Mt Bogong

Bogong

After a fun winter in New Zealand, I arrived home on a Thursday night in Melbourne, ready to put my head down work and prepare for the northern winter. I was looking forward to a mellow weekend of getting my clothes unpacked, my room organised and filling out my tax return. Yep, I’m pretty boring sometimes- well that is until friends post open invitations for a weekend skiing in the high country, that’s when boring weekends morph into adventures.

All packed

Packed an ready to go to Bogong

At the time I hadn’t skied in Australia since July 2012, which doesn’t sound too bad but considering that I skied here consistently from the age of two to twenty four, I had some catching up to do.

Our motley, yet awesome crew, comprised of a few Mt Bogong diehards, Alex Lockie and Watkin Mclennan, as well as some new blood, including myself, Nick Parkinson and Claire Bradbury, departed from Melbourne at the late start of 8pm. It was around a four hour drive out of Melbourne north to the the trailhead and despite our Pepsi Max fuelled, late night driving, we didn’t arrive until around 1pm.

This was the part that I had been dreading the most, a one to two hour uphill hike in the dark with a heavy pack, skis, boots and all the trimmings for two nights in the great outdoors (including quite the gourmet spread and wine to match).

Funnily enough, the hike was one of the coolest parts of the weekend. Despite my bright headlamp, the stars shone bright above the top of the mountain ash trees. It was quiet except for our footsteps and despite one or two daydreams about the Blair Witch Project, the whole experience was quite mediative. Snow gums and clumps of snow began to appear, along with the flat dry grass that is synonymous to the Victorian high country- we were close. The weatherboard hut sparkled ahead in the beams of our head torches, it would be an understatement to say that I was excited for bed. After making a decent ruckus (and waking up most of the other campers, major camp faux-pas), we settled down for bed, three in tents and two in Michell Hut.

Michell Hut

Packing up for a day on the hill at Michell Hut

Locked, loaded and ready to hike to the snowline

View from the hut

The next morning started slowly as we were expecting that it would take some time for the snow to soften. Despite a killer winter in Australia, the warm spring had melted a lot of the accumulated snow, which meant we had to carry our skis and boots for about thirty minutes before ski touring.

After breakfast and a few coffees, we slowly started up the track to the snow line and after an hour we had made it to the peak, before lunch no less. We spent the afternoon taking a few laps, following Alex and Watkin to their favourite spots and dining by the river at lunch time.

Claire and Watkin walking up the ridge

Alex and Watkin talking mountain smack

An epic campsite

Scoring some epic corn

Alex cutting firewood

Alex cutting firewood before a cheese and wine sunset viewing.

We followed a sweet day of spring skiing, with a delicious dinner, brought home by the divine chicken curry made by backcountry chef Watkin- no dehydrated food on his watch (woohoo).

Sunday passed quickly, after a sleep in and a make shift quesadilla breakfast in the fire place, we were packed and hiking down.

While walking up in the dark was one of the highlights of the trip, walking down was the opposite. I have always been of the belief that if it is down, I would prefer to ski it. Unfortunately, the snow line is not that low, so if I want to keep on skiing in Australia, I’m going to have to learn to pack it in and invest in some new hiking boots.

Thanks for such a sweet weekend guys!

Here is some clips from skiing on Bogong care of my iON Air Pro 3:

A day at Bogong from Natalie Segal on Vimeo.

NG Weekend Radio

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I was both nervous and excited to be interviewed on the National Geographic Weekend Radio Show that aired yesterday. Our whole team are so bursting at the seams to share the amazing adventure that our expedition Shifting Ice and Changing Tides was. Keep your eyes peeled, there is more to come!

In the meantime, have a listen to the interview with KT Miller and myself:

NG Weekend Radio

Full Story

 

Ridgelines

Shredding the backside of Gottleib's

Shredding the backside of Gottleib’s
Photo: Neil Kerr, NZ Skier

Despite some tough days waiting for the snow this winter, there was some golden moments; light creamy pow, bluebird skies and untouched stashes of wind-buffed pow.

Many of the best days skiing I have had this winter were spent out the back of Treble Cone on my ski touring set-up, exploring ridge lines with friends. Those days inspired this little edit that I filmed on my iON Air Pro 3.

Shades of Winter: Pure

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of filming with Shades of Winter in Japan. It was an awesome opportunity to not only work with a rad bunch of ladies and the Shades of Winter crew, (which included filmers Mario Feil and Mathias Bergmann, photog Aaron Jamieson and guide J-S Hereux) but also a chance to be apart of something bigger.

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As a kid we used to watch ski movies in the mornings before we went out to race or mogul training. My favourite for a long time was ‘Not another ski movie’, which was quickly replaced by ‘Claim’ when it came out. My favourites weren’t based on the best tricks or locations, it was usually for the ethos of the movie as a whole. I loved that ‘Claim’ made fun of the serious side of skiing, while still inspiring viewers to get outside and challenge themselves.

With an aim to capture the ‘Pure’ moments that we all experience while skiing, I hope that segments of this film will get skiers, especially girls stoked on skiing and the endless possibilities that it can offer you.

The full feature will premier at IF3 Montreal on September 20th and then later in October in Europe. For more info check out this link.

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July in New Zealand

The start of the winter has been a bit of a roller coaster ride over here in NZ. The anticipation that preceded my departure, followed by some interesting ski conditions and liquid snow that followed my arrival would have anyone momentarily switching between being stoked and snow depression.

I spent my first few weeks coaching the Treble Cone Freeride Program during the school holidays. We learnt a lot of things, such as ice can be your friend, tussocks are fun, pole plants are necessary and any snow is good snow.

When you’re faced with a late season, optimism is your only friend. While we were waiting for some freshies to hail down on us, I busied myself with some other activities:

Muddy bike rides between Albert Town and Wanaka

Muddy bike rides between Albert Town and Wanaka

Ski touring with Lyndon Sheehan

Training hikes up Triple Treat with Lyndon Sheehan

There is nothing like stirring a hot tub with an oar.

There is nothing like stirring a hot tub with an oar.

Sierra and her selfie stick

Sierra and her selfie stick… she made a pretty sweet edit- check it out

Scrambling around Gottleibs with the crew.

Scrambling around Gottliebs with the crew.

Then finally the snow started coming. It started small with fun top ups, building up the layers- until Monday came and we got to some serious pow:

Since then, I’ve been mincing around the slack country, getting some sweet views, good pow and a whole lot of serenity.

There is more pow on the way and there will be a whole lot more of this going on. Thanks friendos for the fun times!

Touring with MissionWOW

Touring with MissionWOW

Beacon search training with MissionWOW

Beacon search training with MissionWOW

Hanging out with Jo from MissionWOW and Kat from Small Planet

Hanging out with Jo from MissionWOW and Kat from Small Planet

I spent the day shooting with Flashworks Media and Amber Schuecker at TC on Monday

I spent the day shooting with Flashworks Media and Amber Schuecker at TC on Monday

Black Peak

Checking out Black Peak from Wedding Cake ridge

The Saddle

The Saddle looking primo

Buddies

Friends in the backcountry are necessary- thanks Ryan, Sam, Sarah and Marion

Taylor Rapley being rad on Gottlieb’s Ridge

 

IF YOU COULD TRAVEL TO SKI ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

Post originally written for Treble Cone Resort.
Anna Smoothy at St Moritz

Wanaka local, Anna Smoothy taking in the sights while down trou with me at St Moritz after a FWQ stop. We skied pow all the way down. Photo: Claire McGregor.

If you could travel to ski anywhere, where would you go? This is a question that I have heard thrown around a lot. Perhaps it’s because the excitement of travelling to a new ski destination can almost surpass the act itself; the feeling of moving through bottomless powder or the unreal views that are afforded to you by the mountains.

There are a lucky few who call ski towns their home, however, for many of us- myself included, ‘the snow’ is something that we have to travel to from far away. While this may be frustrating at times, the journey and adventure that accompanies a ski trip, only enhances the enjoyment that you take away from riding the white stuff.

Ski Touring between Italy & France

Ski touring between Italy and France, January 2014

In the past, when I have been asked, “if you could travel to ski anywhere, where would you go?”, I have found myself momentarily stumped. There are so many options, so many places to go, cultures to see and different types of snow to be shredded. Sometimes the concept of an adventure can be so big and littered with so many possibilities that it is hard to digest and follow through on it- you fall into choice paralysis.

It was this feeling of enormity that descended upon me the first time we, the Shifting Ice team, began brainstorming a ski and sail expedition to Greenland and Iceland over Skype. There we were, five female skiers, chattering excitedly over the internet about far off places, many of which we knew nothing about- except that they looked cool from a plane window. If my future self could go back in time and explain to myself, sitting there in December 2012, the wonders that I would discover, I would have never believed it.

Shifting Ice and Changing Tides was an expedition that we dreamed up in response to the Polartec Challenge Grant- an international award program that encourages the spirit and practice of outdoor adventure. We were an eager team of women, with backgrounds and experience in competitive big mountain skiing, mountain guiding and backcountry skiing. We saw the grant as an opportunity to make a dream come true- skiing in a new place where no one had ever skied before, where the snow capped peaks were unexplored and the mountains were isolated from human civilisation.

Training on Teton Pass

Training for Greenland on Teton pass

Our team was rewarded a Polartec Challenge Grant at the beginning of 2013 and what followed was over a year of organising, Skype meetings, sponsor pitches and a fair bit of anxiety from all directions. During the application process we had decided that we wanted to sail from Iceland to Greenland as one of our expedition goals was to eliminate the use of machine-powered travel as much as possible. At this time all I could think of is: where are we going to find a boat? Who is going to sail it? And most importantly, won’t I die of seasickness? This, like many issues, which arose during the preparatory stages were slowly but surely dealt with, as were the question of funds.

By the time the middle of March 2014 rolled around (less than two weeks before our departure date), we had made our Indiegogo fundraiser goal, secured the support of several incredible organisations including; the National Geographic Young Explorer program, The Climate Reality Project, Adventurers and Scientist for Conservation and a broad range of sponsors who were pivotal in the success of our expedition.

Shifting Ice Team

Shifting Ice team (from left): KT Miller, Martha Hunt, Nat Segal, Mckenna Peterson, Pip Hunt and Meghan Kelly. Photo: KT Miller

By this time our dream had morphed into a succinct concept. We were an all female team, travelling to Iceland, to sail across the Denmark Strait on 63ft schooner with the goal to ski first descents along the south-west coast of Greenland. During our trip we were hoping to observe and interview locals about the changing climate in Greenland and take snow and ice samples for scientists at the University of Venice (a collaboration which was set up by Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation). We were packed, organised and about to set off for a place that none of us could even attempt to visualise. In many ways, where we were going was a blank canvas for skiing and ski mountaineering- all we had were stories of people scouting the mountains in southern Greenland by plane and a belief that most of the southern coast would be inaccessible due to ice flow.

What was even scarier than the thought of getting on a boat and sailing from Ísafjörður, Iceland to Nuuk, Greenland was the realisation that the minute we left land and waved Iceland goodbye we would be all alone, a small dot rising and falling on the horizon between huge waves. This was travelling for skiing turned wild. Anything could happen. And that it did.

Iceland with the Aurora Arktika

Iceland with the Aurora Arktika before departing for Greenland. Myself and Camilla Edwards before dropping in. Photo: Haukur Sigursson, Aurora Arktika

One of the most important things that this expedition as a whole taught me, was that the sky is the limit. I went skiing to a place, which beforehand my mind couldn’t even fathom- it took five of us to bring it into being. I have walked away with the belief that the unimaginable is possible. While it will take a lot of time, organisation and painstaking hours of worry, it is possible.

Taking a step backwards, I’ve had an answer to the question posed at the beginning for a long time. The one place that I have been intrigued by since I began to explore the slopes outside of groomed terrain has been New Zealand. Ironic isn’t it, that smaller, incredible island that is only a three hour leap over the ditch from where I grew up. This region has undergone a lot more exploration and is far less isolated than parts of Greenland but in my mind, the region is still wild and wild places always warrant some kind of adventure.

I’m looking forward to the winter ahead in New Zealand. Already I am conjuring up plans in my mind, locations to explore and backcountry runs out the back of the resort to venture to. That’s the cool thing about snow. Every year when it falls it creates an entirely new, original, blank canvas just asking to be skied.

The Southern Alps

The Southern Alps in all their glory

To learn more about Shifting Ice and Changing Tides expedition to Greenland- check out our website or FB page.

The Training Diary: Kaya Health Club

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Usually when I think of the word ‘training’ I picture something that looks like a cross-fit gym, filled with weights, mats and structures of pain, including my worst enemy- the pull up bar. Despite this, I enjoy the idea of training, it keeps my body safe from injuries when I ski and means that I can ride hard with more confidence. I’m a bit of a nerd in that way.

I guess this has something to do with the fact that when it comes to off-snow training, that’s the kind of place I have spent hours toiling in; jumping, sprinting and lifting weights. It can be a boring existence but the results on skis that I have seen from working with programs such as Mountain Athlete makes it worth the blood, sweat and tears.

It was exactly this kind of attitude that I brought back with me to Melbourne in May this year, I couldn’t wait to get into the gym and make up for some of the time I had lost while rehabbing my knee last year. In my mind it was the autumn of strength. I had my program ready and after a week or two of letting my body rest, I got stuck into my weights training.

Of course disaster struck. Despite easing into my program, I hadn’t worked-out properly for several months. I had been travelling as a ski-nomad since January and all my body knew how to do was ski and climb mountains. There were also some lingering confusion in my body following my knee surgery. My hamstring wasn’t pulling its weight and my back hated anything that involved a barbell.

I wanted to have a tantrum- after being careful and patient for a year, I still couldn’t train hard like I used to. It took me a few hours but finally I stopped feeling sorry for myself and had a serious talk with my ego. I decided to turn my problem into a good experience and go back to the basics.

The easiest exercises are always the hardest to master- hamstring co-contractions.

The easiest exercises are always the hardest to master- hamstring co-contractions.

Luckily, I had decided to train at Kaya Health Clubs for my two month stint in Melbourne, so turning my training around was a lot easier than it would have been at your average gym. One of Kaya’s main aims is to create a relaxing and welcoming environment where the menu includes more than just a weight room, cardio and some evening pump classes. Primarily, Kaya is a club that focuses on reformer pilates and yoga but that doesn’t mean it skimps on the other things that your normal training ground would offer.

Kaya Health Clubs

So after two weeks of trying to make it through my dry-land training program, I left it at home and started a reformer pilates binge.

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I’ve found that when I first mention pilates to people, their response usually is, “but isn’t that really boring?” To be honest, the first few times I was on reformer I was more confused than bored. I was being told to do so many things at once that it was hard to concentrate; find your neutral spine, relax your neck, squeeze your bum and lift your leg.

Kaya Health Clubs

Your average reformer class in action

Being someone who usually relies on their quads to do most exercises, trying to isolate my core was almost impossible. After my first class, where I just tried to power through all the movements, my ego was in shreds. Having your weaknesses so easily laid out in front of you is sometimes a hard pill to swallow. But for every ego-flattening class I attended, my body started to work that much better.

Tuesday morning spin with the bike gang

Tuesday morning spin class at Kaya with the bike gang. (Ali, Anna and I).

It took me some time to realise that this kind of training was just as important as all the grunting, running and lifting that I had done in the past. Your body is a unit and if the centre of it is not strong, it’s only going to crack under pressure.

I would love to finish this blog by saying that now I am a changed person but I would say that I am the same old person. At least now though, I know where my core muscles are and how to turn them on without cranking my back into spasm. My hamstring is building up strength and my body is happy to start skiing.

Having some late night fun with one of Kaya’s rad yoga instructors, Monica

The most important thing that I have taken away from the last few weeks is how integral it is to listen to your body and follow its nags. In some cases it is necessary to go backwards to move forwards.

Christian and I at Kaya on my last day before heading to NZ

A big thanks has to go out to Christian and Koula from Kaya for their support over the last six weeks. They have helped make a fairly frustrating period into a positive one and helped me prepare for this winter in New Zealand. Thanks Kaya for the opportunity- it’s going to be a good winter!

Looking back

I’m back in Melbourne and more dazed and confused that I have ever been following a northern hemisphere winter. It’s been a big few months and so I think it’s only appropriate to reflect on some of the more entertaining moments via photo gallery.

NO WAY! Norway?

When buying plane tickets, I always try and make the most out my dollars- especially when I’m somewhere crazy like Iceland. So, after completing our expedition Shifting Ice and Changing Tides, I decided to hop on a plane to Oslo and make the most of my scandinavian adventure.

Shifting Ice

The Shifting Ice team in Nuuk, after spending 3 weeks on a boat sailing and skiing from Iceland to the SW coast of Greenland. Photo: KT Miller

Once in Oslo, I did what any normal person would do after almost a month of travelling and sailing at around 65 degrees north. I went to my hostel, took a shower, got in my caterpillar-like sleeping bag and caught up on all the new episodes of Game of Thrones that I had missed while travelling….I also called my mum.

Afterwards, I got to business. I had two main reasons for being in Norway.

#1 Compete in the first FWQ event of the season- the infamous Roldal Freeride Challenge

#2 Make party in the mountains with friends- especially Anne May who celebrated her birthday during my stay.

Let’s just say it was a successful two weeks.

However, the beginning of my norwegian adventures were somewhat more flimsy than the ending. After arriving in Oslo, I was very graciously put up by a friend Kristin, who not only helped me get around and see town- but also introduced me to the idea of norwegian park barbecues. I finally understand why scandinavians sun-bake in the alps during spring slush sessions- when your summer is that short, it’s necessary to make the most of any sun you see.

While relaxing was fun, it finally dawned on me how unorganised the rest of my trip was. I had no transport and no plans for accommodation for the next week in Roldal. They were some nail-biting hours, where I tried to get creative with the concept of hitchhiking with a ski bag. However, the norwegian bus system saved me and there started my love affair with the norwegian bus ways.

Buses spend a lot of time on ferries in certain parts of Norway. Fjordlife was fun.

Buses spend a lot of time on ferries in certain parts of Norway. Fjordlife was fun.

I had known about Roldal for many years before I finally managed to compete in it. It was what the Kirkwood FWT has been to the USA- one of the biggest on snow freeride parties of the year. The cool thing was that Roldal is a smaller resort, with big cliffs, drag lifts and a super laid back attitude.

Roldal Day 1 Venue

Roldal Freeride Challenge- Day 1

The day 1 venue provided some fun but due to the lower snowpack, many of the take offs has been melted out. Luckily, we were able to hike up the face to the start, so it was possible to check at least a few transitions.

Hiking up the day 1 venue. Norway skiing = convex

Hiking up the day 1 venue. Norway skiing = convex

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We shouldn’t have worried, we ended up having over four hours standing on top to scope our lines. I did my fair share of dancing for most of the competitors.

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Bird watching. I found this little couple while on an adventure away from the masses- I found out later that they were quite tasty but never had a chance to hunt them…….. We decided that an ice- axe would be the best weapon for the job- as a gun wouldn’t be appropriate in the ski resort.

The competition continued on as it had started- with blue skies, spring snow and a bunch of super rad people. Competitions are always a great place to make friends but sometimes when you’re travelling on your lonesome- it can be a little tough. I however was lucky enough to be adopted by a svensk familj and quickly their little cabin, also became mine.

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Celebrating our hard work on the mountain at the Roldal camp grounds. Nothing beats 4% beer and potato chips. Best party crew that a ski bagger could dream of.
Photo: Sara Hultman

The prize giving wasn’t until later in the evening after day 2, which gave me ample amount of time to analyse my performance. I was frustrated, as after day 1 I had held a strong lead in first position. I had got too comfortable and skied a much too mellow line, much too mellowly. That’s how competition’s go sometimes and as angry as I was, it was nice to finish in a solid 2nd position, behind a lady who sent the crap out of the day 2 venue. Lesson learned- go bigger, faster and scare yourself a little. There Axel- I have written it down.

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Jumping over things. You can watch the full line here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGA5Cjs8_uE

And then it was over (not after a lot of dancing) and I was once again stranded somewhere in Norway. My lift up to Bergen had said that he wouldn’t be driving until 7pm as he needed time to sober up following the after party. It seems that he never sobered as I never heard from him again. Thankfully, the bus came to my rescue once more.

Two days later, after a brief visit to the lovely Alexander and Luis in Bergen and a 10 hour bus ride, I found myself in Aalesund for birthday week.

Aalesund is located on the west-coast of Norway, just where the fat bottom starts to taper into the skinny coastline. The town itself is on an island, which is surrounded by more islands, fjords and incredible mountains. I was lucky to have a local as a tour guide and she stopped at nothing (not even a heavy norwegian hangover) to make sure I saw the sights.

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Anne May and Lucy the dog, shussing above Valldal

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Lucy gets pretty excited about powder snow!

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Warming up for skiing on the ferry

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Exploring Sagafjord- if only the clouds would have lifted, the mountains behind are incredible

We had the best intentions to ski most days but unfortunately both the weather and birthday celebrations led more to driving around the fjords and rambles around the mountains other than any real skiing. I guess you can’t have everything.

Sagafjord

Sagafjord

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Scoping lines at 4pm, dreamers will be dreamers

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Sitting in a home-made fish-net hammock in the forest after an unsuccessful ski day- the hammock made up for it.

And then without even realising, my one and a half month sub-arctic adventure was coming to end. However, there was one thing left to do- celebrate Anne May’s 30th birthday in the place where she was nearly born.

On Friday morning, we woke up and pranced over for breakfast with Anne May’s family, which included demolishing a delicious norwegian baked thing, which is called a ‘kringler’ (I think)- or a birthday kringler in this case. Next we jumped in the car and raced up to Strandal, a ski cabin run by the Aalesund Ski Club who, on that day, were also celebrating something- 100 year since the completion of their residence on the mountain.

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The Kringler..bum bum bummmmmm. I personally think it sounds more like a naughty monster that scares children rather than delicious cake…..

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Birthday ski tour with the Slinning ladies in Strandal

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Anne May dropping for birthday turns

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Family bush whack back to the cabin

After our afternoon exploration we buckled down and got ready to celebrate skiing in the norwegian mountains. What followed was nothing and everything that I expected- champagne, delicious food, incredible speeches in norwegian (parts of which were translated for me) and talking the night away with a beautiful bunch of people.

Then we were ready for the main event- the annual Aalesund Ski Club Mountain Race (which is now is in it’s 72nd or 73rd year). The competition is a split of a traditional up and down randonee race, which is then followed by a crazy type of downhill, where gates are sporadically placed down the mountain, through the fresh snow.

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Hiking up, cheering for the randonee races

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Hunkering down at the start gate- it snowed almost 5 cms in 40 minutes

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Anne May gearing up to win

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Third place in the Aalesund Ski Club Cup, behind the two Slinning sistes- not bad for an ex-mogul skier

And then it was time to say goodbye. To awesome friends, an incredible journey and the ski bag life that I have come accustom to over the last six months. Thanks Norway, thanks friends, thanks awesome ski life. Now the trip home begins, via the USA to pick up my things and hopefully ski at least one line in the Teton National Park.

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Looking down into the valley, just before one last ski down.

Young Explorer Grant: National Geographic

It’s funny- sometimes the moments in time that you dread and hate, are the ones that are the most important.

A little speckle of advice I just found on FB

A little speckle of advice I just found on FB

Last year I spent over eight months on the couch, rehabbing my knee and wishing that I was skiing. While I was angry at the time, I also got a lot done.

I spent hours working with Chicks with Stix on their new website and working with Zoe Jaboor and Lorraine Lock to help make the 2013 program happen. In that time as a team we raised over $11k for the program and ran five successful free workshops for female skiers and snowboarders who wanted to progress their freeride skills.

I also spent months, along with the rest of the Shifting Ice team, writing and re-writing pitches and grants to make our expedition to Greenland a possibility.

Shifting Ice and Changing Tides

The Shifting Ice and Changing Tides team

For me, those were some of the most important hours I spent in 2013. As a result, our team were able to raise enough support and funds to not only turn our pipe dream into an expedition but also to help fund the post production for any media that we do bring back.

Part of this due to a very exciting grant that I am honoured to have received. Every year, National Geographic award a group of under twenty five year olds with a grant to help them to make projects like Shifting Ice and Changing Tides a reality. In their words:

“An initial grant from National Geographic helped launch the careers of many of the Society’s, and our planet’s, most renowned explorers. We are committed—as we have been for more than a century—to supporting new generations of archaeologists, anthropologists, astronomers, conservationists, ecologists, geographers, geologists, marine scientists, adventurers, storytellers, and pioneers.”

It’s hard to put into words how excited and grateful I am to have received a Young Explorer’s Grant and to be working with an organisation like National Geographic as a grantee.

Instead of trying to explain this, I thought instead that I would share part of my application- my short. The aim was to introduce myself and why our expedition is so important to me. I was travelling around Europe at the time and did my best sans make-up artist… I was going for the authentic ski bum look.

My knee was operated on 12 months ago yesterday. Going into surgery last March I had no expectations that I would be where I am right now. We’re leaving for Greenland in nine days. Over the last week I have been doing training hikes without my knee brace and sometimes even skiing without it.

Hiking Glory Bowl on Teton Pass this week.Photo: SheJumps, Rachael Reich

Hiking Glory Bowl on Teton Pass this week.
Photo: SheJumps, Rachael Reich

This whole experience has taught me a huge lesson- despite how lost and depressed you feel, some things happen for a reason, not to hold you back but to give you time to grow.