May 2009 Surf's Up ?

Preparing the summer camp

Although the winter season ended pretty early, I really enjoyed it. The hotel was great, the snow superb, the company excellent. But summer comes near and I signed up again for the surf camps of FlowTrack, where I was responsable for the group camps last year.

This year I am officially called Head planning/coach. Whats in a name, I think planning and coaching will be my main priority, but running most of the organisation and day to day operations will probably be in my hands for some part as well. I will leave to Spain the 1st of June, so I can join the buildup team to start building the 4 camps we will be running this summer.

I will be responsable for some 'administrative' buildup, which includes getting the toilet blocks organised, getting an internet connection for our camp office, getting all the documentation and software ready for the catering, surf and bar teams, the planning modules, etc, but I will also cater for the builders and follow up on inventories and such...

So hopefully the weather gods will be in good spirits the next few weeks, because building up 4 camps goes way easier when the sun is shining !

I ll keep you posted on my life at the surf camp right here, so keep on Tripping !

13/03/2009 To snow or not to snow ?

Powder

This has been the most snow rich season here for over 20 years. Lucky me ! It has just been fantastic riding on some days. I remember the crazy powder bowls in New Zealand, but there you needed to walk an hour or more to reach the start of a clean bowl. Here we have been leaning back on clean powder hills almost straight from the lift. Powder in Ehrwald They are not the longest runs, but connecting all little and large tracks together it is just pure powder pleasure. Especially in Ehrwald, crossing right from the top two seater lift, it is just pure surfing pleasures. I set my bindings as far apart as I can, and it feels like riding a wave, just leaning on the backfoot, taking just a few turns, using only the body balance.

Two days ago it snowed so much that half of the runs were not prepped, so we didn't even have to go off track for pow pow. But fresh pow pow also means that it has been snowing a lot, so visibility hasn't always been great. The few sunny days we had were usually way too warm, making the snow slushy in the afternoons, and icy in the morning. Great for apres ski at Otto's pistentreff though, with sunglasses and gluhwein !

The work has been good too. Some weeks we had real active groups, lots of party peopleJaeger apres ski with Wouter and Wilfried who took the apres ski pretty serious ! Others liked to do more on their own, with no need of the animation team. The coming week-end there is a special incentive with the normal guest (39 pax) and an extra group of 54 people. The latter need an extended program so we will be very busy this week-end, with a Quiz, abseiling in the hotel and snow cycles on the slopes !

I put some mixed pictures of this winter, check it out, and...

Keep on Tripping !

02/02/2009 Snow at the Cube

Cubalicious

I have been 3 weeks in Biberwier Austria now. Me and the other travel rep, Daniel, stay at the modern Cube hotel (google it), which is pretty comfy ! The snow is just outside, the music pumpin and the apres ski very Austrian. The latter means serious Tiroler apres ski music, dancing on the tables, half liter beers and Jaeger shots in between.

The travel reps

But we are getting used to this 'way of life' and call for alcohol free days, most days of the week now ;-).The snow has been really good the first 2 weeks. Lots of fresh pow pow, followed by some sunny weather. Lately it has been pretty cold, freezing up the slopes in the afternoon, which in turns means you better have ice skates and a hockey suit to go downhill. Another solution is to start the apres ski early, alcohol frei of course.

Wim and Daniel

The guests have been fun too ! The first were mainly from Thomas Cook and Neckermann itself. Luckily we left a really good impression so they are going to sell these short and midweek skitrips like hot cookies ! We have guests arriving Saturday morning, who leave on Monday. And another group of maximum 40 pax arriving Monday, leaving next Saturday.

Wim at work

We do the welcoming, apres ski, a ski safari, a quiz, a nightwalk, and answer any questions to provide the guests a nice holiday ! So far so good, we still have time to go on the slopes and have some fun. The only problem is the hotel. Although it is great, the management doesn't mind overbooking my room and the busdriver's rooms. Which meant I already moved 3 times in 3 weeks, moving again on Thursday and Wednesday... Hopefully this issue gets solved, and then this job is just pretty perfect.

Enjoy the snow and ... Keep on Tripping !

25/12/2008 Finally tripping again

Winter snow

Its Xmas time and everything is getting alright. Just got my contract for the winter job and a commitment towrds the summer has been made. Looks like a lot more tripping is coming up for 2009.

2008 had some more tripping since the last time I wrote. To make it short, a lot of shit happened, an accident, or 2, a lost court case, terminal illnes... And when I was finally escaping misery and belgium again for 7 weeks, the plans for Australia got cancelled last minute... So I made my own escape with 19 days of Moroccan surf and 10 days of Roman culture ! The surf in Morocco was great. Definately a place I will go back, with some friends and good waves. In Rome I visited my friends Sofie and Laura. GReat to see Laura again after 6 years. Still the same and lots of laughs and good memories. Sofie is working for 4 months in Rome and is enjoying the local culture and food a lot, and trying to understand the somewhat complicated italian way of life, or better the way italians make life complicated !

But now up to Austria, where I will be the rep for Thomas Cook shortskis at the Cube hotel in Biberwier ! Lots of riding and lots of apres-ski guaranteed. Australia might come up after that, before another 4 month stint in Spain.

So all the best for 2009, and ... Keep on Tripping !!!!

27/07/2008 Flowtrack surf camp continued

How swell !

While I am writing this I am sitting in my Brazilian hammock, under the porch of the Flowtrack surfbar, waiting for a caipirinha, recuperating form a very chill surf session. Not bad at all this surfcamp. Ok, it is not always this chill, I did have some long working days, didn't take a full day of the first 4 weeks.

But the previuos week we had a a crew change. So a lot of new (white) face to replace some suntanned tired colleages. Perfect for a dissappearing act ! Albano, the guy who arranges all the outdoor activities here, gave me a ride towards the Picos the Europa, and dropped me of with a backpack ready for the mountains. I hitched a ride to Fuente De, where I took the teleferico up to 1800 meters. The plan was to hike in 5 hours to refugio Muriello, which is right next to El Naranjo, a famous climbing wall. A lot of uphill but after 4 hours I reached the hut, and was just in time to order dinner and a bed for the night.

Finally some time to get exhausted fysically and get empty mentally. Also received some good news about my dad, he is officially cured now. FANTASTIC news !

The first day was easy so I wanna return over another steeper route. And steep it is. Had to do some climbing on the way up, hoping that the downside was less steep. Great views on El Naranjo, and all the way to the ocean. I am lucky with the weather again, and also with meeting an old spanish hiker with GPS ! He guides me to the route I am looking for and after 6 hard hours I am back at the teleferico and on the way home. Home as in 'flowtrack surf camp'.

Now another week has started, the chillest one before the busy ones. So enjoying a bit of free time and surf, now that there is both.

Keep on Surfing !

13/07/2008 Flowtrack surf camp

Work and Play

So far its been good and it is even getting better. The first few weeks were filled with work, getting the camps ready for the first wave of guests. The last few weeks have mainly been finetuning. So I am rather proud that right now this camp is running like a well oiled machine.

The people I work with are just fantastic. Great atmosphere and lots of initiative make this job more enjoyable than your regular 9 to 5 job.

And yes, there have been some good waves and I have been able to get some nice rides on my little fish. Still lots to learn but soo much fun. The surf instructors give me some helpful tips from time to time. The evening entertainment is mainly in our own chill bar at the camp and in a little club called Solaire just next to the campsite. Those rum and cokes are dangerous though...

Keep on Surfing !

16/06/2008 Leaving for Spain

Leaving Belgium

No I am not sad to leave Belgium. People keep asking me this, but the answer is no. I am actually rather happy, I am going on a new adventure, a new challenge. And the fact that I am going to the sunshine, the beach and the waves, ... Say no more.

So in a few hours Pe is going to pick me and my gear up in his Vito van. I hope all my stuff fits in, hehe. 1 bag with clothes, 1 bag with funs stuff (hammocks, frisbee, climbing gear, mozzie net,poker set,...) and a big bag of surfgear ;-) The weather in Spain looks to be getting better, and if the predictions are right, there will be pretty ok surf Thursday and Friday !

Keep on Surfing !