The travel from Brisbane to Seattle took me 45 hours. My flight connection was Bangkok - Seoul - Vancouver. By arriving at the Airport in Vancouver in summer shorts and a bag filled with surfboards rather than snowboards I felt not just cold but weird at the same time. To get to Seattle I had to take a bus to cross the US border and get picked up by the boys at the Seattle Airport 4 hours later.
Warming up at Stevens Pass
Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
When Tobi and Marco came to pick me up their car was loaded with lots of snowboard gear that Nitro, Quiksilver and Oakley shipped over for me. Tobi also brought all my avalanche equipment and some other things I needed on his flight from Munich so it felt good knowing that I was fully staffed to get back on a snowboard finally. It was also the first time seeing him again after almost 6 months on the road. Since we were born we haven’t really been apart at any time in our lives so it was good to see nothing changed really. Actually it felt like no time since I’ve seen him last and for a moment I was wondering were all the months were gone..
As if it wasn’t enough there was another surprise waiting at the Seattle Airport. Our friend Manu who is an old good friend from back home spontaneously flew in from Las Vegas since he heard there might be one more spot in our crew on the road to Alaska. He’s been traveling the world for two years already and he is a really inspiring person to me. Always he is the guy with the biggest smile and a "maker in the making" if that makes sense.
From Seattle we started driving to our final destination for the next 10 days. The one and only. The infamous. Stevens Pass!
Tobi has been visiting Stevens Pass for the last 2 years for filmstrips with DBK and Isenseven. Over the years they became good friends with the local Hot Lava Crew who are a bunch of snowboarders spending every winter in this area for the past 6 years. Tobi always kept telling me about the good terrain at Stevens, the sick cabin they have and the good vibes they approach the mountain with. When he came up with the idea to visit the boys at Stevens to warm up for Alaska I was really excited to get my feed back on a snowboard. Getting the chance to ride Stevens Pass wasn’t the only reason for my excitement though. About a year ago I fractured my ankle in five pieces and I haven’t been riding my snowboard since. Due to great support by Sports Clinic in Innsbruck and the Sportschule Puch near Munich I was able to do the best rehab I could think of before I started the big trip. I didn’t have any major problems on my surfboard for the last couple of months so it was time to get back on snow.
The next day we woke up to bluebird and 40 cm of fresh. We have been told the season wasn’t too good yet but just the day before we came in it started dumping. We ended up riding pow for 5 days. Getting the feeling back, hiking a ton and searching for steep shoots to warm up for the terrain in Alaska. I really enjoyed being back on board and especially with the boys these were some days for the books. After those 5 days it felt like spring arrived. Conditions got warmer and so a sign for us to prepare for our drive to Alaska.
Two days later we got everything we needed. Our friend Ian could borrow a Dodge Ram 3500 from his dad to bring his sled all the way up. Tobi, Marco and Me bought another sled including trailer to make the setup complete. We had to get camping gear to be able to camp in the mountains for a couple of days if the conditions are right. We loaded up the back of the truck with as much food as we could fit in. Fixing trailer lights and getting spare parts for the sleds to be able to fix them if we needed to. We have 50 L of extra Gasoline to be ready for whatever happens. All our snowboard gear and security equipment is finally complete. Google maps says we have 50 hours driving north a head of us. Just enough to make it to the Tailgate Alaska Event in time. It feels like we are ready to go. It’s a long way to the top!
Thanks for help to Ian, Jim, Cory, Zack & Kathie, Nate, The Hot Lava Crew and Stevens Pass!