him put his words on the feelings and experiences of life we have both lived. He did a great job spellbinding the audience for two and a half hours.

Next day it was time for the Swedish mountain guide’s meeting; discussing the rules of our games in the mountains.

Steve House and Staffan Björklund on our afternoon bouldering session

Steve House getting presented at GIH, Stockholm. 

What do you have left? 

Beautiful Stockholm

SBO yearly guides meeting

Chamonix, 3/12
After a month of travelling and my first sleep-in for a very long time, I really appreciate the calm of our apartment at the end of the road somewhere in the Chamonix valley. Only the vibrations of the coffee warming up on the stove can be heard and outside the window the snowflakes are slowly falling with the grey clouds in the backdrop. Even nature is now whispering what social media been screaming for months: winter is here! 

A snowy and calm Chamonix