Cold frontier

ArmeniaSki+board November 2012

Andreas Hofer survives some tough skiing - and a car crash - re-visiting remote student-day haunts in Armenia.
The snowfields rising far ahead of us gleamed in early sunshine, the rugged summit of Mt Aragats (4092m) still hidden behind slopes rolling endlessly upwards. We’d started our ascent at Byurakan (1405m), the post-war observatory nestling abandoned under deep cushions of freshly fallen snow. All roads leading further up the mountain had disappeared. Fresh tracks of hares and foxes, going to and fro in random circles, were the only signs of life.. ...Read more

How the Samurai learned how to Ski

japan2012Ski+board September 2012
Through the glass front of my ninestorey hotel I could see the boiling Sea of Japan, hurling its mud-brown water masses onto the deserted beach, its towering breakers menacing the few guests huddled at dusk in the lobby. Ripping
apart all heavenly pillows, Susanno, the sun-goddess Amaterasu’s unruly brother, lets his angry tempest swirl past my top-floor balcony - wild gusts of thick snowflakes drifting along my windows, pausing at times, counter-flowing, then continuing in a mad rush. The thunder of the heaving waves, pounding against the flood defences and beating the empty coast, shakes the building with the force of an earthquake. Bludgeoned by this elementary beat, my room starts to sway like a drunkard. ...Read more

A pilgrim’s progress

greeceSki+board February 2012
The keel of the ‘Little St. Anne’ barge was furrowing with energetic speed through the Gulf of Agios Oros. My skis were safely tied to the railing, ski boots and luggage stowed in the back of the boat. Looking out of the porthole felt like saying farewell to paradise: the sight of undulating hills, densely overgrown with ancient forests; the intricate coast, lined with sandy beaches, steep cliffs and lonely harbours washed by the Mediterranean in all hues of blue - purple, cobalt, turquoise, aquamarine, petering out into long stretches of golden sand. We were speeding past monastery fortresses of grand design, complete with crenulated walls, belfries, balconies and galleries, ....Read more

A not-so-merry dance along Greek peaks

creteSki+board December 2011
Maybe it was not such a good idea to ski on Greece’s most southerly island. What looked like hosts of countless tombstones erected haphazardly every night on the tarmac in front of Chania airport, Crete, were actually thousands of suitcases. They were carefully inscribed with names, surnames and addresses of their owners, and some even had half-length portraits affixed to them. These were the meagre belongings of countless low-paid Bangladeshi labourers, evacuated by their....Read more

My childhood dream - Skiing Mount Ararat

mount_araratSki+board November 2011
It is awe-inspiring to set eyes on Mount Ararat for the first time: this colossus of a mountain, with a base of more than 1,000 square kilometres, raises its glorious snowy crest out of a green, sea-like landscape with untamed drama. Solitary,
solemn, it dwarfs every other elevation around. From the top of the cone-shaped, dormant volcano, at 5137 metres, one can see the plains of Anatolia, Iran, Armenia and the land-locked territories of Azerbaijan....Read more

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