Well everything seems to have been so manic lately that I’ve not had the time to sit down and write a blog. So here I am catching up on the last 8 weeks or so.
The latter half of our time in the Alps was vastly improved by installing a wood burning stove into our van. It’s quite unbelievable what a difference this made compared to the gas heater that was already in and simply just did not cut it in the cold temperatures. I named her Bessie and for the first time in 6 weeks I could sit in the van without a coat on, I could feel my feet and my hair didn’t freeze when I got out of the shower. It’s now like my little cabin in the wilderness.
Ironically just a few weeks after the wood burner went in temperatures rose dramatically. I went off to Garmisch in the Bavarian Alps for the Berghaus Athlete Camp for 4 days at the end of February. When I returned to France I was amazed at the snow loss. Admittedly the warmer temperatures were much more pleasant but at serious detriment to the snow conditions. On the plus side we could sit outside in the sunshine and have bonfires and beers in the trailer park in the evening. The week of my birthday in March brought us colder temperatures again and more snowfall. It felt good to ride fresh powder again but it wasn’t to last as the warm weather quickly reappeared. I was starting to feel like I should be in boardies and flip flops rather that snowboard gear. Our last week in the Alps brought both new snowfall, hot sunshine and wind; something we had not felt much of.
We headed out for a 2 day camp in a disused farm building high in the mountains and managed to get a bit of snowkiting in. We had one last bonfire party the night before we left and then we were off, leaving in glorious weather, back to the UK. It didn’t feel too bad leaving as the weather made it feel like the winter season was coming to an end anyway and people were getting ready to move on. Looking at all the fresh snow now in the Alps now feels worse though! I have however got seriously used to van life and love the freedom it gives you. I was ready for moving on but not quite ready for the reality of coming back home and living in a house again.
House dwelling only lasted a week before I was on a plane to Iceland and onto Greenland the following day, on a Berghaus product testing trip. After arriving in glorious but cold weather, 2 days later the strong winds kicked in and the product really did get tested. Doing the thermal imaging was really interesting as we had sensors placed all over us to find out where we generated heat and where we lost heat. Amazing!
Now I’m back home again for another week manically preparing for the next trip. In just 6 days I am heading out on expedition to Alaska. I still can’t quite believe I am going to snowboard AK and I’m unbelievably super stoked to be going. Our plan is to fly way beyond heliski terrain and head into the Wrangell-St Elias range to set up base camp amongst some virgin peaks that have never been ridden before. Alaska has had record snowfalls this season, 65 ft in Valdez, so all we need is good weather, stable avalanche conditions and it will be epic. Keep your fingers crossed for me!