Месечен архив - ноември 2015

SNOW AND WORDS

The minibus swung left around, a full 180, on Vuelta 20-something on the road to Farellones, Chile. Now for sure, I am going to puke, I thought. A 40-something, slightly balding Brazilian dude, who had stashed his backpack in the seat in front of me, motioned to his stomach, swirled his head, and remarked sarcastically in Portuguese that I must be hung-over.

I wanted to shake my head, ‘No,’ because, truthfully, I don’t even drink. But moving my head in any direction was only going to exacerbate the meteorite rise of my just-barely-controlled nausea. I awkwardly pushed the window open to get fresh air, and accidentally forced the glass out of alignment, perhaps permanently.

The biggest storm in five years had dumped an untold, storybook number of centimeters all over the mountains outside Santiago. Instagram exploded with powdery photo of skiers dropping into couloirs all over the Andes. I arrived just as after the storm had abated. I nursed my jetlag and got on an early morning bus to Farellones.

I probably shouldn’t have, but I headed to a boardercross training camp at Nevados de Chillan the following morning, then onto Corralco for the South American Cup. I had deadlines to meet for TetonGravity.com. I had photo shoots to figure out. Thigh-to-waist-deep pow in August, though, cannot not be rescheduled.

All the cliche descriptions of great powder days applied. That floating surfy feeling. Wind lip slashes. Face shots. Straight lining. One-run friends. Brief bathroom breaks only. The reluctant goggle de-fogging. The even more reluctant stop for food. The fumbling technique as the clock nears 3pm. Back to Santiago to write. Up early to pack and catch a six-hour bus ride to Las Trancas.

Fifty percent of my life is spent on a snowboard. The other fifty percent is spent on a computer documenting what I just did (or what others are doing) on a snowboard. Successful days look like this one, minus the nausea. A great day on snow, followed by a great evening at the office.

It is, in many ways, the least conventional, least stable career path one could choose. For example, after I arrive in Las Trancas, I’m officially at training camp at with my team. My coach is running drills on snow from 9am till 4pm. Then we shower, watch footage, eat, and the second half of my day begins–the content creation part. In Chile, a place where Internet is not widely available and the bandwidth is stuck in the 1990s, I write on buses, in coffee shops, in hotel lobbies, on restaurant patios, in the back of pizza bars. I write either until I am done, or until I am making enough mistakes that I can’t justify continuing. Typically I walk home blurry-eyed from writing around 11pm and immediately go to sleep.

I didn’t set out to do this. I set out to compete in boardercross and big mountain contests. To be able to train, improve, and win. I kept my writing career almost completely separate from my snowboarding career. Then about 18 months before setting foot in Chile, I broke my back at a race in Colorado. I didn’t have the means to support myself with athletic endeavors. I couldn’t physically sit at a desk either. So I wrote my way back to financial security with a telecommuting copywriting job. Then, sort of out of the blue, the managing editor at TGR asked me to be their Snowboard Editor At-Large.

As I recovered, the chance for me to return to snowboarding grew. So did my writing opportunities. It was a blessing in disguise. I was insanely grateful I had gone to college, and benefited from skill development outside of snowboarding. But truly I wanted nothing more than to have a standout season.

After almost a week training at Nevados de Chillan, we headed to Corralco in southcentral Chile for the South America Cup. Strangely, despite spending almost a year in the gym, and a full season on snow, I stood on the course and didn’t really care about competing.

On the day of course inspection, I told my coach I didn’t want to race any more. I wanted to be riding big lines in the backcountry instead. I had spent most of the previous winter splitboarding because it strengthened my back and core muscles. Once exploration becomes your go-to path, the structure of a competitive training environment grates on you. I had stepped through the rabbit hole without even realizing it, and now I can’t go back.

 

Да покориш Килиманджаро – желанието на едно 12-годишно дете

It was still dark, and would be for hours, when Lilliana Libecki crawled from her tent. She and her father, Mike Libecki, were five days into their push to summit the highest free-standing mountain in the world, Kilimanjaro. Preparations were made and they started the final leg of their ascent. After hours of hiking, the faint glow from the horizon painted the mountain side and they were greeted by an unforgettable sunrise. As they reached the summit emotions ran high and Mike and Lilliana embraced.

This summit signified more than just a father-daughter adventure. At 12 years old, Lilliana had already been to six of the world’s continents. This summit celebrated the seventh. With a passion for exploration and humanitarian work that was instilled in her by her parents, Lilliana has now visited 16 countries and experienced their landscapes, people and cultures.

“This whole thing was her idea. She planted the seed for this entire trip,” commented Mike Libecki. “Africa was her seventh continent, the last one she had to tick off the list, and she wanted to do Kilimanjaro.”

The summit wasn’t the only objective of the trip, Lilliana wanted to do something to give back. While planning the expedition the Libeckis ended up at the offices of World Wide Trekking (WWT). This adventure based company was also closely tied to Human Outreach Project (HOP), a humanitarian effort that endeavored to help the areas in which Worldwide Trekking would visit. Dean Cardinale, WWT and HOP founder, not only provided the logistics for the climb, but also happens to own an orphanage called the Kilimanjaro Kids Community (KKC) near the base of the mountain.

After learning that the orphanage was in need of power and lights, a plan to install solar systems was added to the itinerary. Dell computers also joined in and sent multiple computers to help the children acquire more technical skills and education.

After the climb, six select Goal Zero and NRG employees met the expedition team as they descended from Kilimanjaro. These two teams joined forces to provide over 1KW of solar power to the 13 beautiful children that call the KKC home and their caretakers. Over three days they brought sustainable power and light to each and every building on the KKC premises, along with a local church and a public school.

“The Kilimanjaro Kid’s Community had very few lights on an unreliable utility system. What it did have was an incredible sense of love, care, and beauty,” said Goal Zero Employee David Rosner. “The family atmosphere within the premises makes anyone feel at home. The stark contrast from dark to light is evident. The children can study into the night, safely navigate to the bathroom in the dark, and know that their property is safe. The music heard from the kitchen to the corral bring smiles to the workers, and the power for their newly donated computers brings the knowledge of the world to this little village in the middle of nowhere.”

When all was said and done, the team left the smiling children behind. Lilliana’s dreams of helping were fulfilled.

“I hope while traveling I can give back to the planet and people in some way to better the quality of life,” said Lilliana.