Saturday, September 21, 2013

It's Been Too Long...Greenland

For whatever reason, it's been hard for me to update this blog regularly. I've been busy for a while now. Since last fall it seems like I've been traveling way more. It's been amazing, but as a result this blog has been sacrificed to videos and the occasional post about something random that inspired me along the way.

I'd like to get back in the grove of posting more often and about more interesting promises (if anyone still reads this :).

Where do I start? This past season I focussed on filming with MSP. As I mentioned in a previous post, we went on an awesome trip to Pemberton, BC and camped out by Tenquill Lake. After the season came to an end in Whistler, I started my journey south back to California for a few days of rest then on the road again to Greenland with Warren Miller. The trip to Greenland was spectacular.

It was an unexpected way to finish off the winter. Warren Miller and The Climate Reality Project invited myself, Ted Ligety, and Mark Abma. We lived on a boat for over a week traveling to and from fjords until we found some terrain that we wanted to ski. The mountains were beautiful, the town was colorful, but it was the worst snow year in 26 years according to our guides.

The fact that the snow conditions weren't the best didn't really bother us. As our crew assembled we quickly bonded and I instantly knew it was going to be an awesome trip. Because of the camaraderie between all of us, Greenland was an absolute blast. 

It was amazing to travel to a place that I had never dreamed about. This exotic land that I didn't really know much about until I started to research before my trip became a very mysterious place to me. It's climate is so harsh and so cold. It's no wonder there are very few people, not to say that it is a bad place at all. You feel so desolate when you are out there in the mountains surrounded by ocean and very few people.  I found it to be majestic and so beautiful. 

It's vast land of ice that continued to stretch out over the whole island felt deep with history. When you looked into it up close you could see veins that ran for miles and miles. The depth of the color blue was so intense I tried hard to capture it in a photo, but inevitably failed to do so as nothing so beautiful and so deep could be captured by anything else other than the human eye.

 The ice was mesmerizing. I couldn't help, but to think about the film called Chasing Ice. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend checking it out. In the movie they speak about how this ice is in a constant state of change. It's melting. The planet is warming and the landscape is changing forever. The ice and the landscape that I saw when I was in Greenland, is not the same now and will never be the same. That thought is wild to me.

 That thought kept me staring into the depths of the ice. It was almost nerve wracking to listen to it melt. Watching drips fall off the ice and splash on the rock below made me cringe the first time I saw it until I was quickly swept away and distracted by the beauty surrounding me.

 I could see the potential in the mountains. The couliors looked amazing if there was good snow. Just our luck, the day we were leaving this zone, Mark and I decided to ski the Buddha Coulior. It was a nice sustained pitch dwarfed by huge rock walls on either side, similar to some in South America. Mark dropped in first and after he got to the bottom he radioed back to me to let me know the snow was surprisingly good.

I dropped in thinking that this might be the last run of my season as we weren't expecting to for sure be skiing after leaving the boat. It was a beautiful run. I skied straight up to Abma and immediately gave him a huge hug out of pure joy. The snow was awesome and it was by far the best run of our trip at that point.

Later on we ended up skiing a run with better snow quality. It was the first run on the trip that I felt snow hit my face. This run ended up being my last run of the trip and of the winter season. Our local guide at the bottom of the run mentioned that he's never seen anyone ski that line. Again, at the bottom we were all hugging out of pure joy once again. We spent all day in the mountains that day. The sun was up at 11:30 at night and we were just getting down out of the Alpine. It was really special to have that much daylight.

Greenland was and still is a bit of a mystery to me. Maybe it's because I felt like sometimes the streets were so empty. It's so cold there people must spend more time inside. The houses are all painted so colorfully, I'm almost certain that they cheer you up on a frosty day. That was the end of my winter. It was the coldest that I have ever been and farthest away I have ever felt from home (in a good way, a way of adventure).


Casey said...

thats a bummer about the bad snow year but it sounds like you had a great trip anyway. thats always my concern when i plan my one week of skiing for the year. we book flights and a condo 6 months in advance and put several thousand dollars on the line, all for 6 days of awesome. our luck is in the hands of telluride this season :)

Rusty West said...

Thanks Michelle for sharing this Greenland adventure with us all. It helps me stay connected to Mother Earth to see and learn about the connections you have made there. We are all connected to Mother Earth, and to each other. Thanks so much for the I Am Pro Snow photo shoot yesterday after your Stevens Pass SAFE-AS Avi Clinic. And thank you for inspiring others to take action to save our planet.