Snowboard… When we were kids we were into skateboarding The whole thing started from skateboarding That was in 1979. ’78 or ’79 Snowboarding was the evolution of skateboarding We essentially modified our boards We went to Seli (ski resort). The people there said, “sleds are not allowed!” We said, “it’s not a sled, it’s a snowboard!” But they didn’t let us get on the lifts so we had to hike We started jumping all around and people were wondering what we were doing We were giving quite a show The people there were amused and said that we could take the lifts and do it all over again! We didn’t invent snowboarding, it was already out there, evolving I had met a lot of people in Athens, who were already doing it They were really starting to come up at Parnasso (ski resort) When the snowboarders landed on the scene they wore weird clothes, had funny hair and crazy hats They lookd like they were from another world Meanwhile, they had an unfriendly attitude towards everyone else We didn’t know any better, so we just straight-lined it we had no respect for the rules we’d come charging on innocent bystanders, probably kids We would snowboard anywhere. It didn’t matter if there was fresh snow, mud, ice. Anywhere Snowboarding was growing as a sport overseas and we would read a lot of magazine articles because we didn’t have the internet That’s how we evolved Markos had some containers and they all lived there, Liossis and the rest We had insulated the containers with wood, we had a nice wood burner and furniture It was a nice little home in the woods, without water or electricity but we were kids and all we cared about was going to the mountain We gathered there, we would eat, chop some wood to keep warm and sleep The next day we would wake up, go to the well and wash up and then go to the mountain and have fun Just snowboarding and fun We just wanted to snowboard, It was a great time, very carefree We were approached by companies, like a company selling coffee that wanted to promote their product through an event That was the start of the snowboarding contests in Greece Through contests we started making better Parks and that’s how we evolved The resorts didn’t help because they thought that snowboarding had no value or future We did everything ourselves We would beg the resort for some help It was a good thing we had our sponsors because we had the money to keep going
At the end of the 90s the sport changed Bigger and better tricks, bigger kickers and bigger parks That’s when Greece fell behind I think the future of snowboarding is in the backcountry We don’t care if there is a lift or not, we just need our boards It’s just you and the mountain There is no defined slope You don’t need anybody, you use your own power and find the spot you want We have good weather and good snow quality, so backcountry riding can really evolve here It’s the next step, a more spiritual next step Hello, Admiral! The snow is a meter high and I’m thinking about building something to play on We’ll need to dig a bit It’s like swimming! We have to protect this kicker from the people on the lifts, who just want things made ready We’ll build a wall, dig a pit, dragons, trenches, everything! Oh, lay mines! -Yes, mines! Mines! -A bad man -No, never with animals Sometimes i can be a little bad with people though I got jealous that Billy is going to sleep in his tent outside You should have been here like three years ago He had six rooms A room for his potatoes You turned right to the next room Why would you want to stay in a hotel or a house if you can stay out here? We can live everywhere. We have the brain and the capabilities to push our limits Everyday, limits get pushed by people who take it one step further Hello, my friend I want this run to be steep I was influenced by magazines and television. There wasn’t anything else
When they built a half-pipe in Vasilitsa, I was like Whoooaa A half-pipe in Greece! I saw guys doing backflips. It was awesome I wanted to do the same thing I would come to the mountain but my friends were all stuck to the lift The lifts would close and we would have to leave so I thought, its still early So i went as far as i could, so it would take me a lot of time to get back! On the way back i’d pick a line and a couple of hits and just enjoy myself Then i started telling them to stay a bit longer, maybe go a bit further to build something That’s how i motivated them Let’s go Do it! Do it! Every snowy slope is a playground for everybody We are at the Vitsi ski resort which is near the city of Kastoria It’s a small but nice resort, that I think everyone should visit We are the “Omihli (Fog) Crew” at the “Omihli Snow Park” It’s snowing a lot now It’s heavy snow but its snowing hard We were a small group of friends that snowboarded for fun Over the years we noticed that more and more people were getting into it So we try to build stuff ourselves
All the things here have been made with the help of 4 or 5 friends If you love what you do, you can do anything “Omihli (Fog) Snow Park” with the “Omihli Crew”, here with our friends from Vasilitsa This resort is not very popular A lot of people ask me, what is Vitsi? Well, Vitsi is a ski resort but no one ever comes here to check it out -Why did you stop? -All together now, arms to the sky We are making vegetable soup Come on, let’s go! Move it! I am waiting for you to do it! Good job! Yeah Boy! If you have good friends, you can do anyything Anyone can come stay here, although it’s a bit of a mess. All you need is love Love and snowboarding for all Theres snow on the lens! I discovered that we could snowboard in Parnitha, relatively soon There is a lot of snow in Parnitha but most people don’t realise it After school we would go to Parnitha We had a generator and some lights and snowboarded at night. The next day back to school and then Parnitha again For me, that’s why these sports are so appealling You are free to do whatever you want, there are no rules It took us some time to be accepted as the new generation that did something different We did a lot of jibbing, although most people didn’t dig rails They said we could go to any mountain and snowboard in powder I understand that now, because now, that’s what i prefer to do But when i was 17, i didn’t care about that I loved doing rails with my friends all day long
-Tell me, where are we? -In the Alps of Attica When you are with your friends at the mountain, walking or snowboarding you have the freedom to do anything It’s not like football. There are no rules I remember times when the light had faded and i was tired but i didn’t want to leave I don’t know why, i guess Parnitha is a special place Winter tourism and winter sports have a solid base in Greece It’s just waiting for someone to develop it further, they only develop our beaches and stadiums! I did a backflip after one of my jumps and i see all these people coming to talk to me The Mayor was stunned and asked if i could do it again They thought i had failed my jump and was just lucky to land on my feet I said, okay yeah, that’s what i do Look at that “The proudest mountain top is dressed in white, to hold in her arms her children.” “World champions are made in Psiloritis, the peak that brought glory to Crete.” Oh, yeah! The village is completely flooded
We are floating on a rooftop, in a small boat, the three of us Spiros is almost naked and is rowing the boat! -Welcome -It’s amazing here -I wish you good luck -Thank you very much You will see a lot of snow This year the snow has come down hard Crete is the southern island of Greece Most people can’t imagine that you can snowboard in Crete Crete is the only Greek island with great potential for winter tourism There are a lot of peaks all close to each other at a reasonable altitude with good amounts of snow and the mountain itself is majestic It surprised me when we were shouting to each other to get ready our voices were so loud it sounded like falling rocks across the walls I can hear the distant voice of the backcountry calling me
That’s what i do up here I am in charge of the rescue team and our job is to help anyone in need When someone is outside the designated slopes with any kind of vehicle like skis or snowboard he should have a shovel, a probe and a transceiver in case of an emergency The first day with Mike and Jess was a disaster We were behind the resort doing small lines in terrible weather It was a complete failure Yes, my friend! Snowboarding at midnight in the woods and seeing animal tracks everywhere is amazing -Where are we now? -Vitsi, my friend We are at Vitsi, Kastoria Here at Kastoria, Vitsi We’ve got an amazing Park and we’ve had an epic party
And now, it’s time to cuddle up to sleep Greece has the infrastructure to support this kind of event Our resorts can host big Parks that can host even bigger events A new competition is taking place here at Kalavrita, on this demanding slope This event needs a lot of snow, a fully functioning snow resort it needs people who will work hard and make it part of their lives These people in Greece are few and far between That is why this event is the exception to the rule However, we intend to persist We will try to make this an annual event We will try to change the mentality around snowboarding and freeriding through such events Greeks do have a winter sport culture But there’s definitely room for development Which is why we’re appealing to the younger generations We’re trying to develop the culture at different levels We support our Park, which is the biggest in Greece and the first to host a World Competition We are on one of the most beautiful mountains in Greece with trees and amazing slopes where you can really enjoy freeriding in Greece People are discovering new things on the mountains and former “top-secret” spots, are now common knowledge You have to know where you’re going and what you’ll have to deal with We have the privilege of having the sea and the mountains side by side It only takes one hour to go from the sea to the mountain It’s the best place for outdoor activities because it combines everything And it’s still undeveloped But this is where all that will change
To be with a group of guys with the same goals to do that rail, that gap, that kicker, or to explore new places That definitely gives you the motivation to progress My name is Nikolas Plytas, i’m from Greece My main sport is waterskiing It was further than i thought I’ll do another one I like snowboarding and surfing And skateboarding In a country like this you can do something different every day That day i wasn’t in the mood to hit the Park and thought about building something When we got there, we saw someone digging and Bellonias told us that Spiros was there building a jump So we all went out to find him That day was amazing I think everyone did a new trick that day For us, its progress Before this, nothing seemed to be moving forward but now, it makes me happy to see something new growing When you hit a big jump and look down and see the chaos below, it’s really an amazing feeling Cheers!
Raymond, these are cassette tapes That’s how we listened to music! No way! The camera belonged to George Pikoulas’ father Check this out He was holding it and decided to shoot some jumps that a guy was doing We have to send it to him! Turns out these guys were Jamie Lynn and Mike Ranquet They weren’t filming, they had no cameras They were just having fun If they appreciate our mountains this much we should definitely do the same There is so much backcountry, its so pure And it’s all ours When you spend a lot of time on the mountain, you’ve walked so much and ridden so many lines, that you can really enjoy the backcountry experience with a couple of friends, without any lifts After every turn, there is another line You walk a bit further and find a new spot, you discover something new It’s freedom, it’s awesome! And that is a big part of snowboarding, the element of exploring You leave the resort and go discover the unknown Greece has many places to explore Crete, Olympus, Vasilitsa, Drama, Vitsi You might be having fun, but there is also a risk factor that you can’t ignore You have to respect the mountain If you don’t pay attention even for one minute, the mountain will take its revenge
Parnassos, 2015! Those snowboarders again! When i first started snowboarding, the LunaFest at Vasilitsa was the biggest happening It was a good reason for us to travel and see our friends Thank you, bye Wait a bit until i talk with Panagiotis He might have some snowshoes you can use
How much time is it going to take us to reach the top?
About four hours We walked for one hour until we got clear of the woods We have an hour and a half until the top The wind is getting on my nerves -We can’t hit that line – Yeah but we can go straight -On top of the refuge -Really? And you’ll come from over that way?
We are going to stall here and then hit it It’s already covered with snow, it’s ready Cheers everybody For me, this is a historical moment Bringing together mountaineering and snowboarding was something we had talked about, seven years ago Hello! I met Gerasimo during the ’90s, but i had heard of him before that I read about him in an article about snowboarding in Vasilitsa Snowboarding local legend, Gerasimos Avramidis So i went to Vasilitsa and i felt like i was in two different worlds I saw Gerasimos and his crew all wearing long baggy pants and on the other side all the ski mountaineers We had the same passion for the mountain we just had a different approach This is definitely high enough What’s happened here over the last three days, has shown us that it’s better to dwell on the things that unite us rather on the things that divide us Snowboarding has now made it’s mark in Greece It can be considered snowboard mountaineering We can climb a mountain on our own accord and then descend without any help It might take us days, but we can build our jumps, and definitely have fun That’s how a sport evolves When you find the common elements Whether it’s on a piste, or freestyle or freeriding the goal is to find elements that connect us Next time it might be Smolikas or Parnassos Why should we leave, when there is this much snow in Greece? You saw it yourself, there’s good snow here until June You can come ride 3 or 4 lines And then go for a swim and sip a tequila on the beach We can’t overlook these things anymore -Cheers! -Cheers to the government! We are on Mt Olympus, a magical mountain We are at 2700m There is a lot of energy This mountain is ancient, it’s powerful There are so many slopes to hit So many things to do You just need to stay for a few days to really enjoy it The problem in Greece is that we don’t assign jobs to the appropriate people People who love what they do and probably know a lot more about it than others When we got up here, i said, “Right boys I did it. I’m not doing that again!” But i already regret it I’m definitely doing this again! -How are we doing this? -With these lights We’ve come up for a night session and i just got signal This is when everyone calls their loved ones! Don’t tell me you’re sleepy! ok fine good night anyway
Good morning! We can climb with our ropes It’s like turning back time The things that were happening in the Alps in the ’60s and the ’70s are happening here now Amazing! I feel like we have a boat and we want to get it out of the sea because there is a storm But everyone is pulling in different directions and the boat is just left there to sink If we all get in line and pull together, we’ll be able to get the boat out and winter adventure tourism will bloom in Greece, because we don’t need anything else Have a nice summer! I think we have a goldmine on our hands and nobody’s realised it yet The infrastructure is here Foreigners won’t come to ski at the resorts They will come to see Giona, Velitsa, Parnassos If the government won’t create an organization for winter tourism it’s up to private individuals to step up and make things happen We have to learn how to pull the boat out of the sea together and share the fish with all the people that love the mountain Greece has amazing food and amazing people on the mountains without the overcrowding feeling of the lifts and the helicopters You can do everything alone We’ve still got ethics in the Greek mountains and that is something that we must preserve When we realise it and have a common goal and vision the future will be bright despite the financial difficulties we have at the moment The mountains teach us to look up and be optimistic Let’s go shred!
Subtitling George Kasimatis