After figuring out whether to fix the bindings regular or goofy, there was nothing to stop him. Getting a feeling for the right balance is the first step to a successful snowboarding career. Secret hint for anyone who wants to have a go – do not wear too many thermals on a warm day! Our friend lost an estimated 3 litres of sweat this day…
I was really impressed by Aaron’s performance. He said he did water skiing before. Good on ya mate!
I don’t know how often he fell over that day, but he always got up again. Good spirit, and that’s how you learn it.
Champion performance! Have fun practising on Mount Ruapehu as soon as the season starts!
Glad to welcome Aaron, a friend who came for a short visit from Aotearoa.
Two years ago, I did some experiments with Christian and Rob, another Kiwi who came over from New Zealand for a visit. Back then, we thought that proper winter pants were fully overrated. We also thought that a rubbish bag is good enough for getting down a mountain. I guess this is still true, but if you do have a Zipflbob, why would you want to torture yourself? Kudos to Rob though – true explorer spirit riding a rubbish bag down a world cup run in shorts!
Anyway – today, two years down the track, we have learnt our lessons and wanted to pass on our experience. We got Aaron dressed up and introduced him to Zipflbob. They immediately made friends with each other and Zipflbob promised he’d give everything on the descent.
But first, it was time do some climbing. Inspired by the Kiwi experience, Zipflbob made his way through the fresh and deep snow.
This is when you feel like a true explorer.
Zipflbob on untrodden ground.
You have to admit, Aaron does look a bit like Jack Nicholson preparing for a Zipflbob ride.
Lift your feet and lean backwards to increase speed. Press you feet into the snow and pull the Zipflbob back to break and get your face covered in snow.
I reckon there is some business case potential in developing little solar powered goggle wipers.
After we already had spring temperatures up to 19 degrees C last weekend, winter thought this really is pathetic and decided to come back for some extra time. It was snowing pretty hard for about 2 days – then we got a bloody cold night with temperatures around -15 degrees C. When I got up the next day and drove to work, the landscape just looked fantastic. All trees were coated with ice crystals, the sun was shining and the sky put on the best blue in stock.
Now there was something really interesting I discovered on that day as well. I had taken a banana to work the day before, but had forgotten it was still in the car. Trust me, the banana was yellow. Not green, not brown – it was yellow. However, during that freezing night, an interesting metamorphosis must have been happening. The banana turned dark brown – or to be honest, it almost turned pitch-black. It looked pretty much like the bananas you get when you wrap them in aluminium foil and chuck them into the fire for a while to enjoy them with vanilla ice cream and honey afterwards.
On the weekend, we took Zipflbob and his girlfriend, Zipfljo, out for some winter hiking. We thought it would be a good day to show them the Zipfbob god monuments. They are really famous, but Zipflbob had never seen them before.
We continued our walk and came past a huge caterpillar, which was parked next to the track.
Zipflbob got very excited and in the 5 seconds when we didn’t pay attention, Zipflbob was already on his way.
Luckily, there were no keys left, so we got him off the drivers seat before he could do anything stupid. A little further on our way, we discovered some snow-capped conglomerate rocks, which are called Nagelfluh. We explained to Zipflbob that these rocks were formed long before he was born. I think he was very impressed when he heard that a nature reserve called „Naturpark Nagelfluh“ would be created soon.
After about an hour and a half, we got to the top and Zipflbob took in the view.
He loves the mountains and he was happy to come up here and enjoy the 360 panorama with his girfriend, Zipfljo.
They moved close together and Zipflbob told Zipfljo that he loved her and wanted to be with her for his whole life. He said that he wanted to have many many Zipflbob kids with her and then also take them up here. They kissed and then prepared for the downhill ride home.
The runs were in top condition and since there were few people on the slopes, we allowed Zipflbob and Zipfljo to go full speed. It was heaps of fun and some of the best Zipflbob riding we’ve done this winter. Zipflbob, Zipfljo – YOU ROCK!
I wrote about how spring is driving away winter really early this year. Well, we thought we should do a trip to Zipfelbob’s home. May quite well be the last chance for some Zipflbob action this season. Since I presented the flower shot yesterday, here is another proof for global warming – end of February and we’ve got the butterflies coming out. Hope the little bugger will find some of those flowers we saw yesterday, otherwise he’ll have a hard time waiting for the nectar to become available.
The slopes that are more exposed to direct sunlight loose snow earlier. So while there is still a fair bit of snow on the slopes that get only a few hours of sunlight during the day, you can pretty much walk on browns grass on the sunny slopes already.
And here we are – this place is called „Zipfelsalpe“ and it is where Zipflbob was born. Seriously this is where Zipflbob grew up and went to Zipflbob school. He also met his first Zipflbob girlfriend here, before he decided to look for a dignified rider, leave home and see the big world to enjoy the real adventures.
He used to play on the roof – he actually still enjoys doing that.
Too bad we didn’t have much more time to take Zipflbob out on the home slopes for some spring riding. I’m sure he really appreciated the trip though!
In summer, you can see amazing limestone formations which are covered by snow in winter. Take a closer look and you can spot ski touring tracks. Don’t take it too easy though – there are huge holes hidden underneath – just like crevasses in glaciers.
Guess why they build doors that open to the inside.
Hope you don’t mind people walking on your roof. If you do, create some artificial crevasses by leaving a few windows open.
Conditions got better in the afternoon and the snow storm eventually calmed down. We were already on our way back, carefully avoiding the crevasses and keeping a safe distance from the wall with its huge cornices.
And then we saw him. We really did. The Zipflbob God himself.
Inspired by our spiritual encounter, we felt ready for another first descent.
On our way back to basecamp, we gathered for an expedition team photograph. Everyone was still stunned. Zipflbob god was with us all day.
We followed our tracks from earlier that day to get back to the hut, already anticipating the fireplace and a warm welcome with fresh sherpa tea from our expedition cook.
Some didn’t believe that we really knocked off the bastard. They also didn’t believe that we saw Zipflbob god. But we did.
Sick of all the people with the flashest, latest, high-tech skiing gear, jamming all the slopes? If you are, you should seriously consider to turn back to the roots – And I kind a mean it literally.
And you don’t need to have running shoes – some good old mountain boots will do the job just as well. Much more important are your coordination skills anyway. Trust your equipment and most important, trust yourself. Some people reckon, being pissed at least helps the latter one.
Then get ready and go for it. On a side note, jumping is a bit tricky as chances are high you will slip out of the strap.
And if you do fall… Stand up and try again and again and again…
The speed record that day was set by a woman. No fear, no light, no doubts.
Yeah, there was already a fair bit of snow when we woke up that morning and it looked like there was more to come. We got all our gear together, then found a volunteer to do the hard work and lead the group. When we left the hut, it was snowing pretty hard and we were expecting tough conditions on the upper slopes. We had heard of a Swiss expedition, which had reached the south col earlier this year, but since then, snow storms have battered the mountain and there were no further attempts on this extremely exposed new route.
We reached the steep rock face about 2 hours later and Sebastian lead the first pitch. We carefully explored the cracks and structures of the wall as we were confident that it was possible to do a first Zipflbob descend.
We passed overhanding rock faces and started to feel the altitude. The oxygen level at this point dropped down to about 10% of the concentration at sea level. Although it was tough, we did not use any portable oxygen on our climb. Instead, the stronger people in the group used mouth-to-mouth breathing to help out the weak.
Again, we encountered difficult terrain. Lukas had to lead climb a 9c pitch, before we reached the summit plateau.
The summit slopes turned out to be even steeper than expected. Step after step, we climbed the 70 degrees slope.
Just about 50m from the summit, we had to call it a climb. It was just way to dangerous to go any further from here. Avalanches, high winds and freezing temperatures forced us to dig shelter and prepare for our descent. Eddie and Susi decided that it would be best to descent the mountain the most direct route and we were mentally preparing ourselves for the first time ever Zipflbob descent of this mountain.
Guess why it is called Zipflbob („cock bob“)
Who needs goggles anyway?
… to be continued…
We’re not gonna tell anyone about the special power drink in the bottle. Let’s just say it is some kind of immunization for a sore bum. Yeah – you DO need it. No way you can beat our record times without it, as you’d tend to break more often. A few more practice runs and we are ready to sign up for the Zipflbob Word Championships in Austria. Got interested? You’ll find plenty of information on www.zipflbob.com – Guess how fast they say you can go on such a beast? 139km/h – that’s just nuts! Wonder what that guy had in his bottle…?