This trip starts with a call from Douglas, it is much the same as calls in previous years. Hey Rubens you wanna go to (fill in the blank rad exotic location), it is a super funny question because he and I both know there is no way that I am going to say no! The interesting thing is I say yes to these trips without putting a whole lot of thought about what is really involved, I just know that it would be stupid to say no.
This call was made two weeks before we were supposed to leave. First things first, India requires you to get a Visa to go there. Between skiing/filming ridiculously deep powder in Revy I managed to fill out the necessary paper work and get it sent off fairly quickly. The skiing was so good I forgot about it for a while. I just figured that it would all work out, enter my first experience with Indian Bureaucracy.
We were supposed to leave on the 15th of February, a Tuesday. The Thursday before I still haven’t received my Visa or my passport that I sent away, so I start calling them to see where it is. They assure me that it has been sent back to me. The ladies at the post office are getting to know me quite well. By Friday nothing has shown up and I’m starting to get a little worried. But with continual calls to the Indian consulate they assure me that it was sent on the 8th but can give me no tracking numbers. It has been dumping snow so I figure it is just a little late. Not much to do but wait it out over the weekend, no worries. Keeping a positive attitude I was very convinced it was all going to work out.
By Monday morning I had all my stuff packed and was sitting on the couch twiddling my thumbs waiting for the mail. Yeah just like the good old days or something like that. By twelve I had checked twice, called three times with no luck. No more mail for the day, I figured I was shit out of luck, no India at least not on schedule. I was exhausted from the last couple of weeks and feeling a little bummed. There wasn’t much I could do but wait, and hey it was snowing so it could be worse.
Six’o’clock my phone rings, it is Anthony Bonello at the consulate. Somehow after demanding an answer of where my visa and passport where, he has tracked down my visa still at the office. Unbelievably at the last possible hour my passport is found. My stoke level went through the roof and started driving towards Vancouver in a wicked snow storm. A couple of red bulls later I made it into Vancouver.
Now, somehow I am on a plane to India which is pretty damn amazing. That is just part of the joys of traveling, you can’t get mad you can only embrace it.
This trip is a real doozy, two weeks in India, heli available, snow in the forecast and wicked crew; Anthony Bonello (our fearless leader and camera man), Blake Jorgenson ( the one and only) and Tristan Knoertzer (the young shredding Frenchman)
This place has completely blown my mind, I’m not sure why it surprises me that the Himalayas are so sick! Gulmarg is just the foothills to the big mountains, I can’t imagine what hidden gems they behold. That being said sometimes bigger isn’t always better and the powder tree skiing here is on par with the best tree skiing that I have ever done.
We are well into our trip now, we are adjusting to the different ways of life. Things don’t start early here, so when it is good out you have to adjust your patience level. It all works out at some point. The food has been great and we are adjusting to being cold and slightly damp most of the time. Simple luxuries we take for granted at home, such as regular heat and power are no longer a luxury.
Where and how to go skiing? This is a little more complicated because there are a lot different options and many different variables. Is the gondi opening, is it clear enough to fly or do you just hang out down low and do road laps? Luckily we have been using the heli when we can fly but it seems to be best for only one run in the morning and then we get fogged out. This is working out great because we bring our skins and can spend all day out there.
Special Thanks To;