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january 2006 articles

saturday 14th january

CJ and I left the UK early on New Years day 2006, headed down to Folkstone, across the Channel Tunnel and into France. The journey proved heavy going in our trusty little Suzuki 4x4, both in terms of our mental condition and petrol consumption. For a 1.3 engine, it consumes just as much gas as my modified 2.0 Rover!

Spent the first night in Dijon, then motored onwards to Chamonix, to spend the day with my Dad, stepmum and my 2 gorgeous little sisters. The little ones are both totally mischevous, and it was lovely to see them all - as they are only an hour down the road, I think we will be seeing much more of them...

Reached Morzine on the 3rd, and set up our studio apartment. It has turned out to be a great place, just large enough to accommodate the 2 of us, while being small enough to warm up quickly and retain the heat - a vital quality out here, where the temperature can drop quickly to below -10degrees, and the nights are stunningly cold.

Met up with my good friend Sonia Shaw, who is going places with the 'Our Camp' girls snowboard camps (set up with Gilly Seagrove, Emma-Lea Rogers and Kathy Gendle), and her girls clothing label 'Crack Ho' . She left for the first girls camp in Tignes, but returns tomorrow for more fun and adventures...

Have also hooked up with Daryl, a friend from Wanaka - and Colin Horan, known to many of you as the founder of Day One Streetboarding. Both are well and carving up the pistes - I have been riding with both, and hopefully will be able to get some pictures up in the near future.

There is plenty of snow out here and conditions are great with plenty of blue skys, although the last snowfall was around new year and it's starting to get a little crusty. Its not really kicker-building conditions at the moment, although we are expecting more snow soon, and I am gagging to get out there and start hucking some flips.

CJ has managed to get chalet work a few days a week - having the 4x4 has really opened up our horizons in terms of feasible options, and she is working in a really plush chalet up the road in Prodains (conveniently situated at the foot of the direct cable-car to Avoriaz!).

I have just had a phoneline installed, and am looking to see if I can get some web development and marketing work up and running, but am unsure just how much scope there is for this out here... time will tell.

Anyway, time waits for no man, so keep it real and I'll be back before ya know it...

saturday 28th january

Recent snowfalls have meant that much of my time recently has been devoted to constructing kickers, in particular one situated in "Spot-X" getting bigger with every visit. It now measures a hefty 6ft wide, with just the right amount of lip for decent airtime, while retaining forward velocity so the landing is not too heavy.

Cj and I have also hooked up with some lads just up the road - Nick, Rory, Kenji, Ian, Matt, Sideshow, Jase - all aggressive riders with an aptitude for riding deep powder runs. The combined piste knowledge of the group has led to expanding our range quite considerably - an exponential rate of exploration, enabling us to maximise our enjoyment of all the fresh snow.

Riding with other people has pushed CJ to progress faster than if she was with me alone - she is now speeding down the pistes, and I have even got her going off the kickers! She took a hefty slam early on, but this seemed to dent only her head, rather than her confidence!

I have hooked up with Colin Horan (of Day One streetboarding) a few times - both building and riding the Spot-X kicker, and for on-piste riding. Colins ties to Crystal Holidays means that he is not always available to ride, however he is able to get out most days, and his riding style is just as tight as his streetboarding style...

Morzine itself is a beautiful alpine town, most of the chalets in traditional French-style, unlike the crimes-against-architecture perpetrated in Avoriaz. There is a huge ravine that runs down the centre of the valley, creating a natural division between Morzine and its sister village, Montriond.

The views across the ravine are quite beautiful - especially at dusk, when the chalet lights come on; creating that alpine atmosphere that lends itself to getting drunk by the fire...

We have been having a relatively quiet time recently, trying to conserve money - in order to save for the coming season in New Zealand, if I can get the working visa... Have met up a few times with Dazzler, our friend Daryl from Wanaka, for a few pints - but drinking is a costly activity here, so these nights are occasional at the moment.

On the bright side, I have started doing some web development work with Kenji - designer and owner of the skate & snowboard clothing label 'Jail Clothing'. Hopefully we can get enough work to keep the wolf from the door - gonna have to pitch our talents to the masses and see what response we get...

So hang tight, and I'll let you know if Little Red Riding Hood comes knockin'...