Roughly 2 and 1/2 years ago, I and one of my dearest friends went on a backcountry tour that didn’t end up as planned. On the contrary, it ended up in hell. We made several mistakes, and those mistakes broke both of my legs, one of my rib, my chin, and my dear friend Maria’s femur.
We have both fought hard to get back on track, sometimes side by side and at other times with mountain ranges between us. I know that we have both spent numerous hours fighting our inner demons. It hasn’t been easy, and it took us until April 2016 until we finally got back together and shared that sheer joy for the backcountry together again.
How can I explain what it feels like be out there together again? To be honest, I can’t. I just can’t.
Maria is a kick-ass skier, but I know that she has been struggling with flashbacks from the avalanche. Who wouldn’t after having spent 5 hours in a snow storm with a dislocated femur…
I got to know Jenny Lillquist during spring 2015 when I, for the first time after the accident, dared venturing into the backcountry again. I was terrified at the time, but Jenny’s stoke made me realize that I belonged there, in those mountains dressed up in their wedding gowns.
When Maria and Jenny came to visit us in Tromsø, I felt as if I was a different person than I was 1 year ago in the mountains of Västerbotten, and even from the person I was just 4.5 months earlier in Hemavan, when I and Maria dared going into the backcountry toghether again. We didn’t completely reach the goal at that time. I think that we were both a bit too scared. Now, things were different. Jenny and Maria had gone into the backcountry in Västerbotten and Jenny had sprinkled her stoke onto Maria, while I had trained and trained and trained in the notoriously avalanche prone mountains of Tromsø.
We were ready. This was our time to rebuild trust and stoke. This was our time to reunite.
And so we did, with a vengeance. The arctic sun smiled at us with its most gleeful smile and the temperature made it both relatively safe and very comfortable to travel in avalanche terrain. I still cannot fully express how it felt to go up those mountains together again. All I can say is that is that I was stoked beyond belief and that music was in the air.
I know that we can never be completely certain that #nothingbadwillhappen in the backcountry, the snowpack combined with terrain is just to complex, but during Maria and Jenny’s visit, we got the chance at least start getting back at feeling comfortable together in avalanche terrain. And we definitely got our stoke back.
I really cannot say how much it means to me seeing that big smile on my dear friends face as she stood on a 1200 m high mountain.
Or how I felt seeing her charge down the mountainsides and reaching the bottom with a grin that reached her earlobes.
It was pure magic. Or no, actually it wasn’t. It was the result of really hard work, both by Maria, me and by the stoke machine Jenny, who inserts confidence, joy and stoke beyond belief and every person she meets. That is real magic.