And they’re off…

Thanks for checking out my blog page for this #skiaroundtheworld adventure.  This whole blogging thing is new to me, so bear with me.  Hopefully it doesn’t put you to sleep. As Kim politely asked/pointed out to me the other day: “Can you even write creatively after writing nothing but technical reports for the last several years??”.  Good question.  We are about to find out.

Although the date on my plane ticket says this trip started on January 29th, the reality is this trip started more than 20 years ago, when my parents decided to move to a little town in Northern Ontario, called Mattawa.  Until that time, downhill skiing to me was only a sport that you watched on TV.  When we moved to Mattawa my parents, who both skied growing up, quickly got Matt, Jennifer and I out on to the local hill, Mount Antoine.  My dad likes to guilt us nowadays that had he known the three of us would have all moved out west, in part because of the mountains, never would have taught us to ski.  I don’t really believe him.

I still remember that first chairlift ride at Antoine, thinking I was getting in to “big” terrain.  Since then, skiing has become a part of me and has led to some great adventures and memories, from our family ski trips growing up to Mont Tremblant, Mont Ste-Anne, and Le Massif, to reading weeks with Uncle Arist in the BC Interior and Alberta Rockies, to thousands of kilometres driving across the US to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and, more recently, to far flung ski destinations like Japan and Gulmarg, India. You can ski in India?!

At some point along the way, probably after gallivanting around Europe for three months at the age of 18, it became a goal of mine to go on a “round the world” the trip. When I first started thinking about it, I had no idea where, or when, but only that I wanted to be able to say that I’d travelled around the world. Like in a circle.  The actual destinations and itinerary would figure themselves out in time.  After Matt and I got back from India, one of our ski objectives became to ski on every continent (at that point we were only at 2). And then all of a sudden, the travel bug and ski obsession merged into one and created the basis for this adventure that I’m now kicking off.  Seven months. A round the world plane ticket. With skis in tow.  For the record, the massive ski bag that I’m dragging around is already starting to annoy me.  And it’s only day 3.

So for now, here is what the overall itinerary looks like.  I hope you’ll continue to read along, send me messages, and enjoy the ride as much as I plan to.

February –  High Atlas Mountains, Morocco. Africa:  Yes, you can ski in Africa.  It even looks fun!  On February 3 we will touch town in Marrakech and then set out on a two-week traverse of the High Atlas Mountains, starting with Morocco’s “finest” ski resort, Oukaimeden.  From there we’ll head south on skis to three separate valleys, each of which are equipped with mountain huts, warm food, and plenty of skiable lines.  Once the skiing is finished we’ll take in some of Morocco’s sites, including the dizzying markets of Marrakech, the Sahara desert, and surfing on the Atlantic coast.

March and April – The Alps, France, Switzerland, Italy. Europe.  We’re in Chamonix, France now, and this will be our base for seven weeks once we get back from Morocco.  Today we picked up our season passes so we are all set to explore the many, many, many couloirs, steeps, and views that the area has to offer.

May – Nepal. Asia:  There won’t be any skiing for this segment of the trip,  and besides -I’ve already skied in Asia twice, including the Himalayas 😉 BUT, we will get to tick off one of my major bucket list items, which is a trek to Everest Base Camp.  And I haven’t even mentioned the best part – I get to do the whole thing with my girlfriend Kim.

June – Indonesia.  Asia:  After knocking ourselves out in the high Himalayas for a month, we’ll need some serious R&R, so after a short stopover in Bangkok, Kim and I will be heading to check out some of the Indonesian islands, for surfing, snorkeling and dragons.

July – The Southern Alps, New Zealand:  Kim heads home at the end of June and for my first Southern Hemisphere continent I’ll be spending a month skiing in New Zealand. Ya ya, some of you might say that New Zealand isn’t part of the “Australian” continent, but I’m counting it anyway.  A) the skiing in Australia proper isn’t worth stopping for (no offence to anyone :)) and B) there isn’t enough time to do both countries.  So I’ll be heading straight to land of Middle Earth with the plan to drive from coast to coast to coast to ski and see all of the incredible sights New Zealand has to offer.

August – The Andes, Chile and Argentina, South America:  The last stop on the trip.  Three and half weeks to explore Patagonia down the west side of the Andes through Chile and back the eastern side through Argentina.  Wrap up the whole trip with a week long ski vacation at the iconic Portillo, just north of Santiago.