WINTER IN ATHENS

WINTER IN ATHENS

Athens got hit with two (or three?) heavy weather systems beginning in late December, that left the city in a beautiful white mess. The streets were icy and slippery, people didn’t know wether to call the police or make dirty snowmen, and from above the city looked cleaner than it ever has as the snow covered the rooftops and roads with a white blanket. Meanwhile on the mountains around Athens, an “Arctic” scene kept the news reporters away from more important issues like climate change or political unrest, which was actually a nice change.

So we took to the hills. Different days, different friends, different mountains.

First we hit Parnitha where we had to overcome our first, and most unpredictable obstacle. A police blockade had shut the road up to the mountain, due to icy roads and increased risk of cars getting stuck on the narrow streets. We happily obliged, parking the car just out of site of the police, a little ways up the road, right next to a delicious little bit of swept snow. Spiro and I dug a little line on the side of the road and played around until sundown. Back to the city

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A couple days later Spiro and I did a little reconnaissance mission up to Mt Pendeli to see if there was enough snow to ride. It was dismal. There was barely enough to make a tiny snowman. Still, we got the shovels out and made ourselves a fun little hip to play on, overlooking Athens below. Once again, we managed to finally start shooting just before sunset.

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A few days later we woke up before dawn, gathered the troops and headed on a little photo mission to capture the city covered in white, a truly rare occasion. We packed the car full of warm clothes, fresh coffee and baked goods, and headed to two of my favourite lookout points – Neos Kosmos and Tourkovounia. I got the drone out and flew around the city, getting some awesome shots of the sunrise poking over Ymmitos and this epic moment where the light shone directly onto the parthenon while the city was still in the shade. Probably the first shot I’ve ever taken of the parthenon that I truly loved.

We headed up to Mt Pendeli after that to meet Spiro and Katerina Soldatou, who were planning a mixed theme photo shoot – Spiro Snowboarding and Katerina doing her Aerial Dancing hanging from a giant tripod. On the way up we found Billy who had arrived earlier and had started skinning up the mountain on his splitboard. The roads were snowy but not very icy down low, so Billy and I got a little tow up the road behind the jeep. We finally encountered some pretty deep snow and couldn’t get the jeep through, when along comes a beast of a car, carrying Katerina, Spiro, shovels and her giant tripod. It was probably the biggest car I’d seen in Greece for a while, a Ford Raptor. Ridiculous machine. Anyway, we dropped the jeep off and jumped in the back of the Raptor for a few hundred more meters. As beastly as it was, we still got stuck and ended up spending the majority of the day digging cars out (there were more)… until we finally got it unstuck and into a “parking spot”. Katerina and her buddies Giorgo and Kosta set up the tripod while Alexi, Billy, Spiro and I headed to the top to get some riding done. The snow was really deep now, like waist high, and as fluffy as despicable me. A good sign if you know there’s another meter of snow underneath. We were just floating on sharp rocks.

We finally made it to the top, where Badio strapped in and headed off down to help the others with the tripod. We scoped out a couple of spots and found out what it was like for the ancient Greeks to snowboard up here… fantastic.

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We topped off the day with a little ride on the road back down to the cars, and then home for hot chocolates and more weird dreams about Australian motocross riders and polar bears  in ice caves. don’t ask.