Days Before the World Stopped Turning

As I was sitting on my bedroom floor, staring at my equipment, I couldn’t help but question my decision. I’ve realized that I had never gone freeride snowboarding with others than a bunch of friends of mine. This new situation gave me chills. Will I be able to keep up with them? Do I have the skills to ride the terrain? And obviously, can I trust them in case anything happens?

Bring your AVI kit, your snowboard equipment and your camera, I’ll take care of the rest.

A lot of my trips were canceled due to poor snow conditions, including a freeride trip to Gudauri, Georgia. At first, I was very disappointed but then I managed to get over it and accepted that this winter is just like this. Yet, out of nowhere, barely one week before the departure, Gellért contacted me offering exactly what I was longing for: long, wide slopes and a lot of accessible freeride terrain. Saying yes to this opportunity was a no brainer.

I remember a friend asking me, a few days before the trip, whether I’ve checked the snow forecast or not. I told him I refused to ‘cause there was no way I was losing my stoke. I didn’t want to build up expectations and then get disappointed: just be present and make the most out of all the turns you’ve got – snowboard Zen, I guess.

On the first day when we reached the top, I fell into absolute awe of how immense and vast the place was. The Alps, man! The unbelievably great amount of freeride options, in a bare 10 minutes walk from the ski lifts. And the best part was that nobody was riding them.

When on a trip, for a few days you are still thinking about your home, the things you’re going to do when you get back, let alone worrying about the Coronavirus. We are so caught up in our everyday lives that it takes a while to break away. By the middle of the trip, you can’t help but focus on what’s happening to you, becoming much more present, falling into a simple routine that keeps you alive. That means, having breakfast at 07.30 and meeting the group at the chairlift at 08.45. Deciding on plans depending on the conditions. Riding until it’s possible or until your legs give up. Repeat. It’s all about enjoying every turn, trying to add a bit more style into your riding until it starts to feel more natural. Life can really slow down this way.

Stop and take the damn photos!

Although not all days were good for off-piste, we did manage to have three days of fun outside the slopes, on some of the best-looking lines I’ve ever seen in my life. There were some lines that I would have loved to ride but the photographer in me started shouting: ‘Stop and take the damn photos!’ Sometimes it’s challenging to be a photographer and a snowboarder at the same time. I have to choose between the lines I ride and those that I photograph, all of this leading to a dilemma that simply has no solution.

Traversing an ice couloir, as a snowboarder, is an interesting task to do. Not having ice crampons, a ten meters long couloir took me and my friend at least half an hour to pass. Our skier friends were going back and forth on that part like they were on a highway. Us, on the other hand, had no chance there since the position of the body is very different and we have only one edge to hang on to the ice. For the first time in forever, I had to agree with skiers being superior to snowboarders – on traversing ice couloirs, only!

Two weeks of self-quarantine for one week of snowboarding? Sounds like a deal.

We’ve found out on our way back home, that every ski resort in France will close due to the Coronavirus. The synchronization was perfect.

Thank you Shred Alert for the opportunity, so I could stay as much as possible in my favorite environment. See you next time!

And for those, including me, who are complaining that there is still snow out there, I have only one thing to say: ‘We’ll get over it and the mountains will still be there, waiting to be ridden!’

photos & edit: Adrian Crapciu

words: Adrian Crapciu

riding buddy: Gellért Vincze Punkosti

prood read & all around advisor: Orsi Rend

photo equipment: Sony a6300, Sony 18-105mm G OSS, FE 100-400mm GM OSS, Samyang 8mm FishEye

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