Tag Archives: snowboarding pyrenees

independence

It’s July 4th, 2013. It’s raining in Anchorage, Alaska. I’m a long way from Spain. Back in my real world.

In January, while snowboarding in Spain, I had a little mishap: I tore my ACL and medial meniscus. Bummer… I limped around for a month and thought it might heal. I finally got an MRI and found out the bad news. I decided to keep snowboarding since the damage was already done, and it was surprisingly almost easier to snowboard than walk (my mom did lug my snowboards and all my gear from Alaska, after all!). I had some great days on my split board and at the resort. My last day in Spain I rode the lifts of impressive Baqueira/Beret resort in Vall de Aran.
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Eating lunch in the backcountry in Catalunya is different from lunch in the Alaskan mountains. It’s better. Fresh baguettes, sausages made by one of my ski buddies from a pig she slaughtered earlier in the season, cheese from local sheep’s milk and fresh tomatoes rubbed into the crusty bread – beautiful.

A couple days later Dani and I drove his awesome Fiat camper van to Baqueira/Beret Resort where we mobbed the groomers and dodged the hordes of gapers (it was supposedly a French holiday) with his two rippin’ skier buddies. We rode without stopping for the better part of a day and only rode one lift twice!

In early March I said goodbye to the amazing friends I had made in my little valley in Spain and I boarded a plane to England where I would stay for the next month and a half with Lillian, Oscar and Estela. Due to travel insurance policies, my knee surgery would not be covered if I returned to Alaska and I could not imagine living with my knee as it was for much more time. I was functional, but the things we take for granted in our knees – walking without a limp, straigtening my leg, jumping, running, kneeling, dancing, etc. were painful thoughts for me.

Luckily, I could still ride a bike. The week between my arriving in Eastbourne, UK where my beloved Long Haul Trucker was waiting for me in Lillian’s garage, and when I went under the knife was awesome. Southern England is an amazing place to get lost on a bike.
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Reunited! My first ride in months was a little foggy and so great.

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Beachy Head a short 5 or 6 mile ride from home. Back to distancing in miles in the UK took some getting used to!

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I came upon cute little buildings like this…

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And snowy roads like this. England was experiencing some crazy weather when I was there. It was snowing into April.

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I ate freshly-baked meat pie with mashy peas, cheddar mashed potatoes & red wine gravy. Washed it all down with a pint of English cider – it’s not pretty, but it is delish! I sent this picture to a friend in Spain and he replied with a good-natured “The English don’t know how to eat!”

And a trip to England is not complete, of course, without a day spent at a castle!
Bodium Castle, built in 1385
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It was a blessing in disguise getting to spend such a long time with Lillian – more time than we’d spent together since our college days more than a decade ago. 3 year-old Estela was my very effective little alarm clock every morning and my activity buddy throughout the day. Oscar, originally from Barcelona, and I spent many hours talking about the great and not so great things in Spain, often over a vermouth or English ale.

Now I’m back in Alaska! Working working away at the family restaurants, catching up with friends, relishing in the amazing mountains surrounding me and, as of two weeks ago, riding my bike again!!!
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My ride home from work last night at 10:30 PM
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I rode to Girdwood for a wedding last weekend.
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On my way to work one early morn.
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A beautiful sunset ride at 11 o’clock at night

LOVE being home!

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¡It’s Dumping in España!

And, unlike anywhere else in the world, no one wants to go up because you can’t see, they don’t have snow tires or 4 wheel drive, and they don’t open the good lifts. I went to the highway to hitchhike this morning and no cars passed by. The snowplow driver, Joseph, who gave me a ride a couple weeks ago down the mountain and who was smoking a joint at the time, rolled down his window and advised me against going up. I asked if the lifts were running, yes, but only two of the lower lifts. 30 seconds later another person who works there said don’t bother. Then I got a text message from a friend saying the same. Only two lifts and you can’t see shit! So here I am. I went for a fun walk down to the next town with my roommates and got some freshie turns in some funny places on the way. I ended the excursion with a sweet bottomless freshie line through the steep and narrow streets of the Romanesque town of Taüll. Happy!

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Me being sad after being advised not to go up and succumbing to the advise

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Roomies Asier and Diego

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Freshies on the trail between Pla and Taüll

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Diego is from Uruguay and before June had never seen snow in his life! Here he ensconses himself in the fluff!

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The boys and some Pyrenees cows in the background!

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Asier’s car

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Picnic tables in front if my restaurant!

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Algunas Fotos de mi Vida

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Signs in Catalán at the top of the highest lift in the Pyrenees a few weeks ago. Lacking major snow but still gorgeous!

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On the telesilla con mis amigos! I made that ugly hat I’m wearing. My first knitting project!

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On the 21st of December the Basques celebrate El Día de Santo Tomás, “where txistorra, talos and cider flow on every corner” says my roommate Asier, who’s from San Sebastian. We had a mini celebration at the house. In this photo, txistorra on baguette and sidra (cider).

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Asier pours the sidra trad style – the higher you pour the more bubbles. You have to drink it all at once to maximize the fizz – ¡On Egin! Cheers!

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Boí, a picturesque town down the valley from Taüll, which you can see up the hill in the distance. Lovely paths connect all the towns in the valley. Too quaint. Seriously!

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A couple weeks ago my friend Dani and I went for a walk up towards the national park, Aiguestortes Parque Nacional, in the next valley from Vall de Boí. To get into the park you have to take a taxi which costs €€, so we parked and walked an hour+ towards the entrance. GORGEOUS! And we never even entered the park! This is walking back out on the road.

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As I work here in exchange for free room and board I haven’t eaten out at all in this country known for it’s amazing food! My second meal out was for hamburgers. Ha ha! It was delicious. Fried egg, goat cheese, carmelized onion and bacon with a local Vall de Boí beef patty and on a fresh baked bun.

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This is the menu in Catalán. I ordered the Carnisseria burger. If you can decipher the menu, you will see it is an awesome spread. Love it!

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Graffiti everywhere these days. A gorgeous walk along the river by my house

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I went back to get another hamburger a couple days later. Here we have the Roi (roasted red peppers, bacon and goat cheese) and modified Llevei (fois gras and caramelized onions). My friend Thor and I went halvsies and it was a really good choice.

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My coworkers and I went on a fieldtrip last week to Andorra. So fun!!! This is riding up the lift at Ordino. They are lacking major snow but the possibilities with snow resort are amazing.

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To the left there is a lift that accesses a ton of steep goods. It wasn’t open due to more brown than white on the slopes, but I can dream!

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Me and The big boss man Tony!

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Last run of the day – really fun even though it was super hard packed. We got a couple soft turns in! Throughout the day we managed to find some freshies mixed in with the ice and bushes too. Great.

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Back at Boí Taüll Resort we had a good three weeks of cloudless skies. Then this odd little cloud appeared in the sky.

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This is the base of my new board with only a dozen or so days on it. It looks worse in real life, like a bear armed with volcanic rocks went to town on it.

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But it’s finally snowing! Today brought snow and high winds which closed down most of the lifts at the resort. I went for a snowy walk with my friend Dani instead. Lovely!

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Dani kicking it in the snow and rolling a cig – crazy Spaniards and their tobacco!

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First snow angel of 2013!

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Snowboarding at Boí Taull Resort!

Some pics from my first few days at this awesome resort! Lots of super fun steeps, the snow has been variable to awesome and the early season rocks have done a number on my new board. I’ve had three out of three days of sun, the slopes have been almost empty every day and I’m meeting a lot of locals. Love this place!

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View to the south

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And to the east

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My roomie and coworker Asier peeking out into the great white beyond

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Riding up!

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Clouds

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More clouds

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Fun riding in the distance. Sunny slopes to the left are sick! Will be even better when they’re thick with snow!

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Have yet to ride here. Hopefully we’ll get some more snow and this top lift will open this coming week!

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Boí Taull is the highest resort in the Pyrenees. What a view!

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My walk from my house in Pla de L’Ermita to the lower town, Taull

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Cigarette machine at the local bar

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A hefty bar Catalonian chocolate with a pretty wrapper

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Me and my roommate and coworker Amsa in Taull

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Iglesia Santa Maria. One of 9 Romanesque churches in the Vall de Boí – the most in one area in all of Europe! It’s Unesco!

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Vall de Boí

I am in España! In the Pyrenees! It is amazing!

I’m working at a restaurant in exchange for free room and board and i have a cute little apartment above the restaurant that I share with four other great people I work with. Between the two restaurants we have 5 out of 7 continents represented. Pakistan, Australia, United States, England, Morocco and Spain! The man behind everything, Tony from Arizona, has lived in Vall de Boí for 8 years, has two restaurants and a hostel and is a great person to work for. Opening night was last night and I served my first guests en Español! I was a little nervous as I am still adjusting to the Castellano dialect, and there were some bugs to be worked out as the restaurant has been closed since last ski season, but it went great! Everyone was so friendly and a lot of fun.

The slopes of Boí Taull Resort opened yesterday and what was almost a ghost town on Wednesday has transformed into a ski town! Wednesday also brought a few centimeters of snow in town and it is now glorious sunny.

All the buildings in the tiny hillside town of Taull are made of stone, many over 400 years old, and the towers of the two churches are visible from almost everywhere in town. The backdrop of the Pyrenees is stunning.

I can’t wait to explore the hills once My gear arrives from Alaska!

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Taull, the day after I arrived, pre snow.

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The walk between the restaurant and hostel in Taull

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Snowing!!!

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I went for a gorgeous run yesterday up towards the ski slopes. This is looking up towards Boí Taull Resort

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Views down the valley

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