I’m calling this 1.5 because it was the first full day in Sweden at the JOSS event in Åre.
Yesterday was all about travel. I departed Newark at 5:30 p.m. after spending the morning with my girlfriend and her family running small errands (read: getting “happy flying pills” at CVS) for the trip and taking a brief walk in the woods with their dogs. The Chaputs were nice enough to send me off with a bag of homemade cookies and some granola bars, that I insisted I did not need, but found quite necessary somewhere on the flight over the North Atlantic while watching an in flight movie (Quantum of Solace) in a nifty LCD screen in the back of the headrest of the seat in front of me. My neighbors in the seats next to me were Swedes on their way home after spending two weeks in Costa Rica. Being of Irish descent, I know the value of sunblock but I’m not sure if they did.
I arrived in Stockholm at 1 a.m. (6 a.m. local time). It was a considerably shorter flight than I had imaged; about 7 hours or so total. It was welcome news to me as I do not enjoy flying (note aforementioned medication). I had a small layover before catching a connecting flight North to Ostersund where I managed to grab maybe a half hour of sleep before being awoken by a little Swede playing hide & go seek with his parents. Arriving in Ostersund, I was able to make arrangements with a family I met to bring me the final hour to Åre by sharing their shuttle; no problem there. The drive was uneventful as well and I was able to take in the view (sans camera since it was packed away). The countryside is a bit like Northern Quebec as the hillsides were dotted with farms and pine trees with more Volvos driving down the roads.
Åre is nestled on a lake and sits on a hillside that backs up into the mountains. I’m not sure if I could characterize it as “Euro” since I’ve never been to another city in Europe but it does feel different with its narrow streets and funky street signs. I haven’t had much of a chance to explore much more than the local grocery store, where it took me an hour to pick up a few essentials (beer, eggs, milk, juice, salsa and tortilla chips), and the local hotel “Holiday Club” where I waited until 1:30 for the athletes to arrive from Norway since their bus had broken down.
After not sleeping much since leaving Newark, I headed back to my accommodations for the night.
I woke up too sunny skies at 11:30 (Don’t judge, it was jet lag) and decided to take in the local breakfast faire. I’m wondering if General Mills has any issues with Kelloggs obvious copyright infringements in Sweden. The carton of milk took me a considerable amount of time to open.
Say it with me: “mjölk”
Finally after enjoying a little Married with Children in Swedish, Schmuck from Newschoolers came to inform me that we were on for shooting in the afternoon at the Reverse Transfer gap. I was introduced to European chair lifts and they are like nothing I’ve ever seen. Think more moving sidewalks than lift lines; a conveyor pulls you onto the loading platform while the chairlift swings in. Weird.
The “SmashMaster” himself: Jeff Schmuck
Getting to the top above tree line, we headed skier’s left through a rock garden and made our way to the jump, an impressive looking two take off transfer sitting in the lower portion of the back bowl. The heli was already running, circling the feature as the riders started to get warmed up. However the session did not last long as clouds came North from the South and socked in the shoot.
Team America F*** Yeah: Wallisch & Dumont watch a bit of sunshine pass the Reverse Transfer by.
There was a lot of milling about by the athletes, red bull and a lottery for heli time before it was decided to end the shoot at the location and move on to the City Hip later. I was able to grab a shower and some food and watch the snowfall outside of my window.
There’s a lake out there somewhere.
The City Hip sat above the town and the lake and seemed to be precariously close to the highway. All the teams seemed to make a couple of good laps and the session lasted for about an hour to two before it was called for the night.
A group of us headed to Max Burger, the Swedish equivalent to In & Out or Wendys only with attractive blonde women serving fast food. A bit different than the Barre, VT Burger King on Rt 62.
Now here’s a few shots:
Mr. John Symms of Team U.S.A.
More of America: Simon Dumont