saturday 28th february
Back with an almost exclusively snowboard-oriented edition this month, so try to keep up at the back ;)
Rosco and I had planned an Tignes long-weekender in November, so headed out to Chalet Melezes in Tignes Les Boisses (just above the dam) for the annual 3-day weekender just as a snow front arrived.
The weather was poor the first 2 days, bad vis with flat light, but snowing hard the whole time.
With few people venturing far from the cable car, the run down to the MM piste was covered in powder, often knee deep. As long as you didn't hit anything you were laughing!
But them on day 3 the sun came out, and we could see fields of untouched powder - there was off-piste everywhere you looked, and Rosco the powder hound was searching for deep pow stashes to throw up big rooster tails.
We got so much good snow we were spoilt for choice, riding the "Double M" down through fields of uncut powder where the crowds had not gone due to the poor vis - we spent the day on the funicular riding the mountain from the top to Val Claret on the valley floor, seeking new powder lines in the falling snow.
We met Rosco's friend Jo for lunch in the Aspen bar in Val Claret, and after a hard day riding, we rounded the day off with a hot tubat Le Melezes :)
But all good things and all that, and we had to return home, glowing in the satisfaction of a fulfilling trip with some epic pow - in November! :D
CJ and I took little Violet to MonkeyWorld over near Wool, to see all her relatives ;)
We had a great time walking round all the different enclosures, lots going on even though it was cold and wintry. So much to see there with hundreds of different types of monkeys - Orangutans were the highlight, the little ones were so cute!
Having spent Christmas and New Years Eve visiting relatives in sequence, the New Year was on us, and that meant only one thing - Chamonix!
The season had got off to an awful start with green valleys prevalent across the Alps - but there was snow in the Chamonix valley, and it snowed for a couple of days just before we arrived :)
We were there for 9 days; first Rosco joined me for the first 6 days and George joined me for the last 3 - so unfortunately they never rode together.
Rosco and I tried each area of the upper valley in turn - Flegere, Les Grands Montets and La Balme, of which Flegere was the best snow conditions by far as both Grands Montets and La Balme were cold and icy.
There was fresh snow in the gulleys above the Chavanne chairlift, and minimal avalanche risk there so we rode there for a couple of days. The very shallow snow depth meant there was no chance of backcountry freestyle, so we spent our time cutting lines in the gulleys and jibbing about on the pistes.
I saw a natural hip up the side of a powder face and managed to land a backside rodeo back onto the piste, benhind the hip was a rock face, so I had to flick backwards to change direction and avoid the rock. Although the landing was rough as sin, there was enough powder around the lip to engender the confidence to try...
Eventually it was time for Rosco to leave, but on the plus-side George joined me eager to try his new skis...
Almost immediately, it turned out that though George's new skis were awesome, his new skiboots were too tight, hurting his feet if he skied for too long. So we hooned around in short bursts sticking mainly to the pistes for the last couple of days - the snow in the gulleys having been skied out by this point.
Its was then that I spied a chute formed in the lee of a much larger rock, formed by the melting snow cover exposing some of the rock either side of a narrow strip just wide enough to ride down...
George only had 2 days on the snow, but it highlighted a need to address the fit of his new boots and he was in agony by the end.
We had a final night out at the Nationale, eating the traditional epic 3-course gourmet meal, and packed for home.
We bid Chamonix farewell, both already planning our next mission to get back out onto the snow.
So we'll be back with more snow adventures new article...
friday 31st october
In a contrast to the bad news in last months article - we start this one with proud news of the birth of my daughter, little baby Violet Jean Ebel :)
Although we experienced a few difficulties at first as a result of a tongue tie, this was resolved and life has started to normalise into a relatively consistent routine - and while difficult at time, she is an absolute joy and delight especially now she has started smiling and laughing at you :D
Needless to say, both CJ and I are totally smitten with her!
The summer has been fabulous, and provided a wealth of opportunities to skate, and we have made the most of it, both indoors and out.
Sherborne has been our destination a few times - those white concrete expanses proving an irresistable mix of features - while Prevail has been uncharacteristically empty, and the given us the opportunity to ride a relatively deserted park as the kids were outside in the outdoor parks.
The long-awaited Winchester skatepark opened in September, and Tim and I met Simon Johns and Max Anderson to check out this much-anticipated Maverick creation. I took a day off work and we arrived on a boiling hot Monday, to find about half the park composed of Bournemouth skaters - by sheer coincidence at least 3 different groups had independantly arranged trips to ride it... Bournemouth Takeover!
Had a good day, but found that with so many features in the relatively small space - everyone was constantly cutting across everyone elses lines to hit their own, which meant more often than not you were waiting for a viable gap to open...
One to return to when fewer people riding it.
I went on missions to check out more loca skateparks in the area, of note Hedge End near Southampton (top) and the redeveloped Salisbury park (bottom)..:
Hedge End has 2 blocks and a nice round rail, although possibly spoiled by the quarter-pipe at one end, that is tighter than a gnats chuff.
However Salisbury is really good - they have kept the good elements of the old park, and replaced the poor or knackered parts with a selection of well thought out concrete features, including a launch box, sweet double level mini, and a clover leaf-style bowl - plus the usual selection of blocks and manual pads,
A very good park with the features positioned out of each others way to minimise disruption of other people's lines - probably the best outcome that the redesign could have produced :)
The summer has provided a wealth of opporuntities for other pursuits too; the inevitable beach visits, building Violets room, family time with Jules, Jo & baby Camille, various weddings and parties, and lots of sunday breakfasts and walks down at Boscombe, just to name a few... ;)
I have finally managed to get back in touch with a good friend of mine from my school years - Pam, our favourite tea lady from my school house C3.
I had lost contact with Pam when I had mislaid my address book in a house move and had always wondered how she was - so when I found it over summer I arranged a meet.
It was fantastic to catch up over a cup of tea and to find her in rude health and enjoying life - we chatted for a few hours before I took a trip down memory lane around Marlborough before returning home. Great to see her, and will catch up again early next year :)
here's a few random shots I have taken over the last couple of months..:
Good times - what an awesome summer we've had :D
thursday 31st july
Unfortunately this article starts with the sad news of the death of our Whistler neighbour Jay McGinn. Jay was one of our Whistler crew we partied with, living just up the hall from us in our Creekside apartment.
I'll never forget the night we organised a pool party at our apartment block pool after drinking in Whistler, only to get properly busted by the police - to Jay's immediate response of "Whats yer problem?!"..! Cue face-in-the-hands moment, followed by some nifty fleet-footed negotiations to ensure our safe passage out ;)
R.I.P Jay McGinn. Love for Jay.
On a brighter note - MASSIVE congratulations to fellow streetboarder Tim and his fiance Amy who got married earlier this year - it was a great wedding, the booze flowed and the speeches were short ;) Top drawer, Tim..!
We have had the most glorious summer, with 3 months of consistent sunshine meaning GAME ON!
We have spent most weekends skating, sometimes locally, sometimes trying new spots further afield to see if we can find an uber-park within a reasonable driving distance.
We met Bristol-based streetboarder Simon Johns at Sherborne - only an hour to get to by car, it's one of the best skateparks in the area in my opinion, with a really good street section line. While it only contains a couple of rails, a couple of blocks and a euro-gap, everything is perfect - and its really good for either learning new stuff, or styling out complex tricks and combos :)
The sun was so strong it was difficult to keep your eyes open against the glare, but it meant that James could get some great photos over the day, and while we have subsequently returned - we have not had the same fabulous shoot conditions.
We used the whole park (ironically except for the launch box, the transition being too tight) but by far the best part of the day was playing on the begger rail - the combination of good camera/lenses and some funky post-processing has produced some great results.
It was so how and we skated for so long - I couldn't believe how Simon could skate in such dark coloured, tight-fitting jeans all day..!
A couple of weekends later I went to Mere to meet Simon and Dai Hare, which I had seen on the internet and looked good with a launchbox. In reality it was smaller than we had imagined, and somehow parts of it just didn't gel - which was a shame.
It had a nice little street sectionflat-down kink rail and planter, a mini and a launch box, but was a little too compact to be able to link things together properly. Nevertheless, Dai was throwing down 270-boardslides and backside bluntslides, Simon was flying round the mini and I was trying smith 5-0s down the kink planter.
Not a bad park, but on to bigger and better things! We have visited Downton in Wiltshire, Hedge End near Southampton and Cirencester skatepark to name a few.
All the while, we have been meeting up for local weekday skates - either Prevail, Verwood or 2 Riversmeet down at Christchurch. Prevail has been empty due to the heat, and its a difficult toss-up as to whether to take advantage of the opportunity, or go to an outdoor park and use the light while it's here...
I organised a birthday weekend, and streetboarders Paul Nash, Colin Horan and Andy Garrett came down to stay over and skate. We visited Prevail and Verwood, and Colin and Paul managed to get some great shots from the weekend, including an impromptu cone jib session at Verwood - a good find by Colin.
While I haven't managed to get a Five Trick Flick together yet, we have got a number of combo shots down, and have created our own streetboarding Instagram gallery "South Coast Streetboarders" - this will provide an ongoing record of our day-by-day adventures - less detail than Dom-Ebel.com, but perfect for the one-off shot or 5 second video..! :)
We have enjoyed skating the parks, and managed to get some good photos and video to take away - but we still haven't found the uber-park..! Guess we just gotta keep searching..!
And last, but by no means least - by the time you read the next article, CJ and I will have a little baby!
Don't know yet if boy or girl, have to wait and find out..! Something for CJ to look forward to in during the pain of childbirth...
saturday 31 may 2014
Well it's been a long time, due to various factors - so there's a lot to report :)
Planned my usual trip to Chamonix at the end of January, but this time it was a game of many halfs :)
January 20th I left Bournemouth to join Dad for a few days skiing Flegere before he left to join Jules at Leysin, Switzerland.
I had 6 days snowboarding on my own, before CJ & "Gorgeous" George Moy joined me for the last 5 days.
It was great to see Dad, we had a good time in the powder at Flegere, and it was great to be on snow with him again :)
Dad left on the 4th day to join Jules in Leysin for a boys week ski touring, and I settled in for a week riding alone.
I ran into Bojan on the first day. Going down a gulley behind a slow woman ski, a snowboarder shot past - I saw him on the chair and started up a conversation, and we wound up riding together for the rest of the holiday!
On the 3rd day riding at Grandes Montets, Bojan introduced me to Seth, a skier who had previously been a Wall St. trader, then moved to Chamonix and bought some land. The guy was so fast on skis as to be unbelieveable - left Boyan and I for dead, and we were no slouches..!
The Worldwide Freeride Tour competition was in town and we went up to Flegere to watch, but arrived late and missed it - however we raninto some of Bojan's friends and went off to find some powder of our own.
We spent a great few days riding at Flegere showing each other our favourite spots and riding powder with Bojans friends. I met Bojan's girlfriend Jelena, and we hung out for a few days before "Geogeous" George Moy arrived.
There had been some epic dumps, and I dropped George in the deep end, saying wew had to make the most of the snow - as it had just finished dumping and there wasn't more due for a week. Needless to say by the end of the first day he was shattered!
Nevertheless George skied like a pro, and I would often find myself looking back up the slope for him when he was stood right by me... we had an awesome week riding some of the best terrain the valley has to offer, in the powder away from the crowds. Perfect...
Gorgeous George did a great job in his role as photographer - on one day late in the holiday the sun came out, and I was able to get some shots I was happy with; a frontside 360 indy off a windlip, and a backside 360 rockdrop by the La Floria draglift in Flegere. Legend!
CJ turned up for the last 3 days, taking a break from work but not riding due to her being pregnant!
We had a great time overall, but we were heading home all too quickly. We had our traditional farewell dinner this time in La Caveau (a 400 year old underground sheep pen converted into a restaurant, next to old favourite Le National), said goodby to Bojan, and were on our way back...
I had my wrist operated on just after coming back, and this has knocked me out of action for the last 3 months, but I participated in the UK Streetboard Spot Battle in the dual capactity as judge and cameraman - South Coast Streetboarder Pat joined me and took some photos of the event.
Spanish streetboarder Tony Alvarez flew over to compete, and managed to place 2nd, after Max Anderson, with Simon Johns in 3rd. Check out the Official Streetboutique Spot Battle video edit.
It was great to see everyone, and some new faces - but made me ache to ride again..!
So I started to use the foam pit at Prevail again, zero-impact training allowing me to keep my technique together and learn new tricks for when I could ride again...
"Gorgeous" George has started skating again! He last skated when he was in Whistler in 2006, so has bought a board with the intention of starting to go regularly and get back into the bowls.
Prevail is very empty at the moment, so it will be perfect for him to practise the quarterpipes.
We had mad storms one night that caused loads of damage to the beach huts, especially down near Fishermans Walk in Southbourne.
Beach huts had been tossed around like childs toys and in a lot of cases reduced to match wood. The days after the destruction the beach was a crazy place to be :)
CJ and I went for a beach walk one day down at Boscombe, and I was struck by the amount of sculptures down here, and photographed a selection...
So back riding now - more photos in the pipeline, so I promise the next update will be much quicker!
See soon :)
wednesday 21st january 2014
Happy New Year readers! Here's hoping 2014 brings whatever you want from life ;)
Most recent news this year was an unexpected surprise in the form of a couple of visits from my good friend "Tassie" Ben Newman - a major contributer to the mayhem both years in Wanaka, NZ.
CJ was browsing Facebook, and happened to notice that Ben had posted a picture of the New Forest - odd, we thought, and upon following this up it turned out that Ben and his girlfriend Adele were visiting her family, who lived just up the road on the other side of the forest!
So after a flurry of messages back and forth, Ben duly arrived in Bournemouth to grab some beers at the Christmas market, check out Bournemouth and skate Prevail.
It was awesome to see Ben after a gap of seven years, the last time we were skating at Benmore dam just before he left.
We chatted about friends and what we had been up to in the intervening years - it felt like it was only a few weeks since we last saw each other. Good times :)
The second time, Ben came over with Adele and her family to celebrate his birthday with a meal and drinnks in Bournemouth, so we went out to Wagamamas, drank Saki, and went for drinks at the pub. Adele is very chatty and amiable, and it was great to see them before they left the next day, returning to Oz to move into a new place near Manley in Sydney.
What a great start to the new year! :)
In November, I arranged a meet-up at Prevail with fellow streetboarders Paul Nash, Andy Garrett and Flipside's Adam Walder joining local riders Tim, Pat and I.
It was quite a busy evening at Prevail with loads of BMXers congregating in the street section, so the riding was cencentrated on the 3ft mini, the main bowl, and the foam pit.
It was the first time that Tim and Pat had met Paul and Andy, so I had asked local rider J Adams (who owns Smoking Aces bar in Bournemouth) to reserve us a table - and we spent a few hours drinking in town afterwards together, Pat eventually getting home near Dorchester just before the sun rose... ;)
November and December were unseasonably mild, and a combination of good weather and Christmas exhibitions in the Bournemouth Gardens provided a plethora of photo opportunities.
In the run-up to Christmas, I have seen my little neice Camille a couple of time - once for her birthday, and once at Christmas. She has grown up really fast over the last few months - now walking and talking, and the icing on the cake was the last time I saw her, she said my name!
In other news, one double-edged sword on the horizon is the news that my left wrist is going to be operated on at the beginning of March... Probably the right decision for the long-term, but in the short-term it means no skating or driving for 6 weeks after :(
Still, if it strengthens the wrist, and staves off arthritis - its probably for the best...
But, back to the now, I am in Chamonix snowboarding for the last 2 weeks of January, being joined by long-time friend George Moy for the second week - so hoping that the mild December won't have compromised the snow base-layer too much, and we can get some decent riding in, and some good footage down...
So until the next time, keep it real, and enjoy 2014 :)