I promised a final update on my season off and here it is.
I completed the Devizes to Westminster kayaking marathon on Easter Sunday morning. My crew mate, Julien, and I came 33rd out of 115 starters, covering the 125 miles in 24 hours and 34 minutes. We had hoped to go sub 24 hours but were still very happy with the result. I have written a detailed report over on Paddle Log for anyone interested in all the gory details.
The season is over but I will now be back on topic and, I hope, back on the snow for 06/07. In fact, all the endurance training of the last few months has given me a new interest: cross country skiing. Roll on the winter.
As explained in the previous post my energies are away from the snow this season but I thought I would provide an update here and, if anyone is still reading, ask you to consider helping by sponsoring us.
The 125 mile non-stop Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race is now less than two weeks away and our training is almost over, having completed the last of the build up races yesterday. There is a race report and some photos along with the entire training diary over on Paddle Log.
Now we are looking for sponsorship. We are raising money for Shadwell Basin, an outdoor activity centre in Tower Hamlets, East London. This is one of the most deprived boroughs in the city and 'The Basin' provides fantastic opportunities for inner city kids to get out and try water sports like kayaking and sailing. So, please consider supporting them by sponsoring us, which you can do through our sponsorship page. Many thanks.
I will post another update after the race itself and after that I will be back on topic.
Snowgo has been very quiet lately and it is likely to stay that way for the rest of the season.
I have decided to sacrifice snowboarding this season to try and fulfil a long held ambition, to paddle the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race. The commitment involved means I will not have time for snowboarding and my blogging energy is currently focused on www.paddlelog.com, where I will be recording my progress.
I'll be back...
Aspect Journal, my favourite ski literature site (are there any others?), has just posted an update and a new writing competition: ski sounds, deadline 31 October. I can think of so many evocative snowboarding sounds that I might just have a crack at it.
For some at least, just received a link to this 'first turns' report in my inbox and something within me has reawoken.
Regular readers will be aware that I am always on the look out for new ski and snowboard blogs to link to and I am happy to say that the list of blogs to the right has been growing steadily this season.
So I have finally got around to implementing an idea that I have been chewing over for a while, a ski and snowboard blog portal: www.snowblogs.net.
The site aggregates posts from a bunch of ski and snowboard bloggers, provides a forum, a blogging tool and feeds.
Like Snowgo, it is a non-commercial venture which aims to give greater visibility to the featured sites, help interested bloggers find each other and encourage would be snow bloggers to get started by offering an on site blog to every registered user. Enjoy.
Last month I discovered the Aspect Journal site and was wowed by the great ski writing there. It just so happened that the day I discovered the site was the closing date for one of their "Themes" writing contests so I fired off an entry.
It is published today and you can read about one of the most miserable days riding I can remember: New Year's Day 2001 at Nevis Range.
This new blog, Colorado ski and snowboard, looks promising.
Its not often that I find a new web site which I fall in love with at first sight. Aspect Journal is one.
Aspect Journal does not publish industry news, product reviews, resort profiles, weather information, "how-to" articles, or insider guides. Rather we focus exclusively on quality storytelling—the kinds of stories that writers need to write, and that readers increasingly long for.
For a flavour of the site read the story of how one man and his family coped with summer.
Every few years I go along to The Ski Show and vow never to return. Well its three or four years since my last visit so I had forgotten what a waste of time and money it was and I went along last night.
I timed my visit to take in one of the four daily "Passion 4 Snow" shows on the big air ramp in the centre of the hall. The ramp was quite impressive as you can see but the show itself was lame with only about half a dozen skiers/riders who did two or three jumps each followed by a single inline skater and a pair of BMXers doing some vert stuff.
Looking around the show the stands seemed fewer than I remembered from previous visits with less resorts represented and fewer (none that I could see) freebies being handed out. Snow and Rock and The Snowboard Asylum did have big stores as usual but there was no evidence of any great bargains.
The much hyped Boardroom bar was closed and set to open only at 9:30 after the main show closed.
If you are in London and don't mind shelling out to get in the Ski Show maybe worth a look but I certainly would not travel for it and it always leaves a slightly sour taste to have to pay to have stuff sold to you.
Tickets are £10 on the door or £8 +75p booking fee by calling 08705 90 00 90 in advance (XFM have an offer on whereby quoting "Bflyer" when you book gets you tickets for £6 after 6:00pm on weekdays).
Inspired by the possibility of climate change, the Irish are putting together a bid for 2026!
According to the Daily Mirror, cancer victim, Dave Huddie, sent his pals on a snowboarding trip after his death. Now that is how to be remembered.
I wonder what chance we have of seeing Tony Blair on a board before next year's general election.
As one who is temporarily disabled and limited to using one leg, I could not help but be impressed reading about the Australian skier, Michael Milton, who set a new disabled speed skiing record at Les Arcs yesterday of 193 km/h. He hopes to break the 200km/h barrier by the end of the week on one leg. Good on ya Mike!
UPDATE: Well he did not quite break the 200km/h barrier but did manage a new record on Saturday of 198.68km/h and no doubt will be having another crack at it next season.
Wired News has a good report, complete with pictures, on the US Department of Energy's annual Energy Challenge competition in which reuse of paper products is encouraged. This year's challenge involved building and racing paper snowboards.
It was with a tinge of sadness that I deleted www.snowserve.co.uk from my links yesterday.
The site was set up in 1999 as a companion to the "snow" list, an email list created in 1996 by Will Macdonald to connect UK snowboarders. Although it had a relatively small number of subscribers (100-150 I think) the list in those days was an excellent resource for UK riders and as a community it thrived, spawning several meet ups, snowboarding trips and friendships.
In the heady days of 1999 expanding the list to a web site seemed the obvious next move and Snowserve was born one September evening in Costa Coffee in Soho Square. My small contribution to the initial brainstorming session was to suggest the name; the site itself was developed by Will and Chris Berry.
Despite a burst of initial enthusiasm from a core of eager contributors, the web site never really took off to the extent we had all hoped, though it did continue to serve as a portal and archive for the mailing list.
In the last season or two even the mailing list has gone quiet as more and more people gravitate away from email lists and towards web forums. Last week Will and Chris decided to pull the plug on the Snowserve web site and call it a day (the list will continue).
It is sad to see it go but I hope that as the Web changes some of the old contributors may turn to blogs to share their snowboard know-how and when they do I will be the first to link to them.
John Kerry has been snowboarding in Sun Valley and Howard Dean was famously turned away from Mad River Glen, one of the few remaining ski areas were riders are not welcome, when he was Governor of Vermont.
It is clearly a stunt on Kerry's part as he is really a skier but, fair play to him for trying.
Well I got my copy of The Snowboard Journal and it is very good.
It is, as I hoped, quite unlike other snowboard magazines. It is beautifully produced on thick quality paper with hardly any ads and is full of exquisitely printed photos that are not just 'rad', but beautiful to look at and well contextualised with narrative.
The Wicklund Project is the intriguing tale of how a Burton exec got hold of 1930's film footage of members of the Wicklund family riding rudimentary snowboard sledges in Chicago and, get this, linking turns! The film footage, together with some of the boards, are in Burton's archive - a shame the footage is not available on the history part of their web site.
Meteorite is the story of an epic heli trip in Alaska and reads like an armchair adventure. More please.
The Snowboard Journal is well worth the price, I just hope they can maintain the quality.
It seems that between filming he rode down under a lift, took off over a ten foot drop, landed on the tail of his board and struck the back of his head on a small rock under the snow. He was apparently taken to hospital in a coma and never recovered. It is being described as a freak accident and it is a tragedy for this young snowboarder's family but I can't help wondering whether he was wearing a helmet and, if not, whether it might have saved his life.
I have always regarded the advice that you can sometimes 'swim' to the surface of an avalanche with a healthy dose of scepticism. This guy was very lucky.
This new quarterly snowboard magazine looks to be a bit more grown up than the usual fare. The article about 'snowboarding' in 1918 looks particularly interesting. Unfortunately, when I went to subscribe I got an email informing me that my first copy would be with me in 6-8 weeks. I'll have to cancel it unless they can do better but it might be worth looking out for in Barnes & Noble stores in the US.
UPDATE: I misunderstood, turns out the 6-8 week wait is for the next issue. I can have issue #001 straight away.