Hi my friends, how are you? I am sorry for such a long period of silence.
Well, quite long. Probably you thought I got lost in the wilderness. Or dead.
It is not an easy task to write about the last weeks of my life. I had to sail trough quite stormy days.. I’ll try to make it short and simple.
I came to Norway full of expectations, I prepared the journey much better this year: new skis, the wonderful prototype Idrisskis Nordic skis, much lighter, new boots, new pulk, still built with sustainable materials, new clothes, new equipment. Thanks to all my technical partners for their support.
Everything, almost everything was perfect. Only one thing was not perfect: me. I didn’t know. Once again.
I arrived Norway in the beginning of February, and I went to Gvarv, a little village in Telemark, in the Beautiful south of Norway. I had to meet Alex, the builder of my pulk. I felt immediately in love with the pulk. The hemp canvas is so beautiful. And strong.
Then I went to Haugastøl, where I spent three months last year. I met in Haugastøl all the old friends of last year, and most of them experienced polar explorers and guides, or kiters, skiers etc. Carl Alvey, a young generous man, one of the best polar guide, was very kind offering me a lot of help and advices whose importance has been vital to me.
Paul Landry another famous polar explorer and top guide, also spent a lot of his time telling me about his experiences, trying to convince me to be lighter and lighter (every gram counts..), helping me to understand what I really wanted. And I will never thank him enough for that.
Hannah McKeand, who skied alone to the South Pole with the record time in 2006 and guide herself, she gave me a lot of motivation to go and to go with my pace, my inner feelings. I am so clumsy, inexperienced in comparison with these persons. Of course, listening to them changed many easy going ideas I had. I started nonetheless to ski north but I was full of doubts. Surprisingly more than last year. I was no more sure. Even the whole motivation of the project started to fade away.
After a few days camping and skiing around Haugastøl, I finally started to go, toward a place called Kraekkja, where there is a cabin, now closed for restoration. It was an easy 14 km ski track video Going to Kraekkia and back Vimeo, and marked already with the usual sticks.
Just before getting there I didn’t see going downhill, and fast, a packed hard snow sastrugi (a kind of snow accumulation due to wind effects) I hit it and fell on my back. Unfortunately I put my left arm behind me to protect me and the pole handle rotated in my wrist in a bad way. It was painful but I thought nothing serious. Pitched my tent, slept well. In the morning my wrist was weird. Not so much pain but it didn’t work. I could not use my thumb. It was simply not strong enough to grab a cup. Looked outside: visibility was poor, no sticks marking the track to Finse, where I was heading. I went up skiing a little but really I couldn’t see more than 10 meters. Almost white out. My gps also died. The screen was just fading away after a few minutes I faced a deep short chrisis video Changes in Vimeo. I was clearly not in condition to go further and especially alone and in an unknown terrain. It was a storm inside me. All the preparation, all my will was fading away too. I know what it means to wait. I spent weeks waiting for the right condition to cross the English Channel during my rowed trip from London to Istanbul. Life many times is a question of waiting. Waiting is truly an art.
My mother has been fighting since years with a cancer. I felt bad to be there in a beautiful place full of doubts and still in a sort of forced holyday, (not used to holydays), stranded in a mountain paradise like the Haugastøl Hotel, surrounded by caring friends. I tried to continue. I went to Finse to learn to use better the ski sail made by Wolf Beringer. The sail, an UL 12 sq. meters is working very well with winds up to 18 knots. For stronger wind it is a little too much for me. Ronny Finsås, probably the best skisailer in the world, gave me very important tips and hosted me in his house. In Finse I had the luck to be there for the Expedition Finse festival, where I met many polar explorers and the Honorable Alexandra Shakleton, and the team who successfully rebuilt and sailed a replica of the James Caird lifeboat from the Elephant Island to South Georgia in 1915.
Anyway my hand was not working well enough.
So I made a quick decision. Go back to see my mother, fix my thumb and then decide. My big friend Bruno Porto, from Brasil, who, with her wife Josephine, helped me to restart my rowed trip, send me a message from Brasil. It seems he feels when I need him. He is a real great man, one of my guides. So he told me that he could come and ski with me for some time. His wife is actually studying in Stockholm.
I changed the project. I had my thumb fixed with a short surgery (a ligament was broken) I hugged my mother and spent few weeks with her and my father who always supported me so much in this crazy and beautiful life, I went to hug Eulalia in Barcelona and see how my boat, my home, was doing in Mallorca.
I gave two talks in Italy, a few tv interviews and then I was invited to a very interesting workshop in Madrid about the meaning of walking as an ancestral form of art, with many young artist and the guidance of Eulalia Valldosera and Valerie de la Dehensa in the Matadero and then back to Norway.
I am now waiting for Bruno, who will come on the 6th of May. We will do a tour of the Hardangervidda Plateau with two pulks and skisails.
I want to see if next year we can travel together and definitely the project will be no more a one man project. I am looking for persons who would like to ski for a section of the full length of Norway. Though and motivated persons. I will pass the pulk and the cameras in a participated trip. A change from me to we economy. Be myself I’ve nothing to prove or show but kindness and attention to others and to this planet. Everyday. My ego is slowly amalgamating in a collective consciousness.
I took so many years and still I am on the way. Not easy for this old westerner.
If anybody is interested to learn more about the next Men on the Snow project please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for the patience and for following me.
A very special thank to all the Kaupang family, running that special paradise for kiters and skiers call Haugastøl Turisenter