Comps 2; Countries 5; Beers too many, Jobs lost 1: road trip!

March 19, 2007 @ 10:03 AM – Gemma Freeman

My numero uno official blog for Cooler starts at a poignant point; sometimes it’s worth sacrificing money to follow your heart.

As a freelance writer the last month’s been pretty busy: I’ve started writing for Cooler which I’m stoked about plus keeping busy with the UK snow mags, going on trips and even braving the odd icy fridge session at Milton Keynes Sno!Zone. Yep you guessed it: I sacrificed the seasonaire dream to take a well paid, but part time job in London but have still been burning a flame for the 100 days dream. Was it worth it?

First trip of the year I went to Morzine, Avoriaz, in the Portes Du Soleil, France, for the O’Neill Pro Freestyle competition Jan 28th to Feb 3rd (read Karen Willmer’s report on the event here).

The City Rail session went off on the Thursday with the Netherlands Cheryl Maas stomping backflips off the whale rail, as well as some ballsy boardslides from my fellow MK local Laura Berry.

Then on March 1st I embarked on a road trip for Document Snowboard leaving London at 11pm to catch the overnight ferry at Calais, then drive through France for the second Battle Of Waterloo – a UK vs. France friendly snowboard comp – held once again in Avoriaz-Morzine. We arrived on Friday night after a dump on Thursday, which had led to the comp being postponed to Sunday. With the large Arare pack flattened, the park shapers had one day to get a pro park prepared. With bluebird skies, and a large crowd of locals, seasonaires and holiday makers assembled as the comp started they almost pulled it off.

Firstly there was an AM comp in the morning, but with no French ladies taking part Posy Dixon won the girls, followed by Gilly Seagrave and ballsy scottish local lass Kirstie, despite getting rushed to hospital with a broken back and hip after throwing a huge back 360 to flat. (She’s still walking, being very brave and slowly recovering – and is determined to get back on her board).

They may have been wearing ‘I heart France’ vests but the British team weren’t feeling the park that Sunday, as Scott McMorris and Josh Wolf dropped out of the comp after watching team members batter themselves – the week before the British Champs and US Open – breaking collar bones (Laura Berry), dislocating shoulders (Gary Greenshields) and more.

However the French weren’t complaining: most of them grew up nearby resort so they easily retained their title with local legend and DC rider Jonathen Menthon and park shaper Ben going huge off the bottom black kicker. There was no hard feelings however, as after a boozy apres comp meal, both teams were spotted getting plastered together in The Cavern, Morzine, which spilled into some shape throwing on the dancefloor at Opera.

With a stonking hangover and half an hour to still-drunk pack, on Monday morning the Document crew began the next stage of our road trip: the double bill resort tour of Diedamskopf and Silvretta Nova, in the Vorarlberg area of Austria. Jo Chastney (pictured below) and Posy Dixon joined us for a couple of days of shooting, rail sessions, exploring, cliff drops, riding damn fast and some interesting Austrian faux lesbo Apres art work. Classy! Despite rain and white outs it was a super fun trip. Read details in the autumn…

After the retro resorts of Austria we headed over the border to the super tech freestyle haven that is Laax, Switzerland, for the British Snowboard and Freeski champs. The weather was worryingly warm for mid March, but sun and bluebird feels incredible when you’ve been cooped up in smoggy London waiting for the snow.

Poppy was there too – read all the details in her blog here.

Check out Jo and Posy in action at the Boardercross below…

After possibly one of my fave ever snowboard and three days surrounded by mates at the Brits, I had to head back home to London on Tuesday for my non freesports freelance job. Gutted I was missing half the event and closing parties, I got a lift through Lichtenstein, to the weirdest airport ever – Friedrichshafen in Germany. Then my phone beeped with a voicemail from the London job: “my freelance services were no longer needed.” Damn. I almost cried.

Although, fate moves in mysterious ways. I could feel sorry for myself, but the season’s kicking off and I can already smell summer’s surf, skate and wake sessions. So this year, instead of wishing and reading other people’s reports cooped up in an office, I may have less cash, but I’ll be the one out there writing about it. Don’t let lack of funds hold you back: live the dream and get involved.