Here are just some of the shots we couldn't fit into our Greece Balls feature from the new Method Mag 13.1 issue.
Here are just some of the shots we couldn't fit into our Greece Balls feature from the new Method Mag 13.1 issue. Check out the full mag right here. Peep the video from the trip if you haven't seen it yet and then dig into this epic tale of Greek snowboarding and the extra photos from the mission below. OPA!
At sunrise everyone enjoyed the panorama, a vast sea of white gold, as we scrunched on breakfast. The troops laced up and headed for the drag lift. On the way up we could see Mt. Olympus off in the distance to our southwest, dormant of any God-like activity. To our north lay Albania, flexing its muscular mountain ranges as we fidgeted uncomfortably on the lift. No one had set foot at the top of the drag since the last big storm. Signs were frosted and the iced-over trees looked like sculpted cartoons, or maybe Martian rock formations. Everyone snagged first tracks as the Oracle of Delphi looked down upon its new visitors. The boys bagged a couple of shots, then burned a couple of turns but the clouds soon rolled in to ring the bell and call it a day. The afternoon was spent at the jam alongside the refuge, with beats bumping and the wind blowing hard enough take off your eyebrows.
The next day the van's chains rattled like prisoners as we rolled down to one of the highest villages in Greece. Samarina sits at about 1,500 meters and everyone except for a brave few leave for the winter. Emaciated dogs wandered around with their ribs showing and the whole scene was reminiscent of a zombie movie, but it made for a million spots with no one around to shut us down. The boys got to work on the town, ramping off roof tops, boardsliding on balconies and turning the streets into slopes. The occasional local would come by for a look and one man herded his horses past the spot, letting out an odd trilling "brrrrrr" sound to keep them moving forward. Another dude wanted the boys to "jump my house!"
The local restaurant, owned by a gracious fella named Sotiri, acted as a base for the team, keeping our bellies full, cigarettes smoking, internet connected and drinks flowing. That evening everyone feasted on plenty of local meats, salads and, of course, tsipouro, which our posse refered to as "firewater". Sotiri kept the kids smiling with local history, music and invited Sebi for a one-on-one, bromantic Greek line dance. The piles of food disappeared and no one listened to Sotiri's warning to "never mix red wine with tsipouro". We eventually waddled out and headed back up to Vasilitsa for the night as the restaurant's "vacuum cleaner" (a little sparrow) nibbled on the crumbs we left behind. Of course we forgot that the van would predictably get stuck in the same place as it did upon our arrival, which meant some more action for the "Greek Bobsled Team" before bed.
Back at camp the toilet was clogged, since no one that who could actually read Greek warned the others to only put poo in the loo. For the rest of the week craps were taken standing on our feet, looking like the Colossus of Rhodes, at the communal toilets down the hall. Meanwhile, Diggles' Hydra-like monster mocked us, its head poking out the bottom of the toilet in our room. Otherwise, everything else at Vasilitsa 1850 is what's called living "nice and slow". Internet connections were dicey so chess was played instead, the fireplace was the television and the heater, there was time to read actual books and get to bed early, plus the night sky was better than any movie. No one took showers. The people staying for the season use the refuge as a base and park their vans or RV's outside. Due to last winter's massive snowfall, their vehicles were deeply buried and became snow caves, creating the most amazing nocturnal show, as an incandescent glow shone through the snow from each person's night light.
The staff and local kids that hung around for long periods were rad. Gerasimos and Akis run the place, both good people and basically introduced snowboarding to Greece. Local photographer Ronny, from silentprogression.tv, his girlfriend Dina, our guide Petros, Angeliki and the rest of the regulars were always around to give a helping hand. They were simply pumped to ride, eager to show the visitors their spots, always ready to make us something to eat and always offering something to burn. Another generous fella was Yorgos, we called him Iceman on account of the aviator shades he always wore. He had a heli and was ready to take the brigade out to wherever. The zone is totally unexplored and with heli-access you could easily bag some first descents. He even offered to helivac Brendan to the hospital in Athens after he snapped his collarbone sending it off the roof of the refuge. All in all, it's an amazing deal and the perfect place to go on a shred adventure with your full crew, you can get a group room and lift ticket that will come out to about 40 euros a day! Plus, you will basically never have to wait in a lifeline in this place and can still score first tracks days after a storm.
The week definitely passed by too fast but everyone was happy to make turns in the peaks where the Gods were born. The hospitality from Gerasimos and the rest of the crew was a throwback from another age, when guests were truly honored. It's funny to think how the villagers fled Samarina for the winter, leaving behind their cars and houses for us to use as ramps and features. They returned in the spring and no doubt were wondering where that little piece of pink p-tex on their balcony rail could have come from…
Our last day was spent in Athens, by the Parthenon. Roland was still in bed and woke up to Chriso offering him some water. But RMB wasn't awake enough to remember that sometimes the water in Greece is fiery HOT and if you're not careful you'll catch yourself a mouthful of tsipouro at 8 AM!
For more info on staying at Vasilitsa 1850 go here.
Cover shot by RSP
Words by ADT