by Seth Lightcap. posted on 19 March
Jones Ambassador Geraldine Fasnacht crossing South Georgia island. Photos - Bertrand Delapierre
Honored to share a special trip report from an esteemed new Jones Ambassador. We are thrilled to begin working with the legendary Swiss snowboarder, base jumper and wingsuit flyer Geraldine Fasnacht. Geraldine is a veteran competitor with 11 Freeride World Tour wins to her name including 3 Verbier Extreme titles. She retired from competition in 2010 to focus on base jumping and expeditions.
In October 2014 Geraldine set sail for an incredible snowboarding adventure honoring the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s pioneering crossing of South Georgia island off the coast of Antarctica. Geraldine and her team followed Shackleton’s route from Elephant Island to South Georgia island and then retraced his infamous footsteps by traveling 50 km across the island on splitboards and skis. After completing the crossing they went on to establish first descents on other peaks.
Read on for images from the expedition and thoughts from Geraldine about the epic journey:
On October 4th we set sail from the Ushuaia Harbor at the tip of Cape Horn on the Austrailis, a polar expedition sailboat. We were a team of nine, most of us from different backgrounds including a scientist and two soldiers. There were three primary objectives for the trip: trace Shackleton’s route from Elephant island to South Georgia island and across, gather scientific data about polar ocean currents and glaciers, and if conditions allowed, climb and ride virgin peaks.
Crossing the Drake Passage to Elephant island took us three days. The seas were very rough so it was a tough crossing for me. Reminded me that water is not my element...
Arriving at Elephant island we were greeted by fantastic Southern Lights and incredible wildlife. The wind died slightly allowing us to take a boat ashore and make our first turns of the trip on huge glaciers that poured down into the ocean.
After a couple days on Elephant island we set sail for South Georgia island. The rough crossing took us four days. Shackleton and his men did the crossing in 16 days.
Upon reaching South Georgia we prepped our gear for an immediate attempt at crossing the island from West to East. After launching into the mountains for one night, bad weather forced us back to the boat to wait out the storm. We spent the next two days riding steep couloirs that end at the beach while waiting to begin the crossing again.
With a clear forecast, plans were made to leave early the next morning. Bertrand the photographer and I left the boat at 3am that next morning with the intention of climbing and riding a beautiful virgin face on Trident Mountain before we continue the crossing with the rest of the team.
That morning brought the most beautiful weather we had seen since the beginning of our trip. The views were impressive as we could finally see all the mountains around us. At the bottom of the face we switched to crampons as the face was long 1000 meters and steep 50°degrees. The ambiance was fabulous climbing up next to big ice flutes. At the top we could see from one side of the island to the other. Dropping in the snow was perfect as it had stuck to the ice layer underneath.
At the bottom of the run we met up with the rest of the crew and skied another 20km before we set up camp for the night. That was a big day!
The next morning we completed the traverse to the Grytviken fjord and rode a couloir down to the boat. The quick crossing left us hungry for more adventure so we set sail south to the Sandwich Islands. We sailed for another three days during which we helped Zoe the scientist collect ocean current data.
Bad weather cleared just as we arrived at the Sandwich Islands allowing us to go onshore and ride the Zovadoski volcano. When we landed on the beach all the penguins were playing and surfing on the waves. The snow was hard and icy but the views were so special that we didn’t care about the bad snow conditions. We were on top of a volcano in the middle of the Southern ocean surrounded by seals and penguins - truly a dream.
But every good time has to come to an end and that meant sailing back north to the Falkland islands. The seas were once again rough which made the seven day crossing the hardest part of the trip for me. Whale watching made it a bit nicer but I have never been so happy to stand on flat ground when we finally docked the Austrailis.
This teaser video narrated in French shows live action and riding footage from the expedition. The full-length film by trip leader Luc Hardy is entitled “’The Pursuit of Endurance - On the Shoulders of Shackleton” and premieres this March 27 and 29 at the Bow Tie Cinema in Greenwich, Connecticut. More info on the event here:
Follow more of Geraldine’s adventures in the mountains here:
by Seth Lightcap. posted on 10 March
Day for day, year after year, February is still the heavyweight champion of pow-tastic months around the Northern Hemi. While Feb 2015 did not set many, if any, snow records, no doubt the pow hunter’s sweetheart month delivered enough good lovin’ to maintain the title for another year...
Kicking off the report, check out this slash from the Teton backcountry by Jeremy Jones (@JeremyJones). The Tetons went off in Feb as the avy danger was unusually low.. You could ride steep lines in good pow that are usually unsafe. Photo - Allison Lightcap (@allisonlightcap)
Jumping across the pond, the Film For Food crew (@filmforfood) was doin’ their thing in Saas Fee, Switzerland. Here’s Wyatt Stasinos, Cory Stasinos (@coco-stasi) and Alessandro Boyens (@aleboyens) crushing a party run. Photo - @brown_anthony
You can bet Sten Smola (@sten_smola) was out and about in the Swiss Alps as well. Here’s a shot from one of his splitboard missions in the Valais.
No surprise where Luca Pandolfi (@pandolf73) scored epic Feb pow... under the cables on the Hellbroner, Italy
Congrats to Miikka Hast (@miikkaphoto) who became a father in February! He was understandably chilling at home in Finland with his wife and new daughter for the month but he still found some backyard pow turns on the Jones Mountain Surfer.
Ryland Bell (@rylandbell) stayed in Japan for the month of February. He found plenty of faceshots including a few mid-method, or as they call the trick in Japan, mid-old fashioned.
Whistler and the Coast range of BC are not having a great season. You know what that means? If you want fresh tracks you better be willing to earn them. Yuta Watanabe (@utawatanabe) is definitely willing.
Might look like pow turns but really these are one of the sweetest varietals of corn turns known to man... Taylor Carlton (@taylorc27) and crew tagged up Mount Shasta in the California Cascades.
No pow, no problem for Taylor Carlton (@taylorc27). He loves spring hucking on natural features like this Mount Shasta wind lip.
Forrest Shearer (@forrestshearer) found a tasty left-hander to surf in the Wasatch.
Did you see the latest addition to the Jones quiver yet?! We debuted the 2016 Storm Chaser at the SIA and ISPO tradeshows in February. This new pow-seeking missle is a collabo design with surf board shaper Chris Christenson (@chris_christenson73). Look out for the Storm Chaser at your local dealer next fall!
by Seth Lightcap. posted on 6 March
We’ve always known Chamonix guide Julien ’Pica’ Herry was on another level in the mountains but his latest accomplishment is simply mind bending...
On Feb 19th, Pica rode the first ever SWITCH descent of the Col Du Plan route on the North face of the Aiguille Du Midi. The first half of this 600m (1800 ft) line hangs over a massive cliff and the pitch is a stout 45°- 50°.
Pica has been a regular-footed rider for 20 years and he made every turn of this descent (including dozens of do-or-die jump turns) riding goofy on a Mountain Twin 157. Though he hasn’t given up on regular footed riding, Pica has plans for several other switch descents of classic steep lines. His goal is to break free of the chains of riding one direction such that he can find new possibilities for endless fun on a line regardless of whether it’s better riding for regular or goofy - next level!!
Check out this video of his SWITCH descent of the Col Du Plan above and catch a view of the line below:
Making it look easy in any direction, Julien drops in switch. Photo by Davide Capozzi
The Col du Plan - Nord. Photo by Ben Briggs
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