Sail to Ski

It took me most of my life to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was skiing overlooking the Arctic ocean in the Lyngen Alps.

But why?

Why while descending a mountain at full speed?

After a few days pondering, I understood it all: I was standing in the shoulder of Giants.

All of a sudden I had a keener vision.

I was being lifted up and reborn like a phoenix upon the gigantic stature and knowledge of the people around me.

And as I digested every moment with each of them and listened with that part of the wayward mind where the heart rules, the part where we never forget what we feel and see and hear, all was clear.

All was sight.

On any given day, we sailed, we hiked up empty mountain peaks with skins on our skies and skied down back to our sailing boat.

And while we walked and talked we buried all problems and I ingested their stories and their lives into my own.

But my story doesn’t begin with walks, or with the Norwegian mountains where this moment of clarity happened; it goes back to that first day I met Red and Leo.

Fate put me in the game right there.

Two adventurers I am proud to call Today my brothers.

Two men from which Adventure itself lives, breathes and means.

Two explorers that when the time comes and they invite you to join a trip with them, you must say yes.

And so, I said yes to this sail to ski trip.

And so, the day of departure came and when I finally met Leo at the yacht, he said with a smile:

‘All right, this is how it goes… skis and poles at the front of the boat, boots and ski clothes in the exterior saloon, everything else: in your room! Clear? Perfect. Let’s go!’.

That was it. It was on.

Clear. Concise. Adventurous.

The arctic ocean smells of the stir and sleep and waste of fish. Smells like cod. It smells of labour, and the struggle to live despite the cold, and of the crucial hazards that produce human courage. It smells of empty mountain peaks, one thousand fjords, cliffs, frozen lakes, and rivers. It smells of northern lights, whales, orcas and dangerous ski tours.

Whenever I return in my mind to that yacht, now, it’s that sense that connects—that smell, above all things—that welcomes me and tells me how much I miss my arctic floating home.

There are only two key-points that made me arrive to that moment of clarity during my descend:

1. The people

2. The experience

The first two people I met where ‘the Austrians‘—Flo & Patrick.

These two legends came straight up north from the Austrian Alps after having skied for more than 250 days with only one goal: to disconnect.

Ask them if you see them, but they made it.

Living in a yacht in the middle of nowhere has its perks.

They disconnected, and by doing so, I think they were able to reconnect again with themselves.

They were my ski guides. With all the skills and philosophy I aspire to attain one day. Both in the mountains and outside of them.

‘The Duchies’ came after—Matijn and Bram. Two tall, strong and happy men.

It couldn’t be any different. They have been friends for a long time, and when the love is real, it expands. It pollutes the atmosphere.

We have so much to thank to these two great skiers for they brought to the yacht what for them was already a given: the necessary spirit of friendship.

Martijn also is the creator of Open Wear.

I’m taking 2018 off of shopping. But if I was to buy something, an Open Wear equipment would be one of the few things I’d happily buy.

Made to last. Polluting the less they can. Tons of style. Done.

Otherwise ‘the skier Germans’—Maxi and Tim would not be wearing Open Wear proudly.

What a solid pair these two, I must say.

They live in Munich and in their free time travel around Europe ski touring and roaming from mountain to mountain looking for powder days. Living life like it should be lived.

It’s strange, the trip has ended and I haven’t still ceased to learn from all of them.

No long after, I met the ’the Brits’Eddy and Tom.

Children of the meadows and the highlands of the UK and Scotland.

Hard to kill men.

Well-made men.

Their lifestyle speaks for itself:

– Tom lives in the Oxford woods in a self-made wood cabin.

– Eddy, an explorer, roams the world always dressed with his self-made clothing brand Fidir.

They were always the first with the fish in their hands. The first diving in gelid waters. The first cooking amazing meals. The first bringing the best tunes. The first at all things outdoors. They were just… well-made men that came, and shared.

In my cabin was Andrew: a mountain man.

A man who adores the outdoors and has tremendous knowledge about mountains, forests, deserts,… and therefore, who has tremendous knowledge about life.

Andrew is one of those guys, who you love to listen to.

And when you listen, you see through the speaker’s eyes.

I liked looking through my Canadian friend eyes.

There was another Canadian. A girl I had met before. Her name is Rose:

A woman so sweet, yet so brave.

She loves and she shares and she makes you feel like a star. Bright.

I wonder if there is any team or group of people or man or friend who would not love having a woman like her. Someone that with words – sets you free.

Rose will do that. She’ll have the best words for you to be brave enough. Good enough. The best you.

I describe all these friends in order of appearance in this trip so here come ‘the Americans’Eric and Scott:

Two young and strong entrepreneurs.

Scott, a tall guy with a great moustache who has created the world’s first portable gluten sensor: Nima.

In order to help heal his Ulcerative Colitis, he developed a product that helps every  allergic human to gluten have a better life.

That is living. Creating for oneself, and then giving. What a giant.

Eric was yet another legend Leo and Red invited to this trip.

I say legend because when you can interact, share, laugh and have fun as much as he has, you instantly want to know more about him.

Doing all these things as well as he does, I understand why he spends his working ours as founder of The Outpost, a weekend retreat of activities that spark new connections with like-minded people and brands from outdoor industries. Nobody in the world could do something like this better than him.

Thanks Eric, for inspiring the whole group to think bigger and better.

Both of these guys generated a profound feeling of admiration and aspiration in me.

The exact dose I needed for my conclusion.

Last (but definitely no least) were the ‘the Brit Gals’Flo and Sophie; both of them great skiers who dared to join a trip composed by mainly men.

They nurtured all the relationships among us. Always with a smile.

Flo is a photographer with a permanent loving kindness attitude towards life.

She took most of the best photos you see on the right.

She dared to swim in the icy waters. She just dares. Making her an icon.

Sophie joined the trip because her sister could not. I’m glad she did. She brought the wit and clarity I needed to discover what I discovered that magical day.

Sophie knows, understands and shares. Thanks Soph.

Oh damn, almost forgot about Jonas and Tomas—the skippers of the boats!

What can I say? They are both one with nature. They are part of the sails and the winds and they seamlessly flow in and around the sea.

To understand this, you might have to meet them and see.

Long live these two men and their ocean dreams.

I learnt lots of things in those days.

It took me most of my life to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me during this trip.

To stand in your peeps shoulders so you can see all the things they see.

So the world sees.

The future is in our hands.

And I tell you readers out there: if all men are like these…

Every time you can: stand in there.

Forget about long-terms dreams.

Let’s be passionately dedicated to the pursuit of short-term goals.

Micro-ambitious.

Work with passion and pride on what is in front of us.

Be it hiking up a mountain. Sliding down through it. Or anything else.

We don’t know where we might end up or when it might all end up.

I can’t know where it goes from here for any of us.

But after this trip, wherever we go and whatever we do, may we always be friends when we meet again.


Experience Provider: Pukka Travels

Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski
Sail to Ski