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UK EDITION WINTER 2018, £3.50

BEYOND THE ORDINARY

THE WINTER ISSUE Skiing sheer icefields Katie Ormerod’s tough comeback The world’s coldest climb Banger racing on frozen lakes

Plus: Snow Gear for the New Year


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EDITOR’S LETTER

WINTER WONDERLANDS

“There was a cave we wanted to ski through, but first we had to rappel in to check for crevasses,” says Oskar Enander, who shot our glacier-skiing story. “Here, [skier] Santiago [Guzman] is organising the ropes.” Page 32

Then there are tougher tales: winter mountaineering specialist Simone Moro (page 64) gives insights into his most testing challenges to date, scaling some of the world’s most feared cold-weather climbs to succeed where so many others have failed. And, after suffering the worst injury of her life just before the Winter Olympics in February, top British snowboarder Katie Ormerod (page 60) shares her struggle to regain fitness as she prepares to get back on her board.

CONTRIBUTORS THIS ISSUE

TARQUIN COOPER

The UK journalist has interviewed many polar explorers, adventurers, Everest climbers and endurance athletes over the years, but he found his interview with American mountain guide Emilie Drinkwater particularly refreshing. “Chatting to Emilie was a great reminder that the single biggest factor behind reaching heady heights is good old-fashioned dogged determination,” he says. Page 42

OSSI PIISPANEN

The London-based Finnish photographer returned to his roots to document anything-goes ice race Rokkiralli for this month’s issue. “I come from the countryside where ice rally was just a normal thing to do in the winter,” Piispanen says. “I got really inspired by the DIY mentality of the scene – you don't need tons of money to be badass and have fun.” Page 46

Enjoy the issue. 06  



THE RED BULLETIN

OSKAR ENANDER (COVER)

With temperatures dropping and days getting darker, most of us head indoors. But not the fearless thrill-seekers who pack the Winter Issue of The Red Bulletin. From the world-class skiers testing their mettle on the polished steel-like glaciers of Engelberg, Switzerland (page 32), to the Finnish petrolheads bashing up their bespoke bangers on frozen lakes in deepest midwinter (page 46), it’s clear that for those willing to brave extreme conditions, there’s rare fun to be had in the coldest season.


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THE ONLY CHILL IS THE ONE DOWN YOUR SPINE. CHOOSE LIKE A PRO.

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CONTENTS Winter 2018

BULLEVARD 10  Reach for the stars: teen astronaut Alyssa Carson 14  Musician Petite Noir offers a taste of South Africa 16  French mountain-cyclist Cédric Tassan gets edgy 18  Excalibur: part climbing wall, part work of art 20  The plane that gives spacecraft a piggyback 22 Actor Zoë Kravitz is no fan of the fame game 24  Mr Freeze: Aldo Kane has Siberian ice licked 26 Eat gourmet food, drink in the view at Dan’s Diner 28  Fanatec F1: the ultimate wheel for racing gamers

20 46 THE WINTER ISSUE 3 2 Glacier skiing

Meet the foolhardy freeskiers who put their fate in nature’s hands on the glass-like slopes of Switzerland’s icefields

42 Emilie Drinkwater

The American mountain guide who begged her way into her dream job, and is now inspiring others to aim high Inside the Finnish grassroots rally movement where the racetrack is a frozen lake and a lack of cash is no obstacle

6 0 Katie Ormerod

In February, her Olympic dreams were shattered by injury – now, the British snowboarder details her painful recovery, and her plan to return stronger than ever

6 4 Simone Moro

Climbing the world’s highest peaks in summer? Too easy for the Italian master of cold-weather mountaineering

72 Slope style

If you’re not wearing this essential gear on your next ski or snowboard adventure, better just stay in the chalet

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GUIDE 96  Yukon River Quest: a kayak and canoe marathon

that makes the Boat Race look like a pedalo ride

99  Outdoor expert Thom Hunt shares his wilderness

survival tips. Warning: contains predator poo 100  Train like Creed II’s ‘son of Drago’, Florian Munteanu 102  Don’t get caught cold – wear this season’s best kit 104  Winter highlights on Red Bull TV 106  Dates for your calendar 110  Surf’s up: hydrofoiling on the Hudson THE RED BULLETIN

OSSI PIISPANEN, ALAMY, FLORIAN MUNTEANU

100

4 6 Rokkiralli


PROTEST.EU


BULLEVARD LIFE

&

STYLE

BEYOND

THE

ORDINARY

THE FIRST MARTIAN

When she was three, ALYSSA CARSON wanted to be an astronaut. Fourteen years later, she’s on a trajectory to be the first human to step foot on another planet

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his September, Alyssa Carson went on a school geology trip to Iceland. Sitting on the fault line between two major tectonic plates, the island is a literal hotbed of geothermal activity, peppered with geysers and active volcanoes that are trapped beneath huge glaciers. It is as alien an environment as you will find anywhere on Earth. But to Carson it was good practice for somewhere genuinely extraterrestrial.

The 17-year-old US student is being hailed as “the first astronaut to go to Mars” – a bold declaration considering our first window for a Mars mission is likely 2033 (when the Sun’s radiation is mooted to be lowest, and Earth and Mars are closest), but not unsubstantiated. Carson has been building an interstellar résumé since the age of three, when she saw kids’ cartoon show The Backyardigans portray a mission to Mars.

“I decided at that moment there’d be nothing limiting my ability to get to Mars,” says Carson. By the age of eight, she’d won the highest accolade at Space Camp: the Right Stuff award. At 15, she acquired her first-stage rocket licence – which required building and coding a rocket from scratch – and she graduated from the citizen science-astronautics programme Advanced PoSSUM (Polar Suborbital


SOFIA MALAMUTE, SHOT FOR DESIGUAL

Future astronaut Alyssa Carson, seen here in a Mars-themed fashion campaign shot by Desigual



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“IF I WERE NEVER TO RETURN, I’M STILL UP FOR THE MISSION”

Science in the Upper Mesosphere) Academy, becoming the youngest person ever certified for space flight. But like all great space adventures, hers is a story of sacrifice. Alongside her regular school-work – for which she studies all her subjects in four languages: English, French, Spanish and Chinese – Carson’s free time is filled with extracurricular ‘space classes’ and physical training in decompression, g-force, hypoxia, scuba diving and microgravity, involving the weightless, stomachchurning ‘vomit comet’ flight. “It was pretty sickening on the stomach, but I prepared myself by not eating for the entire day,” she says. Her plan, after graduating from high school, is to study

astrobiology at the Florida Institute of Technology, with the hope of joining a Mars mission as a specialist or research scientist, “testing soil samples, looking for signs of bacterial life in water, and studying the history of Mars”. Terraforming the Red Planet would take 300 years or so, Carson says. “Although these are just predictions, because no one’s terraformed a planet before,” she laughs. Carson’s dedication and abilities have made her the poster child of humankind’s space dreams. In 2014, at the age of 13, she gave a TED talk on achieving the impossible, and she was a guest speaker at an event organised by NASA and the Smithsonian to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Mars Rover. Last year,

‘There’s so much more in space for us to explore’: Alyssa Carson, who turns 18 next March, has her first-stage rocket licence and her sights set on the first manned mission to Mars, projected for 2033

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Carson appeared in the Netflix documentary The Mars Generation, and she’s now an ambassador for private Mars mission group Mars One. Not that all her eggs are in one space capsule – whether it’s government agency or privateer, “whoever’s wanting to go to Mars, I’m up for it”. And that’s where the real sacrifice begins. Mars lies an average of 225 million kilometres from Earth and takes six months to reach. It has an average temperature of -63°C and an atmosphere that’s 96 per cent carbon dioxide. The risk of death is high, and even if she survives, there are only two plans – one of which is to stay and colonise the planet. “A return trip would be preferable, but if the choice were to never come back, I’d still be up for the mission,” she says. Left behind would be Carson’s biggest supporter: her father Bert, who, as a single parent, helped her achieve her dream. “In his eyes, it’s not the best choice, but he supports me because he knows it’s bigger than the two of us. Eventually, a singleplanet species will become extinct, so Mars is that first step to exploring further.” In March, Carson turns 18. If the first manned mission to Mars does happen in 2033, she’ll be 32. This would mean sacrificing a relationship or having children until after she returns. Leaving a family on Earth would be too tough, emotionally, on all parties. Carson is fully aware of this, however, and she has a clear focus on what the future holds. “When I was three, saying I wanted to go to Mars was the absolute craziest thing I could have picked, but I’ve never let go of it,” she says. “Hopefully, after this generation, there will be another kid with a dream to go to a moon of Jupiter or something like that. Because there’s so much more in space for us to explore.” Instagram: @nasablueberry THE RED BULLETIN

KATIE CAMPBELL SPYRKA, NASABLUEBERRY.COM

B U L L EVA R D


NEW

ROLLING TRANSPORTER ADVENTUREPROOF ON WHEELS.

Built for demanding adventures, the Rolling Transporter is an ultra-durable, gear hauling duffel with all-terrain wheels.

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B U L L EVA R D

Petite Noir

CAPE OF GOOD TUNES

The South African ‘noirwave’ (his term) musician – real name Yannick Ilunga – shares his pick of essential tracks from his home country

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hink of South African music and Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela are most likely the first names that come to mind. But in recent years a new wave of exciting young artists has emerged. With his electro-pop sounds, polyrhythmic beats and political lyrics – his new mini-album, La Maison Noir/The Black House, is out now – 28-year-old Petite Noir has won influential fans including Mos Def and Solange. Here, he picks some of his top home-grown tracks. Watch the visual album he produced with Red Bull Music at lamaisonnoir.com

BATUK DANIEL (2016) “This collective is led by singer Manteiga and Spoek Mathambo, one of South Africa’s most legendary independent music producers, who has influenced me massively. As Batuk, they create this incredible panAfrican dance music, bringing together artists and sounds from all over the continent. Check out their explosive live shows if you get the chance.”

KHULI CHANA TSWA DAAR (2012) “Khuli Chana is from the northwestern city of Mafikeng, where they cultivate Motswako – a rap genre that mixes the local language, Setswana, with English. His machine-gun lyrics are next level – the beats have this South African big drum sound. I love him, because instead of trying to sound American he incorporates his roots into his music.”

“What a club banger! I love the way she mixes her native tongue, Tsonga, with Swahili – which she learnt while living in Tanzania – as she raps over this insane gqom beat. Gqom is a style of dance music that originates from Durban and is taking over the world. The beats are dark and sparse, and they work well at sweaty underground rave parties.” 14  



TYRONE BRADLEY

SHO MADJOZI HUKU (2018)

“This Capetonian is my favourite local artist right now. YoungstaCPT is taking South African music to the next level with his rap skills [he raps in a Cape Coloured accent which, historically, has been socially stigmatised] and proudly representing a part of the country that isn’t really known about. Watch out for him – he’s a rising star.”

FLORIAN OBKIRCHER

YOUNGSTACPT YASIS (2017)


FEEL IT WWW.FANATEC.COM

The F1 FORMULA 1 logo, F1 logo, F1, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX and related marks are trade marks of Formula One Licensing BV, a Formula 1 company. All rights reserved.


B U L L EVA R D To read more about Tassan’s ‘exposed’ riding style and see a video of him tackling this mountain trail, go to redbulletin.com

Cédric Tassan

EDGE LORD

CÉDRIC TASSAN/VTOPO

TOM GUISE

Cédric Tassan doesn’t consider himself an extreme mountain biker; more an exposed mountain biker, tackling near non-existent trails on the sides of cliffs. “I’m not the best rider, not a big jumper. A technical rider, but not fast,” says the 41-year-old Frenchman. “But if there are lots of big cliffs, I can ride. I’m not afraid of heights.” Here, he’s on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the Italian Dolomites. “It’s a via ferrata – a hiking route with a cable only for climbers,” Tassan says. “To get to the ledge, I climbed with the cable in one hand, the bike in the other. If you fall, you die.” He managed to ride 70 per cent of the trail. “At the time, I’m not enjoying it; I’m just trying to stay focused. But at the end, when I look back, it’s such a rush.” Facebook: @vtopo;

Instagram: @vtopo.fr 16  



THE RED BULLETIN


THE RED BULLETIN 

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B U L L EVA R D

T

Excalibur wall

SKY-HIGH ACHIEVER

When the mountain wouldn’t come to one avid climber, he decided to bring the mountain to himself

Gert van der Veen: owner of Bjoeks climbing centre and creator of Excalibur

GERT VAN DER VEEN

TOM GUISE

he Netherlands is flat, really flat. This was frustrating for Gert van der Veen, an aspiring Alpine climber, as a teenager in 1982. So he gave up his dream and became a lawyer, a PR exec, a political scientist... but none of these careers made him happy. He yearned for the mountains, but as he lived 500km from the nearest, there was only one solution – in 1996, he built his own. Excalibur in Groningen is named after the legendary sword because, as Van der Veen says, the 37m-tall steel blade “resembles a sword stuck in a stone – the huge concrete foundation”. Overhanging by 11m, the structure is not for the faint-hearted, or the inexperienced: “You need to know how to lead climb,” the Dutchman says. “We hang top ropes for novices, but it’s an experience you have to earn.” The 45-tonne wall can withstand force-12 gales, although it does swing (“on purpose”). Gravel will break your fall, but that’s no help after the first few metres. But then, a major part of Van der Veen’s vision is to evoke the emotions of real outdoor climbing. “Freedom in those flatlands,” he says. bjoeks.nl

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B U L L EVA R D

Stratolaunch

KING OF MONSTERS You’re looking at the largest plane in the world – so mighty, it hurls other aircraft into space

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ape Canaveral in Florida is home to an epic, 4.5km-long runway nicknamed the “gator tanning facility” by locals, because of the swamp reptiles that bask on its sunbaked surface. Once upon a time, this strip served a different beast, the Space Shuttle, slowing down its landing with grooves etched into highfriction concrete almost halfa-metre thick. Now a mightier monster could be about to arrive – Stratolaunch. Sporting two 73m-long fuselages, 28 wheels and six Boeing 747 engines, with a maximum takeoff weight of 590 tonnes and a wingspan of 117m, it’s 29m wider than the current largest active aircraft – the Antonov An-225 – and capable of lifting a payload of 227,000kg to 35,000ft (10,668m). That last Top Trumps rating is significant, because Stratolaunch is an aircraft carrier, built to take space vehicles to altitude and launch them into orbit.

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The aim of Stratolaunch, designed by Burt Rutan – creator of sub-orbital space plane SpaceShipOne – and financed by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen (who sadly passed away last month), is to make it easy to air-launch satellites and tourists into space. In August, four detachable launch vehicles were announced: the threedecade-old Pegasus rocket, two medium launch vehicles (MLVs), and a reusable space plane. In February, Stratolaunch taxied down the Mojave Air & Space Port runway at 74kph, and a maiden flight is set for next year, with commercial launches starting in 2020. At that point, it will need to move from Mojave’s 3.8km strip – the minimum distance needed to get airborne – most likely to Canaveral’s longer run. The gators will have to make way. stratolaunch.com

Strato stats Launch vehicles

Pegasus

MLV

370kg payload

3,400kg payload

MLV - Heavy

Space plane

6,000kg payload

Medium payload or crew


Dimensions

THE PLANE’S 117M WINGSPAN IS 29M WIDER THAN AN ANTONOV AN-225

Engines Six turbofan Boeing 747 engines capable of carrying a 227-tonne payload

Wingspan

117m

88m

An-225

3 Flight path

1

2

Plane climbs to 10,668m and loiters

Takeoff

4

TOM GUISE

10,668m altitude

STRATOLAUNCH CHRISTINA NOCK

Payload is released and self-powers into orbit

Stratolaunch lands back at base, reusable and ready for its next flight


B U L L EVA R D

hen your dad is rock star Lenny Kravitz and your mum is TV legend Lisa Bonet, there’s expectation placed on your career path. And, sure enough, Zoë Kravitz isn’t an accountant. At 29, the model, singer and actor has been the face of a Vera Wang fragrance, has her own band (Lolawolf), has featured in hit movies and TV shows including Mad Max: Fury Road and Big Little Lies, and returns this month to the role of Leta LeStrange in the second Fantastic Beasts movie, subtitled The Crimes Of Grindelwald. “This job is probably in my genes, but I never felt pressure because of who my parents are,” she says. Instead, Kravitz feels their cautionary advice and a well-grounded education tempered her expectations. the red bulletin: So, when you were growing up, you never aspired to be famous like your parents? zoë kravitz: At that time, I didn’t know they were famous. But I definitely didn’t want to become an accountant. In high school, I was a drama geek, constantly doing plays and

How were you treated at school? I was very lucky: I went to a [Steiner] Waldorf school, a very small, artistic school. In class, it’s not about lectures but conversation. You’re encouraged to participate in the conversation from a very young age. You’re treated like a person with a mind. They pay so much attention to each student. That changes how you develop as a human being. What did your parents think when you entered the world of showbiz? My father was very wary of it, and so was my mom. She became famous very quickly, very young. I don’t think it was a conscious decision; she was just trying to make extra money doing commercials and then she was called in for The Cosby Show. That’s why they wanted me to make sure I knew what I was doing. And what was their advice? Not to take it too seriously. Maybe that’s the reason I came out level-headed. People seem to get very serious about the Hollywood fame thing, way too deep. But it’s all an illusion, just a job. We are all equal. How are you dealing with your growing fame? The point is that I don’t live in Los Angeles. I find LA to be really isolating. It’s very spread out, so you’re in a car [a lot] and you’re by yourself. You decide who you talk to and who you don’t. That’s why I live in New York. I like walking in the street. I like sitting on stoops and taking public transport. I need that interaction with other people. I like people.

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What advice do you have for someone chasing screen roles like yours? You shouldn’t want them. If you do, that’s when you don’t get them. These were roles that I thought were impossible to get. I didn’t even want to audition for Mad Max, because I thought I stood no chance, but my agent forced me to do it. With Fantastic Beasts [Kravitz also appeared in the first movie in 2016], I thought, “This is a long shot.” But that creates a freedom of thinking where you have the attitude that it doesn’t really matter. Then, when you get [the role], it’s just good luck. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is in cinemas from November 16; fantasticbeasts.com

Zoë Kravitz

“FAME IS JUST AN ILLUSION”

So says the US actor who plays a witch in the new Fantastic Beasts film. But the 29-yearold believes success isn’t something you can just magic up

RÜDIGER STURM

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musicals. Acting has always made me happy. I used to put on shows for my grandparents, and I made them pay to watch me singing songs from Grease. At some point, I met my band [Elevator Fight, her first group] and we started making music. It all happened organically.

THE RED BULLETIN


“I DIDN'T WANT TO AUDITION FOR MAD MAX – I THOUGHT I HAD NO CHANCE”


B U L L EVA R D

How to...

Beat cold-water shock

“When you plunge through Siberian ice at -54°C, the first thing that happens is you start hyperventilating; you’re not getting enough oxygen around the body, so you’re aiding the process the water has already started. Controlling your breathing is paramount when fighting cold-water shock.”

SURVIVE BENEATH SIBERIAN ICE

Tom Hardy is known for his hardman roles, but when plunged into sub-zero Arctic ice water he had to deliver his toughest performance for real

Don’t smash the ice

Lake Baikal is frozen over from January to May. Hardy and Kane had to drive over it

“People naturally swim forward, but that smashes the ice, which is your only way out. Instead, go around the edge of the ice hole and find the point where the ice is thickest. Get your hands as far forward as you can without breaking any of the shelf, with your legs out flat behind you. Don’t thrash your legs. If you have a backpack or ski poles, lift them out first, then claw your way out.”

Brace for shutdown

Explorer Aldo Kane provides support to film and TV crews in extreme environments

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Watch your back

“If you’re walking with a backpack on and you end up falling through the ice, the first thing you need to do is get the pack off both your shoulders. If I’m crossing an icefield, I’ll always have my pack on one shoulder only. And you should have the pack waterproofed, too, so that it also acts a flotation device.”

Get dry quickly

“You should always carry a dry set of clothes. Take off your wet clothing and roll around in the snow – it will dry the water on you. Then find shelter and put on the non-drenched clothes. I was already hypothermic when I got out – my blood pressure was dropping, and I was on the verge of a cold-weather injury – so I jumped straight into the Land Rover with the heater running, to warm up slowly with a hot drink.” Instagram:@aldokane THE RED BULLETIN

MATT RAY

by cutting a hole in the ice and jumping in,” Kane explains. “And when Tom did it, the temperature was almost twice as cold as at the Royal Marines’ winter training. He’s a tough bloke.” Here are Kane’s top five survival tips…

TUUL AND BRUNO MORANDI/ALAMY, ALDO KANE

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he town of Oymyakon in Siberia is the coldest inhabited place on Earth. “Throw a cup of boiling water into the air and it will instantaneously turn into a fine dust,” says survival expert Aldo Kane. “Lose your gloves and you’ll lose your fingers. It’s cold enough to snap rubber hoses, so vehicle engines are never turned off. And falling through the ice here is scary – it’s lethal.” For the 2013 documentary Driven To Extremes: Coldest Road, Kane – a former Royal Marine – drew on his experience in Arctic conditions to quickly acclimatise the show’s star, actor Tom Hardy. “We trained

“The body starts to shut down as your blood centralises around vital organs and gets pulled out of your extremities, and you’ll begin to experience the early stages of frostnip and frostbite. The temperature in the water is above freezing, but it’s a great conductor of heat, so it won’t be long before you’re hypothermic. When you get out, everything rapidly starts to shut down. At -54°C, any water that’s left on the surface of your skin will freeze it, causing permanent damage.”


B U L L EVA R D

A LIGHT MEAL

The best way to serve fine cuisine beneath the greatest light show on Earth? Chilled, at 40 degrees below zero

dominated restaurant car dropped into a frozen meadow beneath the northern lights’ auroral oval, away from the light pollution of the nearby bayside town, Churchill. The CAD$350-a-head (£200) culinary experience will be available for only a few weeks in February and March 2019. It’s organised by a local travel company, Frontiers North Adventures, during the offseason of its popular polar bear tours, when the animals

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anadian chef Jared Fossen serves the kind of gourmet cuisine that foodies love to document on their iPhones. But no matter how fantastic his next menu, Fossen knows that nothing on the table can compete with what can be seen through the skylight of his restaurant on the frozen northern tip of Manitoba: the natural spectacle known as aurora borealis. The venue is Dan’s Diner, a window- and skylight-

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Dan's Diner has views to match the food

migrate to hunt seals, and the temperature at night can dip to -40C. Your transport to the diner is a Tundra Buggy, a widebodied ATV atop 1.7m-high tyres, which, each night, delivers 20 guests across the frozen lake from Churchill. “We approach under the cloak of darkness,” says John Gunter, the CEO of Frontiers North Adventures. “There’s this feeling of, ‘Where am I going?’ You need to orient yourself.” The locally sourced food, which includes regional game and fish such as caribou, elk, Arctic char and walleye, is prepped in town and cooked in a makeshift kitchen fitted with induction burners and a large outside barbecue. And if you do manage to tear your eyes away from the heavens and look down at your plate, you’ll still catch the aurora: there’s a roasted beet salad with rocket purée that’s designed to mimic the greens and purples of the evening’s light show. dans-diner.com THE RED BULLETIN

MIKE GERE PHOTO, HANDCRAFT CREATIVE

Dan’s Diner

LIZBETH SCORDO

Tundra Buggy Lodge, near Churchill, hosts accommodation cars and a dining hall


PURE CYCLING

CROSS BOSS

National cyclocross champion. European cyclocross champion. Cyclocross world cup winner. At just twenty three years old, Mathieu van der Poel is an unmatchable new force in the world of cyclocross. Riding the Canyon Inflite CF SLX, he’s uncatchable, too. canyon.com


B U L L EVA R D

DRS

Pit speed limiter

Speedometer

Wheelbase with belt-driven force feedback

Rev indicator

Joystick for looking around

Downshift paddle

Upshift paddle

Solid aluminium plate

THE WHEEL OF CHAMPIONS This month, one person will become the world’s greatest Formula One Esports driver. And they’ll do it using this wheel

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n a London arena sit 16 identical racing simulators, each piloted by a player representing a Formula One team, pursuing a place in the F1 Esports Pro Series final and US$200,000 (£150K) in prize money. Actual drivers Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) and Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) monitor their hand-selected competitors. It seems driving games have come a long way. Thomas Jackermeier knows that well. Twenty-one years ago, as a gamer himself, he started Fanatec to build better controllers. “Our first wheel

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didn’t have force feedback, just a spring, and the design was horrible,” he says. “But it was a breakthrough.” Today, Fanatec’s gaming wheels rate among the world’s best, and are used by F1 drivers including Verstappen. “Rubens Barrichello bought one without telling us,” says Jackermeier. “If he’d rung, we would have sent one to him.” Instead, Formula One called, asking Fanatec to build its official Esports wheel for use in competitions and training. Built from solid aluminium, with suede-like Alcantara grips, the Fanatec ClubSport Steering Wheel Formula One isn’t modelled on any specific F1 car’s wheel. “Those are carbon fibre, have more controls and a big LCD screen,” Jackermeier says. “But the ergonomics are

Fanatec's CSL Elite Pedals are included in the F1 bundle. Best used bolted to a driving seat

similar.” For Barrichello and the rest of us, the Fanatec wheel with a belt-driven forcefeedback wheelbase and pedals costs €600 (£540). Next year we’ll see a high-end ‘Podium edition’ with a direct-drive wheelbase, “delivering more torque than current F1 cars”. Jackermeier has more good news about the future: “The only way to get on a race track currently is with connections, money or both, but through Esports you have millions of skilled players. Sooner or later, an F1 driver will come from gaming.” And they will have trained on a Fanatic wheel. fanatec.com

TOM GUISE

Fanatec F1

FANATEC

Alcantara grips

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EVERY MILLISECOND MATTERS

Up to

Up to

AOC Gaming is the proud sponsor of


OSKAR ENANDER

Santiago Guzman and his freeskiing peers braved the Swiss icefields with photographer Oskar Enander. See page 32 for more



THE WINTER ISSUE

From car racing on ice to testing out the best snow gear, meet those making the most of the coldest months   31


The art of losing control The world’s best freeskiers allow fate to take over on sheer ice drops in Engelberg, Switzerland. Other than an unparalleled adrenalin rush, the experience offers a chance to discover a new type of freedom. And learn some unexpected life lessons along the way Words WERNER JESSNER Photography OSKAR ENANDER 32  




THE WINTER ISSUE Swedish freeskier William Larsson does a backflip in Engelberg’s icy wasteland. “We’re going to seek out the thrill of iceskiing more often now,” says his friend and fellow pro Piers Solomon. “It heightens your senses”


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here may be no powder, but there are glaciers, windblown slopes and a whole load of questions: what’s it like to ski down glacier icefields when there’s no grip and you can’t direct yourself or slow down? Is it possible to relinquish control for a few seconds, to truly give yourself up to nature, and live to tell the tale? How do you prepare for something you can’t train for, the full force of which only becomes clear once you’re too committed to bail out? Photographer Oskar Enander and some of the world’s best freeskiers found the answers on the sheer icefields of Engelberg, Switzerland. Enander, who has skied here for more than 15 years, has seen climate change alter the glacier and open up new possibilities for skiers. Curiosity piqued, this tight-knit group of friends decided to take a risk and ski the unknown. And what they discovered was more than any of them could have predicted. “You entrust yourself to the forces of nature for a couple of seconds, the way big-wave surfers do,” says Piers Solomon, who was born and raised in Engelberg. “The experience is humbling, belittling. It gives you a respect for the environment. Total control is an illusion. It’s good to be reminded of that sometimes.” 34  



1/ If in doubt, go straight ahead “There’s always risk. I would never ski down a steep glacial ice face, but I knew these guys had the skills to judge it,” says Enander, recalling the sight of Swedish ski pros Henrik Windstedt and Johan Jonsson heading up the icefield. “Then their skis clattered loudly – bang, bang, bang – and somehow they made it down.” How? Both had chosen the most direct route – a good rule of thumb on ice and in life.


2/ “The first time is the hardest – but also the most satisfying” Santiago Guzman is the best freeskier in Argentina. Although his parents are ski instructors and he’s been on the slopes from a young age, the Swiss icefields were new territory for the boy from Bariloche. After braving the unknown, he emerged smiling.


3/ Plan the start and the finish - it’s OK to lose control in between The skiers (pictured: American Marcus Caston) took a lot of time to find both the perfect angle to enter the icefields and run-off areas in the snow to help them slow down. In between, it was virtual free-fall. “The acceleration on the ice sheets was mega,” says Windstedt.



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4/ The more scared you feel before, the more proud you feel afterwards Extreme skier Solomon conquers a huge icefield on the northwest slope of the Steinberg – without the help of braking, steering or any real control.




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5/ Seize the day Solomon (seen here in mid-flight) and Enander found an oddly beautiful spot between the rock face and the glacier, and decided it was skiable – but only at that moment. “A couple of days later, a chunk of ice the size of a house collapsed and shut off this cavern,” says the photographer. “The place no longer exists.”


6/ Total control is an illusion This isn’t a sloping ice rink, it’s a frozen-water wilderness. All senses are on red alert. You focus on your trajectory and just go for it. Solomon calls it “mountain rodeo”: “It feels like free-fall, and for a few seconds you’re just a passenger.”



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THE WINTER ISSUE

Guiding Star When EMILIE DRINKWATER became a mountain guide, she realised a dream. Now, the American helps others to achieve theirs – this August, she assisted the first Afghan woman to summit her country’s highest peak Words ALEX KING

the red bulletin: What first attracted you to climbing? emilie drinkwater: I’m interested in the unknown – it doesn’t scare me. Climbing satisfies my curiosity. 42  



How did you end up as a guide? I grew up skiing and was introduced to rock climbing at university in New York. When I graduated, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, except that I wanted to climb. After one summer of teaching kids, I begged my way into guiding [in NY’s Adirondack Mountains] and I’ve stuck it out ever since, becoming certified and working through the progression. I’ve been at it a long time. What skill set is required? It’s important to remember it’s not about you; you’re living someone else’s dream. You should be better than your client, but it doesn’t matter if you’re not a 5.14 [elite-grade] rock climber. I’m a pretty average climber, but I’m a good instructor and I enjoy watching others learn. I’m also infinitely patient and super calm – those are good traits to have. What are you most proud of? Still being alive after many years in hazardous mountain environments. In terms of objectives, Afghanistan stands

TOMÁS ANDRES DONOSO

There’s a lot of hardship on the way to the top. This is something Emilie Drinkwater knows only too well. The 41-year-old American is one of just nine women in the US who is certified to the highest level by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations. And she has achieved this despite being, in her own words, an average climber who, at the age of 24 and with little experience, had to beg her way into her first guiding job. In the years since, Drinkwater has led first ascents across the world, and this summer she faced her most challenging assignment: guiding a team of Afghan women up Noshaq, their country’s highest mountain at 7,492m. The success of the mission, overcoming everything from avalanches to encounters with the Taliban and ISIS, is a testament to sheer perseverance – that of both Drinkwater and the climbers she guides.

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“I‘m interested in the unknown – it doesn‘t scare me. Climbing satisfies my curiosity“ Pictured: Emilie Drinkwater tackles the crux of Shockley’s Ceiling at Shawangunk Ridge, New York

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How did the climb go? Nothing lined up in our favour: the expedition leader dropped out, my visa was rejected… When we arrived in the country, the Taliban were locked in an intense battle 20km from where we’d planned to land, so we had to redirect to a different area, which meant a 13-hour drive to get back to the starting point. That’s when I got an intestinal illness and I also realised that some of these girls didn’t have the fitness or stamina to climb a 7,000m-plus mountain.

out – that we would have any success there was against all odds. What did the Afghanistan climb involve? Last autumn, I started talking to two filmmakers, Erin Trieb and Theresa Breuer. They’re not climbers, but they needed a guide for a documentary [An Uphill Battle] they were making about a group of Afghan women attempting an ascent of Mount Noshaq. I’d been to Afghanistan in 2015 as an assistant guide for Ascend Athletics [a non-profit organisation that develops young Afghan women’s confidence and skills through mountain climbing], which was looking to put the first local girls on the summit of Noshaq. At that time, we weren’t able to, due to the Taliban fighting. Which was a relief, as none of the girls had any experience. How tough is Noshaq to climb? By 8,000m peak-climbing standards, it’s considered straightforward, but when we went, this August, it was surprisingly icy. The second that you attach yourself with a rope to someone with marginal footwork skills, it gets dangerous, as they can drag you off. As the guide, I’m a moveable anchor. It was stressful. 44  



“The second that you attach yourself with a rope to someone with marginal footwork skills, it gets dangerous”

What is Hanifa like? Her life story is so different [from mine]. She didn’t grow up doing anything athletic, but it turns out she’s a natural and had the grit and determination to make this happen. She’s had a tough life and will continue to have a tough life. Her ascent is impressive and inspiring. What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt from your years in the mountains? There’s a lot of discomfort that goes with the territory: it’s scary and hard, with full-on suffering at times. That translates well to everyday life. I remind myself it’s OK to be uncomfortable, as it doesn’t last for ever.

Drinkwater and Hanifa Yousoufi on their historic climb of Noshaq in Afghanistan this summer

What’s your best advice to anyone dreaming of reaching a summit? The stuff I do is perceived as risky, but it’s all well planned and thought through. I encourage people to take those risks, too, but make sure they’re calculated. emiliedrinkwater.com THE RED BULLETIN

KRYSTLE WRIGHT, EMILIE DRINKWATER

Drinkwater leads skiers Jessica Baker and Sheldon Kerr across an Alaskan glacier in 2015

What did you decide to do? We gave the four girls a choice: either work together to get one person to the top, or all just try to reach camp 1 or 2 and give up on the summit. They decided to support one of their team, Hanifa [Yousoufi]. It was a mature choice. She made it to the summit and back down again without major illness or problems. It’s amazing when you look at the complexities: the presence of the Taliban and ISIS, the risk of kidnapping, the lack of experience in the team. Hanifa spoke no English; there aren’t even words in Dari [Afghan Persian] for some of these climbing techniques, so we had to get by with lots of gestures and body language.


Battle of the Misfits A ROKKIRALLI race is like no other: these low-budget, high-stakes car chases on ice test drivers to the limit. But here the ultimate prize isn’t the win - it’s being part of this unique community of bodge-savvy oddballs Words ALEX KING Photography OSSI PIISPANEN

Racing the sun: one of the last races of the day before sunset in Saarijärvi


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Price crash: cars are lined up for the auction at the end of the day’s racing. In the foreground is the VW Beetle involved in a multi-car pile-up

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here’s a farmhouse in Finland where cars go to die. Motor-racing-mad couple Esa ‘Sirppi’ Lehtimäki and Mirtsu Heikkilä have destroyed so many, their stables have become a makeshift cemetery for automobiles, with old number plates pinned up like gravestones – all that remains of the dearly departed vehicles. A row of snow-covered Ladas sit beneath the tall pine trees that ring their farm in Tuusula, an hour’s drive from the capital, Helsinki. Lehtimäki leaves these to live another day, instead whipping off a snow-covered tarpaulin to reveal a shoddily painted black-and-yellow car. This is the motor Heikkilä will be piloting tomorrow. But with its blunt sheet-metal front, it looks more home-made battle tank than a vehicle built for speed.

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Mirtsu Heikkilä

The driver: Heikkilä (pictured with Lehtimäki) is a psychiatric nurse, and the family rely on her to keep everyone’s heads together before a race. Usually a calming presence, behind the wheel she’s anything but. The race: “I can panic a lot. But once my helmet is on, I’m in the mood and everything else disappears. I drive fast, but sometimes my skills don’t match the speed…”

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ehtimäki’s kind eyes beam out from beneath his Lada-branded trapper’s hat as he backs the car into the garage, then pulls down a visor covered in demonic flames and begins to weld a tow bar to the rear. His wife watches, looking every bit the calm observer, but appearances are deceptive: Heikkilä has a handful of ‘Most Reckless Driver’ awards to her name and is known for flipping her cars. “Finland has long distances and bad dirt roads,” she says. “We’re a rally nation. Motorsport is part of our history. They say that many Finns learn to drive before walking.” Since 2000, the pair have co-organised Rokkiralli, Finland’s most low-cost rally series. It’s where they met. Gathering a disparate group of racers to compete on the country’s frozen lakes each winter, 50  



Rokkiralli has become a second home for off-the-wall characters who love speed, smashes, and tinkering with a motley fleet of unroadworthy vehicles. This petrol-hungry DIY family share a characteristically Finnish down-to-earth attitude and prize the art of creative bodging over the desire to win. Finland has produced World Rally Championship legends such as Marcus Grönholm and Tommi Mäkinen, as well as Formula One greats including Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Räikkönen and Mika Häkkinen. But Rokkiralli offers a raucous alternative to the more expensive, rulesfocused and corporate-dominated rally leagues. The price of each Rokkiralli car is capped at €650 (around £570) to create a level and accessible playing field, which attracts everyone from 15-yearTHE RED BULLETIN


“It’s liberating to sit in your car on the starting line, forget everything else and just drive”

Cars collide as they enter the first corner, one of the fastest on the Saarijarvi track

olds in isolated rural villages to eccentric lumberjack mechanics. This truly is racing without limits; a place where your budget, age, gender or devil-may-care attitude really don’t matter.

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ouvola is a two-hour drive northeast from Helsinki; keep driving for another two hours and you’ll cross the border into Russia. Here, on the outskirts of the city, is a sprawling ranch strewn with a collection of vehicles in various states of disrepair. The fronts of two battered black-and-white cars have been fused together, back-to-back, like some kind of Frankenstein creation, with two beefy metal crash bars bolted to each side. Nearby sits a squat 1983 Chevrolet C10 pick-up truck with a hefty black metal

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Lehtimäki (clutching trademark sickle) in his garage

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“They say many Finns learn to drive before walking”

Esa ‘Sirppi’ Lehtimäki The driver: Lehtimäki loves working on old, Communist-made cars that would otherwise be destined for the scrapheap, and he even adopted the Soviet Union’s hammerand-sickle emblem for his racing career. This is how he got his nickname: Sirppi is ‘sickle’ in Finnish. The race: “I hammer everything out of the car I’m driving. I have the nerves to stay cool and focused in any situation; the adrenalin keeps me going.” THE RED BULLETIN 

roll cage and a front radiator grille made from rusting barbed wire. This is the playground of Kristian ‘The Sheik’ Laakso, Rokkiralli’s enigmatic founder. In person, Laakso makes a strong impression: with a thick vertical strip of goatee the only hair on his face or shaven head, and a cigarette hanging from one of his weathered hands, he doesn’t look like the kind of guy you’d want to meet in a dark alley. “Like most Finns, I normally come up with the best ideas in the sauna,” he says. “That’s where the Rokkiralli concept was born, back in 1998. I’ve been organising the Destruction Derby scene for the last 25 years. Destruction Derby is mainly for show, and I wanted to build a totally new scene. Rokkiralli exploded in popularity because you don’t have to invest huge amounts in your car. The whole point was to give everyone the chance to win.” Rokkiralli’s unique identity stems from Laakso’s friends, who, he says, have little regard for normal standards of behaviour and translated their larger-than-life personalities into bizarrely bodged racing vehicles. “Their eccentricity comes from their mother’s milk,” he says, eyeing a sinister-looking 1964 Ford Vanette with a life-sized skeleton in a rusty soldier’s helmet sitting on the dashboard. Rokkiralli cars are unique. Injured vehicles are sliced apart and stuck back together with mismatched parts; sheet or corrugated metal is welded on to replace damaged bodywork. Fire extinguishers become part of a car’s bodywork, random pieces of junk metal are used as bumpers, and no soft toy is safe from being strung up on a makeshift radiator. It’s all part of the racing series’ uncommon charm. The Sheik is no longer involved in Rokkiralli – bankruptcy forced him to take a back seat – but his legacy endures. “I’ve been a petrolhead all my life,” he says. “I was brought up by a single-parent mother, and we never had the money for a car. But as a teenager I had such a passion for driving. When I started Rokkiralli, it was a foot in the door for a new generation of drivers who don’t have rich parents.” Rokkiralli is Eetu Tupala’s only opportunity to race. Standing on his driveway in Korpilahti, one of Finland’s poorest municipalities, the gangly 16-year-old wears long blue overalls, with a red hoodie pulled up over his white baseball cap to keep as much warmth in as possible. He darts quickly   53


Sanna Sillman The driver: Sillman works as a nurse for those with special needs, but wants to train as a paramedic. She hopes to use the skills she’s honed on the track to become an ambulance driver one day. The race: “If I get really nervous before a race, I’ll sit in the car. Half an hour just sitting behind the steering wheel really relaxes you.”

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One of the menacing-looking machines on the circuit. Its rough, hand-scrawled paintwork is typical of the scruffy aesthetic that many racers go for

“Rokkiralli is a foot in the door for drivers who don‘t have rich parents” THE RED BULLETIN 

around his mangled Mazda so the icy chill doesn’t catch up with him. The half-arsed way Tupala and his fellow racers decorate their cars is part of the charm of Rokkiralli. The silly slogans (‘Rubber and Condoms’) and made-up sponsors (‘Old Skool Shit Project Racing Team’), which poke fun at the more corporate rally leagues, are often handdaubed in paint or written in permanent marker. Why put time and effort into aesthetics when there’s a good chance your car will be destroyed or exchanged? Also, all the vehicles that reach the semifinals are put up for raffle, which takes place in a flurry of incomprehensible Finnish humour at the end of racing. This helps keep everyone honest; you’ll think twice about spending thousands on souping up a winning machine, only

to lose it for €650 in the raffle. “These shitboxes we drive…” Tupala says. “Swapping cars is part of the fun; you never know if you’ll get something great or an absolute shitbox. You can’t fall in love with this junk metal.”

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he temperature on Sunday afternoon by Lake Saarijärvi, an almost five-hour drive north from Helsinki, has fallen to a teeth-chattering -8°C. The snow-topped pine trees around the lake disappear dreamily into a thick fog. Beneath the gaze of a quaint, wooden 19th-century church, the roar of engines shatters the peace. Rokkiralli is in town. One entire side of the lake is taken up by the pits, with two long rows of vehicles sitting on tarpaulins to protect the ice   55


“A pro rally driver would struggle in one of these cars“ from dripping oil. Drivers tinker with their machines as spectators wander up and down the rows, inspecting these bizarre creations. Behind the officials’ wood-panelled hut on wheels, there’s a little stand selling hot dogs. Spectators line the home straight, sipping coffee and jumping up and down to keep warm. Around 150 people have braved the cold to watch the action. In small Finnish towns in the depths of winter, Rokkiralli represents a rare opportunity for entertainment. Racing isn’t limited to winter, but each year around a third of the series’ total races are driven on ice, dependant on conditions. Before each race, the strength of the ice is assessed by drilling a hole and measuring the thickness – 50cm is the minimum requirement. Today, around 60 men, 14 women and 14 male and female juniors will compete, Lake Saarijärvi having passed the ice test. Amid the chaos and colour of the pits, Sanna Sillman is easily spotted thanks to the pink hair cascading over her shoulders from beneath her helmet. Racing has been Sillman’s dream since her teens, and today she’s the secretary of the women’s Rokki league. But unlike Tupala and his friends, she didn’t get the chance so early in life – and when she did, it was in secret. “My husband Matti had known for years about my passion to race,” Sillman says. “But he didn’t believe in my driving skills and said we didn’t have the time or money. My girlfriend’s husband told me about Rokkiralli and helped me repair a ruined car we bought behind Matti’s back.” Here, Sillman is driving a black Opel with pink trim and a smiling toy hedgehog strapped – somewhat sacrificially – to the front grille. “I don’t like it when people say women drive more slowly than men,” she says. “It’s not true. My girlfriends get scared when they’re in my car, so they support me letting off steam on the track instead.” There are few rules when it comes to competition, though safety is paramount. Paramedics are always on hand, all the competitors are breathalysed, and the roll cage and structural integrity of each car is inspected to ensure the driver can walk away after an accident. But once your car has been OKed and you’re out on the track, almost anything goes. The male racers are first to roar into action, accompanied by a high-speed jumble of Finnish – a feverish commentary attempting to give meaning to the madness on the track – blaring out from a long string of tannoys. Each of the three race 56  



Kristian ‘The Sheik’ Laakso The driver: It was while working at a service station as a teenager that Laakso got his nickname – an homage to the Middle Eastern oil barons. In the ’90s, he had the name made legal on his passport. The race: “It’s all or nothing. Everyone knows my style and expects something to happen. I give my best when I drive. But I often find myself outside of the track, on my own, when I push it too hard.” THE RED BULLETIN


The Sheik in his garage at home in Kouvola with his 1983 Chevrolet C10 and 1964 Ford Vanette

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Top: one of the higher-spec cars is tested in the pits. Below left: studded tyres are necessary when racing on ice. Note the battered bodywork, too

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“Winning isn’t the most important thing at Rokkiralli. It’s the fun, the atmosphere, the sense of togetherness“ laps takes only around a minute, but what Rokkiralli races lack in length they make up for in brutality. The cars battle the technical, winding course that stretches around the edge of the lake, nudging and bumping each other as they go. At speeds of up to 95kph on ice, any contact can be race-changing. Nobody flips out today, but soon the stomachchurning crunch of twisting and scraping metal is audible: an old Volkswagen Beetle ends up crushed in the middle of a multi-car pile-up on the first bend. It has to be towed back to the pits, leaking fluid all over the ice.

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Eetu Tupala The driver: Tupala (left) taught himself to speak (immaculate) English by playing the video game CounterStrike online. The race: “I have the same mentality as Colin McRae: I’m flat out every time. If the speed doesn’t scare me, I’m not going fast enough.” THE RED BULLETIN 

ext, it’s the women’s turn. Drivers in the first heat look steely and focused. Heikkilä revs her engine, expectantly. Then they’re off in a cacophony of screaming engines, wheels tearing into the ice, sending grimy chunks of snow flying. Heikkilä’s Mazda strains to take off and wobbles awkwardly around each corner, sliding all over the track. Without the power to catch up on the straights, she fades away, ending up at the rear of the pack. Later, in the pits, as wounded vehicles continue to limp past, Heikkilä replays the action with a pained expression on her face, waving her arms emphatically. “The track’s so slippery,” she says. “But I managed to stay on four wheels and didn’t flip the car, so that’s good.” Both she and Sillman have missed out on trophies today, but here that’s no cause for upset. “Winning isn’t the most important thing at Rokkiralli,” Heikkilä says. “We don’t travel across the country for the competition. It’s about the fun, the atmosphere, the sense of togetherness.” The Rokkiralli junior series is open to 15-to-18-year-olds – mainly boys, though some girls drive, too. Tupala’s Mazda isn’t ready, so a friend lends him a ’70s Toyota Corolla, affectionately known as ‘The Pink Monster’. With a fluffy pig strapped to an improvised grille, alongside the words ‘Pussyman Pasi’, there’s no way this car would make the cut in the more sober, semi-professional rally leagues. But Tupala is certain that Rokkiralli’s racers are doing what the pros can’t. “Sure, racing on ice is easy if you have a great car, a big budget and a team of mechanics,” he says. “We just have to make things work. Put a professional rally driver in one of these cars and they’d struggle.” This is Tupala’s first time racing a rearwheel drive, and the gearbox is barely

functioning, so he doesn’t rate his chances. But, as racing begins, his aggression gives him the lead. He’s gunning the ramshackle engine to the limit into the third and final lap, only to fishtail into a corner. He wrestles madly with the steering wheel to regain control before ploughing into a snowbank. “Vittu, vittu, vittu,” he shouts in Finnish (best left untranslated) as he scrambles from his car. “Winter racing is so much more challenging than summer,” Tupala explains later. “When you’re racing on ice, you have so much less control and visibility. I’m grabbing on for dear life on every corner out there, desperately trying not to spin out.” But, like Heikkilä and Sillman, he’s still glad he made the trip here today. “I enjoy the whole ritual that comes with Rokkiralli,” Tupala says. “The Rokkiralli crowd has grown a lot in the past few years – it seems like one big family. It’s a liberating feeling to sit in your car on the starting line and forget everything else, whether it’s school or personal problems. You don’t have to think, just drive.” The tongue-in-cheek nature of the competition extends to the prize-giving, which wraps up the day’s racing. As an oil-stained huddle gathers around the judges – usually retired competitors, who don’t get paid for their efforts – victorious drivers pick up their trophies. The crowd roars with laughter as, rather than being presented with champagne, the winners are berated for their success. Exhausted after an intense day’s racing, no one is relishing their long journey home. But as cars are loaded back onto their trailers, warm farewells are exchanged by the drivers, happy in the knowledge that this rag-tag, itinerant family will come together again on another far-flung frozen lake some time soon. Between them, the Rokkiralli crew will clock up tens of thousands of kilometres on windswept roads, through Finland’s immense frozen expanses, driving home across this wild, rugged country. And the passengers of every vehicle they pass will be forced to do a double-take. Those who aren’t intimidated by the mangled lumps of metal on the trailers, covered in menacing spray-painted teeth or nursing painful-looking impact collisions, will have their curiosity piqued. And any true oddball who’s inspired to join them, to test their own mettle on the ice, will be welcomed with open arms.   59


Katie’s toughest 360 Team GB snowboarder KATIE ORMEROD is used to picking herself back up, but this year a horrific injury delivered her hardest knockdown yet. One that, she says, has made her stronger Words TOM GUISE Photography DAN CERMAK

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t the start of this year, Katie Ormerod was on top of the world. Billed as Team GB’s best hope for gold at the Winter Olympics, the snowboarder – then 20 – had arrived in Pyeongchang filled with confidence. “I’d qualified in the top five and felt I could get a medal,” she recalls. “But it didn’t go quite as planned.” Before the opening ceremony had even began, Ormerod would be out of the competition with the worst injury of her life. On February 7, two days before the Olympics kicked off, Ormerod had been practising on the slopestyle course. “It was the last half hour on the first day of training, and I was tricking on the top drop rail – one of my basic warm-ups – when I slipped off the end. The snow was so cold it was like concrete, and I knocked my hand on the ground. I was aware it was probably broken, but it wasn’t a big deal – I’m used to it.”

That’s an understatement: the list of Ormerod’s previous injuries reads like the lyrics to the song Dem Bones. She has snapped her anterior cruciate ligament, the meniscus on both knees, fractured her shoulder, and broken both arms. A year earlier, she’d chipped her L3 vertebrae. This was just a wrist injury. “They gave me some painkillers, put it in a splint, and I was good to go, basically,” she says. That night, Ormerod didn’t sleep well. “Even though it was only a broken wrist, it was painful and annoying,” she recalls. The next day, she changed her training plan. “I only had a certain amount of time before the painkillers wore off, so I knew I had to get through the whole course on my first run. I did a 50-50 on the first rail, clipped the knuckle and came off the tiniest bit. As soon as I touched the ground, I knew it was bad. My previous injuries felt like paper cuts compared with the pain in my foot. I collapsed in agony.” Once the medics got Ormerod to the bottom of the mountain, they tried to cut her snowboard boot from her foot. “But they didn’t have the right equipment, or any gas and air. They gave me Tramadol and injected me with all sorts, but nothing would numb the pain. I was terrified the bone had broken through the skin and that there would be blood everywhere.” After an hour, they had no choice but to pull off the boot. “It was unimaginably painful, but there was no blood, so I knew it wasn’t a compound fracture.” At the hospital, an X-ray confirmed she had cleaved her heel bone in two. “My Olympics was done, but all I could think of was managing the pain.” As the bone was so close to piercing the skin, she needed an immediate operation. “The surgeons put my heel back together and inserted two pins. The bone had broken THE RED BULLETIN


“My life was just one operation after another, followed by rehab� Ormerod, photographed for the January 2018 issue of The Red Bulletin, just before her accident


Clockwise from left: an X-ray shows Katie’s heel bone broken in two; awaiting surgery after being moved to Seoul; a milestone on April 21 – the first day she was able to stand without crutches (“Not gonna lie, if I was to take a step forward I’d probably fall flat on my face right now,” she posted); back on two feet and working on her rehab at Manchester physio clinic Harris & Ross

The hard steps to recovery

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KATIE ORMEROD

Ormerod has shared her long journey back to fitness on social media. Her candid reports began almost immediately after the accident, when she posted a photo of herself in hospital, clearly still in great pain, with the caption: “I severely broke my heel into 2 pieces, so having surgery in a couple of hours to get it fixed. Words can’t describe how gutted I am, but thank you to everyone for all your support and kind words!” THE RED BULLETIN


so cleanly they called it a surgeon’s dream. I thought it wouldn’t be as painful when it was back together, but I was wrong; when I woke up, it hurt even more.” She was kept in hospital for eight days. “I missed the opening ceremony. I sat and watched my best friends compete and have the most amazing experience. I was really happy for them, but at the same time sad I couldn’t be part of it all.” When Ormerod was finally able to fly back to the UK, she was greeted with more bad news. “In Korea, I’d been told I’d probably be fine in three months, but my physio said it was at least nine.” While the bone hadn’t broken the skin, it had cut off the blood supply, turning the skin black. “I went to see a specialist and he was concerned the skin had died all the way to the bone, which would have been the worst-case scenario. So they operated as soon as they could. And it was the worst-case scenario.”

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or the next three weeks, Ormerod was attached, via a tube inserted into her heel, to a portable woundmanagement machine that stimulated tissue growth while cleaning the wound. “I had three more operations – one a week. Then a skin graft. I thought that would be the last of the operations and I’d be able to start my rehab properly, but I was on crutches for three months.” Those days proved brutal. “I was struggling mentally with the whole injury, just on the couch in pain. I couldn’t move far; when I stood up, the blood would rush to my foot. I couldn’t even leave the house. That was hard to deal with. “I had all these plans to travel after the Olympics, do all these competitions and have an amazing summer, but that was taken from me. My life was just one operation after another, followed by rehab. It was a really dark period for me.” In the five months that followed her accident, Ormerod underwent six operations in total; the last was in July after she began experiencing a new pain in her foot. “My bone had grown back, but too much, into the shape of a hook,” she says. “I had to have it shaved off.” Looking back, she admits to having hid her troubles. “I kept them all to myself, until one day I realised maybe it would help if I talked about them. It turns out a lot of athletes with big injuries go through similar experiences. I wasn’t alone.” It was on April 29, 11 weeks into rehab, that Ormerod took her first steps without crutches. Four weeks later, she could wear her own shoes again and begin legstrength exercises with her physio. “It was the most boring thing in the world: 10 sets THE RED BULLETIN 

Back on board: Ormerod is planning her return to competition, hopefully in February

of calf raises every day. But the goal was to get back to snowboarding, and that’s what drove me on. If you think about your end goal, it gives you that extra push. It helped me work a little bit better each day, feel more pain-free. That was my reward.” On September 3, a week after her 21st birthday, Ormerod went for her first run in more than 30 weeks. “That was the best feeling in the world,” she says. “My calf had lost so much muscle that the Achilles was taking all the strain. Being able to run was a massive milestone. Hitting these milestones keeps you really positive and gives you the drive to carry on going.”

“I never want to feel that much pain ever again”

She even discovered a silver lining to her injury: “Thanks to the rehab, I’m physically much stronger than before. Mentally, too – I’m returning to snowboarding with a clear head.” On September 21, at Milton Keynes’ Snozone, Ormerod got on her board for the first time in seven months and took a tentative run down the hill. If she seemed different, that’s because she was: “I’ve had so many injuries, but this is the only one that’s fazed me. I never want to feel that much pain ever again. This might change me, make me smarter. Once, I might have competed in bad weather, but now I’ll wait until the weather’s good.” Her next target is to compete again, hopefully as early as February. “I’m in a good mental space, and I feel so strong right now,” Ormerod smiles. “I should get my kicks back quite soon.” Follow her progress at redbull.com   63


THE WINTER ISSUE


Mountain King Climber SIMONE MORO braves savage winds and freezing conditions to make pioneering ascents in the depths of winter. The Italian discusses the dreams and dangers involved in his high-risk, high-altitude expeditions Words MARK BAILEY

NANGA PARBAT: ‘THE KILLER MOUNTAIN’ HEIGHT: 8,126m

SIMONE MORO, PETER SKREPNIK/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

LOCATION: Himalayas, Pakistan NAME: Nanga Parbat is derived from the Sanskrit words nagna and parvata (‘Naked Mountain’). But its grim reputation among climbers has earned it the nickname ‘The Killer Mountain’. FIRST ASCENT: July 3, 1953, by Austrian climber Hermann Buhl. The previous 31 attempts had ended in failure. “It was an incredible irresistible urge that drove my exhausted body onward,” remembered Buhl. FIRST WINTER ASCENT: February 26, 2016, by Simone Moro, Alex Txikon and Ali Sadpara. “The size of the mountain made it the hardest of my 8,000m summits,” reports Moro. COLDEST TEMPERATURE FACED: -60°C CLIMBING DEATHS TO DATE: 83 MOST COMMON CAUSE OF DEATH: Avalanche (43%)



BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Nanga Parbat is actually the biggest climb on the planet – not the highest, but the biggest in terms of size,” explains Moro. “When you climb Everest from the north side, from advanced base camp to the summit is around 2,400m of climbing. But on Nanga Parbat, after you climb for 2,400m you are only in the middle, so it is like climbing Everest with another Everest on top! It’s also very exposed to the cold and the wind, and it’s often in the shadow when you climb. It took all my years of experience just to enjoy 10 beautiful minutes on the summit.” DID YOU KNOW? The Rupal Face on the southern flank is considered to be the world’s tallest mountain face, rising 4,600m from base to summit. OTHER EPIC CLIMBS: On July 15, 2012, Scottish mountaineers Sandy Allan and Rick Allen completed a historic first ascent via the hazardous 13km Mazeno Ridge – the longest ridge on any 8,000m peak.

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MAKALU: ‘BEYOND DEATH’ HEIGHT: 8,463m LOCATION: Mahalangur Himal on the Nepal/Tibet border NAME: Derived from Mahakala, the name given to one of the many forms of the Hindu god Shiva. The words maha and kala translate literally from Sanskrit as ‘Beyond Death’. FIRST ASCENT: May 15, 1955, by French mountaineers Lionel Terray and Jean Couzy. Their climbing colleague Jean Fanco described the imposing Makalu as “one of the greatest walls on Earth, so abrupt and so inhuman that only the clouds may visit these red towers”. FIRST WINTER ASCENT: February 9, 2009, by Simone Moro and Denis Urubko. “Sometimes the wind threw us to the ground,” recalls Moro. “It was strong enough to move rocks.” COLDEST TEMPERATURE FACED: -52°C CLIMBING DEATHS TO DATE: 36 MOST COMMON CAUSE OF DEATH: Falls (31%)

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “The hardest part was waking up at 3am for the summit push, because the cold was crazy,” explains the Italian mountaineer. “We were doing a fast, light climb, so we used thinner sleeping bags, but the temperatures were -40°C at night. In the shade or at night, the temperature could drop as much as 30 degrees in minutes. And my eyes were swelling with the altitude. At times, the snow was like powder, and we kept slipping down. The last steps were so hard I just fell to my knees at the summit.” DID YOU KNOW? Thanks to its steep 50° pitches and exposed knife-edge ridges, Makalu is considered to be one of the most technically challenging of the world’s 8,000m peaks. OTHER EPIC CLIMBS: The notoriously lethal west face, guarded by sheer drops, gale-force winds and avalanches, was finally conquered in 1997 by the Russians Alexey Bolotov, Yuri Ermachek, Dmitry Pavlenko, Igor Bugachevski and Nikolai Jiline.

“Winter climbing is about going beyond the accepted human limitations, venturing beyond the edges of the known world“


DE AGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES, CORY RICHARDS COURTESY OF SIMONE MORO

All-time high: Moro and climbing partner Denis Urubko at the summit of Makalu in February 2009

T

he high-altitude peaks of the Himalayas and Karakoram are fearsome citadels of rock, defended by crevasses, oxygenstarved air and perilous slopes. But in winter the hazards faced there by mountaineers reach a hellish intensity. Temperatures can plunge below -50°C, elevating the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Howling 100kph jet-stream winds blast climbers off their feet. Heavy snowfall triggers catastrophic avalanches. And with fewer hours of daylight, any mistake can be fatal. Yet, while most climbers avoid the cold season, the Italian Simone Moro targets this diabolical winter window for his trailblazing ascents. THE RED BULLETIN 

A respected mountaineer from Bergamo, a city in the foothills of the Italian Alps, 51-year-old Moro is the master of winter climbing – a niche pursuit in which frozen peaks are scaled during the astronomical winter months of December 21 to March 20, when the Northern Hemisphere tilts away from the sun. Having completed the first-ever winter climbs of Shishapangma (8,027m), Makalu (8,463m), Gasherbrum II (8,035m) and Nanga Parbat (8,126m), Moro is the only mountaineer to have achieved first winter ascents of four of our planet’s 14 8,000m-plus peaks. Most of the great climbing challenges having already been accomplished, winter ascents offer mountaineers a fresh way to test the limits of endurance. “Winter climbing is a new form of exploration,” declares Moro. “This is a psychological

and physical challenge of perseverance and discovery which makes you feel like the early mountaineers, explorers and navigators.” On winter climbs, says Moro, he feels like Christopher Columbus ‘discovering’ the New World in 1492, or Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay completing the first conquest of Everest in 1953: “It’s about going beyond the accepted human limitations and venturing beyond the edges of the known world.” The extreme conditions are an essential part of the appeal: only by pushing himself can he reap the ultimate rewards. “In winter, you have a maximum 15 per cent success rate and an 85 per cent chance of failure,” Moro says. “But after all the pain and perseverance, you know you have done something no one else has. A winter climb is not just a cold version of a summer   67


A long climb ahead: Moro at Camp 2 (at an altitude of 6,200m) on the 8,035m-high Gasherbrum II in January 2011

one. First of all, there’s the solitude. You’re alone with your team. There’s an insane silence, except for the wind, which sounds like an aeroplane taking off. There’s no water, so you have to melt ice to drink. And with less daylight, you must climb faster so you don’t get lost in the dark. But at the summit the air can be so clear you can see the curve of the globe and feel like you have witnessed perfection.” As well as conquering iconic peaks, Moro enjoys tackling obscure smaller mountains in winter. In February this year, he completed the first winter climb of Pik Pobeda (3,003m), Siberia’s highest peak. He calls it “the coldest mountain on the planet”, because the nearby towns of Yakutsk (-67.6°C) and Oymyakon (-67.8°C) boast the lowest temperatures ever recorded outside Antarctica. “I’ve climbed in Antarctica, but Siberia was the coldest,” he says. “It was regularly -40 to -45°C. On 8,000m mountains it can be colder at the summit, but this chill was relentless. The real enemy, though, is the remoteness – there’s no possibility of rescue. The nearest helicopter was 1,500km away.”

This sense of isolation ramps up the thrill for Moro, equipping him with a feeling of total self-sufficiency. “You have to depend completely on yourself,” he says. The dangers are real: during a winter climb of Annapurna I (8,091m) in the Himalayas in 1997, Moro’s teammates Anatoli Boukreev and Dimitri Sobolev were killed by an avalanche that left him bloodied but alive. His subsequent success is a result of allowing himself to be afraid. “I want to live for a dream and not die for a dream,” Moro says, before referencing his wife, Barbara, and two children, Martina and Jonas. “It is important to feel danger before you see danger. If the gazelle waits until it sees the teeth of the lion, it’s too late. So I try to feel, smell, see, think and sense danger and maybe I will turn back early. I am not a kamikaze – a kamikaze doesn’t arrive at his 50th birthday.” Moro grew up climbing with his father in the Italian Alps and Dolomites, and he idolised great mountaineers such as Reinhold Messner. By the age of 20, Moro was competing for Italy in sport climbing events, but he knew mountaineering

offered greater chances for exploration. He has since climbed Everest four times, as well as other legendary 8,000m mountains, such as Broad Peak and Lhotse. But he craved new challenges: “I like to be a good student, not a good teacher. A teacher feels [as if they’re] at the end of their learning, whereas a student is always hungry to learn. With winter climbing, I am now testing myself every time.”

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inter climbing was pioneered in the 1980s by a generation of Polish mountaineers known as the ‘Ice Warriors’. Krzysztof Wielicki and Leszek Cichy made the first winter summit of Everest (8,848m) in 1980, and Wielicki and his peers – Jerzy Kukuczka and Maciej Berbeka among them – shared between them six other first winter ascents of 8,000m peaks that decade. But after Wielicki’s 1988 conquest of Lhotse (8,516m), no climber established a new 8,000m winter summit for 17 years. Then, on January 14, 2005, Moro and his Polish teammate Piotr Morawski ended the drought with a first ascent of

“There’s an explosion of happiness when you reach the summit. You’re seeing a winter scene no other human has experienced” 68  



THE RED BULLETIN


SIMONE MORO, GETTY IMAGES

On top of the world: the Italian climber poses at the summit of Tibet’s Shishapangma in January 2005

SHISHAPANGMA: ‘THE ABODE OF GOD’ HEIGHT: 8,013m LOCATION: Tibet NAME: Shishapangma is Tibetan for ‘Crest above the Grassy Plains’; its Sanskrit name, Gosainthan, means ‘Abode of God’. FIRST ASCENT: May 2, 1964, by Xu Jing’s 10-strong Chinese expedition. FIRST WINTER ASCENT: January 14, 2005, by Simone Moro and Piotr Morawski. COLDEST TEMPERATURE FACED: -52°C CLIMBING DEATHS TO DATE: 31 MOST COMMON CAUSE OF DEATH: Avalanche (48%) BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “The hardest part of Shishapangma was in the mind,” says THE RED BULLETIN 

Moro. “There hadn’t been an 8,000m winter climb in 17 years, so it was like changing history. But the south-face route was also difficult technically – we had to climb with ice axes and crampons, and cross exposed ridges in winds of 115kph.” DID YOU KNOW? Shishapangma was the last 8,000m peak to be summited. China didn’t issue visas until its own people had completed the climb. OTHER EPIC CLIMBS: On April 17, 2011, Ueli Steck speed-climbed the 2,000m southwest face in a record 10-and-a-half hours.

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GASHERBRUM II: ‘THE BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAIN’ HEIGHT: 8,035m LOCATION: Karakoram Range on the Pakistan/China border NAME: Gasherbrum is a combination of the words rgasha and brum in the Tibetan Balti dialect and translates as ‘Beautiful Mountain’. FIRST ASCENT: July 7, 1956, by the Austrian climbers Fritz Moravec, Josef Larch and Hans Willenpart. “At every other step, we had to lean against the slope in exhaustion, then rest, fighting for breath,” reported Moravec. FIRST WINTER ASCENT: February 2, 2011, by Simone Moro, Cory Richards and Denis Urubko. “In some places, the snow was so deep we were almost swimming,” says Moro. COLDEST TEMPERATURE FACED: -57°C CLIMBING DEATHS TO DATE: 23

MOST COMMON CAUSE OF DEATH: Falls (39%) BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Gasherbrum II is a very unpredictable place in winter,” explains Moro. “We had to pass beneath seracs [teetering towers of ice] and the glacier is full of crevasses. We fell into them maybe 10-12 times in total and had to pull each other out with ropes. It was so cold, we had ice forming in our tent at night. There are also avalanches, rock falls, unstable fields of snow and snowstorms. A steep section called Banana Ridge is very exposed. We only spent 20 minutes on the summit.” DID YOU KNOW? Despite its size, Gasherbrum II is in such a remote location that it’s one of the only 8,000m peaks on the planet not visible from any human settlement. OTHER EPIC CLIMBS: In the summer season of July 2006, German skiers Sebastian Haag and Benedikt Böhm climbed Gasherbrum II twice in a week and skied back down each time.

“We were lucky to survive the avalanche – I was the only guy on the surface. It was the scariest moment of my winter climbs”


CORY RICHARDS COURTESY OF SIMONE MORO

Shishapangma in Tibet. The year before, with daylight fading, he had turned back just 300m from the summit – proof of his refusal to make kamikaze decisions. On his return in 2005, Moro had to skirt teetering seracs (towers of ice), shelter from mini-tornadoes of snow, and endure weather so cold that ice encrusted his lips and made it impossible to talk. At the summit, temperatures dropped to -52°C. “People said that as the weather had become more extreme since the ’80s, there was no longer hope for winter expeditions,” recalls Moro. “But I was convinced it was not impossible.” Smashing expectations was part of the appeal: “My climb was not only the first success in 17 years but the last step in my own mind being convinced.” On February 9, 2009, Moro completed another first winter ascent, of Makalu in the Himalayas. More than 10 expeditions had already tried and failed. Most involved large teams slowly laying siege to the mountain, but Moro led a smaller, faster four-person group. Only he and Kazakh climber Denis Urubko completed the push to the summit. “We broke all the rules,” he says. “The climbing community laughed at me, but it was a very visionary climb. In winter, speed can make the difference.” At night, the temperature inside his tent was -40°C. On his climb to the summit, the jet-stream winds created swirling vortices that swept Moro off his feet. The final 800m of ascent took eight hours to complete. “When the winds reach 100kph they can tear the roof off a house, so how can you resist when you’re sitting on a tiny mountain ridge at 8,000m?” he says. In his book The Call Of The Ice, Moro describes every breath as, “A knife to the lungs, an agony necessary for survival.” But the resilience required is what makes the experience so pure: “There is no room for anything but to survive.” Even the descents can be lethal. On February 2 ,2011, he climbed Gasherbrum II with Urubko and American climber Cory Richards, but, on their way down, a serac collapsed, triggering an avalanche that swept them 150m downhill and – by some miracle – threw them across a crevasse. “We were lucky to survive, because I was the only guy on the surface,” says Moro. “The others were inside the avalanche with their heads sticking out, so I had to dig them out. It was the scariest moment of my winter climbs.” Moro completed his fourth 8,000m winter climb – the Himalayan peak of Nanga THE RED BULLETIN 

Peak endurance: Moro climbs the glacier of Gasherbrum II at 5,600m in January 2011

“Every breath is a knife to the lungs, an agony necessary for survival” Parbat – on February 26, 2016, alongside Alex Txikon of Spain and Muhammad Ali Sadpara of Pakistan. He succeeded where 27 previous expeditions had failed, but patience was required: heavy snowfall kept his team tent-bound in lower camps for 80 days. Sticking to the task only made the success sweeter, he says: “After such a delay, there’s an explosion of happiness when you reach the summit. You know you’re seeing a winter scene that no other human being has ever experienced. You have a physical desire to touch it, explore it and preserve it.”

T

he Italian is blessed with many qualities that make him the master of winter climbing: the technical ability to climb at speed, the mental composure to make calm decisions, and the patience to wait for the right conditions. “To survive, you need knowledge, patience, perseverance and good friendship, but, above all, the ability to suffer,” says Moro, who has inspired other contemporary climbers, too; Poland’s Adam Bielecki and his teammates secured the first winter summits of Gasherbrum I (8,080m) in 2012 and Broad Peak (8,051m) in 2013. The only 8,000m peak yet to be climbed in winter is K2 (8,611m), but, because Moro’s wife had a dream he’d perished there, he has

promised never to try. He is instead targeting remote winter climbs, such as his recent ascent of Pik Pobeda with fellow Italian Tamara Lunger. The multi-day journey to Siberia involved flights, 4WD vehicles, skis and snowmobiles. “When we arrived, it was like a scene from a Santa Claus story with reindeer and snow,” Moro says. “It was so cold even our sweat began to freeze, so I had to change strategy. The best sleeping bag would not have kept us warm at altitude, so we did a fast, light climb in seven-and-a-half hours. We didn’t stop. Even when you want to pee, you have to prepare which movements will open your pants to make it quicker. But to finally stand alone on the top of a beautiful mountain is a special feeling.” Moro believes winter climbs offer an exciting opportunity for mountaineers looking to test the limits of human endeavour. “I tell young climbers it is now about where, when and how you climb, not just about how high you climb,” he says. “I think the future of alpinism will be on smaller peaks that are unclimbed, unknown and unnamed. “I broke down all the walls between me and my goals, and I want others to do the same. Winter climbs are my personal way of becoming an explorer. But I also hope they inspire others – not only a climber, but a doctor or a scientist to become an explorer of medicine and maybe cure cancer or discover something amazing. I’m inspired by people who are not alpinists, so I hope the world finds inspiration in what I do.” Simone Moro is sponsored by The North Face; simonemoro.com   71


THE WINTER ISSUE

Dean wears VON ZIPPER Capsule Halldor Satin/ Wild Quasar Chrome SSP goggles, eu.vonzipper.com; PROTEST Lake 18 beanie and Oweny pants, protest.eu; UYN Ambityon UW Shirt Melange long-sleeve base layer, uynsports.com; QUIKSILVER Travis Rice Stretch Shell jacket, quiksilver.com; MARMOT Ultimate ski gloves, marmot. com; SALOMON Assassin snowboard, salomon.com Ella wears ADIDAS Backland Spherical ski goggles, adidassporteyewear.com; BUFF Knitted Polar headband, buffwear.com; SALEWA Ortles PTC Highloft W Full-Zip hoody, salewa.com; JACK WOLFSKIN Mount Floyen down jacket, jack-wolfskin.com; BLACK YAK Gore-Tex C-Knit pants, global.blackyak.com


Slope Style To be at your best when you hit the snow, you need gear that will make you look and perform like a pro Photography JAMES PEARSON-HOWES



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Ella wears JACK WOLFSKIN Stormlock Pompom Beanie, jack-wolfskin.com; ADIDAS Backland Spherical goggles, adidassporteyewear.com; BUFF Polar Shading Blue scarf, buffwear.com; ICEBREAKER 250 Vertex Long Sleeve Half Zip base layer, icebreaker.com; LÖFFLER Functional Hoody, loeffler.at; MONTANE Phoenix Flight Jacket, montane.co.uk; PROTEST Fingest 17 gloves, protest.eu; BLACK YAK Gore-Tex C-Knit pants, global. blackyak.com; K2 Luv 110 boots, Luv Machine 72TI skis and Style Composite poles, k2skis.com


David wears OAKLEY Fall Line Factory Pilot Blackout goggles, oakley.com; ARC’TERYX Vertices hoody, arcteryx. com; PROTEST Decay jacket, protest.eu; DOUCHEBAGS Hugger 30L backpack, douchebags.com; OUTDOOR RESEARCH Riot gloves, outdoorresearch.com; PICTURE ORGANIC Unity helmet and Naikoon pants, picture-organicclothing.com; NITRO Team TLS boots, nitrousa.com; CAPITA The Outsiders 155 snowboard, capitasnowboarding. com; UNION Contact Pro bindings, unionbindingcompany.com

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Dean wears MARKER Phoenix MAP helmet, marker.net; SCOTT SPORTS Fix goggles, scottsports.com; BUFF Arrowhead Multi Buff, buffwear.com; MONS ROYALE Olympus 3.0 Half Zip base layer, monsroyale.com; SPYDER Pinnacle GTX jacket, spyder.com; ARC’TERYX Alpha SK32 backpack, arcteryx.com; QUIKSILVER Travis Rice Natural Gore-Tex gloves, quiksilver.com; JACK WOLFSKIN Exolight pants, jack-wolfskin.com; SALOMON QST Pro 120 boots, salomon. com; K2 Freeride Flipjaw poles, k2skis.com; ATOMIC Redster X9 skis with X 12 TL OME bindings, atomic.com

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Dean wears MARKER Kojak helmet and Perspective+ goggles, marker.net; QUIKSILVER Travis Rice Stretch shell jacket, quiksilver.com


Back row, from left: DEELUXE ID 7.1 boots, deeluxe.com; SALOMON Ivy boots, salomon. com; BURTON Limelight Step On boots, burton.com Front row, from left: K2 Recon 130 boots, k2skis.com; SALOMON X Max 110 boots, salomon.com; HEAD Kore 1 boots, head.com; ARC’TERYX Procline AR boots, arcteryx.com


Dean wears VON ZIPPER goggles, PROTEST beanie and pants, UYN base layer, QUIKSILVER shell jacket, MARMOT gloves and SALOMON snowboard, all as before; NORTHWAVE Edge boots, northwavesnow.com

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Jenny wears MARKER Perspective+ goggles, marker. net; PICTURE ORGANIC Tempo helmet, Katniss jacket and McPherson gloves, pictureorganic-clothing.com; BURTON Avalon bib pants, burton.com; NORTHWAVE Domino boots, northwavesnow.com; GNU Ladies Choice snowboard, gnu. com; BENT METAL Upshot bindings, bentmetal.com Opposite page, clockwise from bottom: BURTON Talent Scout snowboard with Step On bindings, burton.com; HEAD Kore 117 skis, head.com; CAPITA Jess Kimura 146 snowboard, capitasnowboarding.com, with UNION Rosa bindings, unionbindingcompany.com; GNU Ladies Choice snowboard, gnu.com, with BENT METAL Upshot bindings, bentmetal. com; ATOMIC Redster X9 skis with X 12 TL OME bindings, atomic.com; K2 Pinnacle 85 skis, k2skis.com; BURTON Free Thinker snowboard with Step On bindings, burton.com; SALOMON X S/Race Rush GS skis, salomon.com


Models ELLA WALKER @ W Model Management; DEAN @ Brother Models; JENNY NICHOLLS; DAVID THOMPSON Hair & make-up KATIE BEVERIDGE using Clinique Photographer's assistant JAMES PROCTOR With thanks to THE SNOW CENTRE, Hemel Hempstead, thesnowcentre.com THE RED BULLETIN 

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THE WINTER ISSUE

ALEX BOHN/DAG

SNOW RESORT GUIDE THE RED BULLETIN 

Want to have your own snow adventure? Find the perfect mountain for you with an inside look at five of Europe’s finest destinations   83


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Dachstein Krippenstein

MANFRED SCHOEPF

The longest piste in Austria

THE RED BULLETIN 

To the east of Salzburg, in the resort region of Dachstein Salzkammergut, lies the Dachstein – the highest mountain in Upper Austria, towering at 2,700m above sea level and topped with a glacier that offers snow all year round. It’s here, in the highaltitude Alpine setting of the Freesports Arena Dachstein Krippenstein, that winter sports fans will find Austria’s longest piste – a spectacular 11km valley run. But it’s for those seeking to go off-piste that the Dachstein Krippenstein really delivers, because this is a freerider’s dream. Venture off the beaten track and you’ll discover more than 30km of off-piste routes and tantalising deep-powder runs with plenty of cliff drops, spanning an altitude shift of more than 1,500m. And it’s not only skiers and snowboarders who can enjoy this terrain – there are hundreds of square kilometres of untracked wilderness to hike in the company of one of the resort’s knowledgeable guides. Plus, you can take ski tours, or go iceclimbing up Dachstein’s rock faces via one of 50 known routes. Or just depart the mountain altogether – on a paraglider. Those looking for something a little more structured will find some excellent landmarks to visit, including the Dachstein Shark – an 8m-long metal sculpture jutting from the Heilbronn circular trail, 2,100m above sea-level. If you think that’s a strange place to find a sea creature, check the rock around you – fossilised crustacea embedded there reveals the Dachstein was once submerged beneath the prehistoric ocean. Now, though, it’s very much above water, as a trip to the 5fingers viewing platform will attest. This hand-shaped balcony – with one finger, terrifyingly, made of glass – sits above a sheer 400m drop to Lake Hallstatt.

GETTING THERE: Salzburg Airport (80km away) ELEVATION: 680m to 2,100m above sea level TOTAL PISTE DISTANCE: 11km LONGEST RUN: 11km DIFFICULTY: Black (expert) 0% Red (intermediate) 82% Blue (beginner) 18% LIFTS: 6 dachsteinsalzkammergut.at

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Sunshine in the snow

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GETTING THERE: Klagenfurt Airport (54km away); Ljubljana Jože Pucnik Airport (105km away); Salzburg Airport (173km away) ELEVATION: 1,069m to 2,054m above sea level TOTAL PISTE DISTANCE: 103km LONGEST RUN: 7km DIFFICULTY: Black (expert) 8% Red (intermediate) 75% Blue (beginner) 17% LIFTS: 24 badkleinkirchheim.com

FRANZ GERDL, MATHIAS PRÄGANT

There’s only one long black run at Bad Kleinkirchheim in Austria’s Nock Mountains, but it’s a doozy. The Franz Klammer World Cup run is named after the legendary Alpine skier – gold medallist at the 1976 Winter Olympics and winner of 25 World Cup downhills. As a local, Klammer grew up honing his craft on this mountain, and it remains his favourite at the age of 64. Don’t take our word for it: ask Klammer yourself during one of the many early-morning skiing sessions he hosts here. If eating the powder of a legend isn’t your thing, there are plenty of intermediate courses – 75 per cent of the 103km of pistes are classified red, and 24 lifts make all 300 hectares easily accessible. And because the resort sits on the southern side of the Alps, it basks in sunshine from dawn till dusk, with extensive snowmaking to add to the natural covering. It’s not only the slopes that are pampered here. ‘Bad’ is German for bath, and there are more than 50 hotel spas, plus two huge thermal spas, to immerse yourself in. The St. Kathrein health spa has pools fed by 36°C thermal springs, and is home to the longest indoor slide in Carinthia. Meanwhile, the Thermal Römerbad spa has more than 13 types of sauna and steam rooms. It’s no wonder Klammer still leaps out of bed before sunrise, four decades after his debut win.

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Bad Kleinkirchheim

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Zell am See-Kaprun

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NIKOLAUS FAISTAUER, LUDWIG

First-class winter sports

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There are three elemental reasons for Zell am See-Kaprun’s reputation as one of the Alps’ top winter sports regions. The first is Lake Zell, 750m above sea level, which is said to be so pure you can drink from it, and is one of the reasons the town of Zell am See on its western shore has been designated a climatic spa. Some winters, the lake freezes over and can be skated on. The second is the mountains. The 1,965m-high Schmittenhöhe boasts 77km of pistes, including the world’s longest fun slope for kids, and one of SalzburgerLand’s longest and fastest black runs – the ‘Trass’ – a 4,150m piste that plummets 1,000m in altitude. From Schmittenhöhe’s peak, there’s a spectacular vista of more than 30 three-thousander mountains, including the Kitzsteinhorn. Kitzsteinhorn is home to the main town of Kaprun at its base, and the family resort of Maiskogel 1,570m up its side – reachable from Kaprun by the new 10-seater MK Maiskogelbahn mono-cable gondola. But lying 2,600m above sea level is the big draw: the Kitzsteinhorn glacier, which guarantees skiing conditions from October through to July. And there’s plenty to do if you don’t ski or snowboard. Take a cable car to the Gipfelwelt 3000 with Top Of Salzburg – a breathtaking viewing platform – or, in January, watch the Ice Race GP or take part in the 6K or 13K Spartan Winter Race. And in summer you can swim in the healing Lake Zell.

GETTING THERE: Salzburg Airport (98km away) ELEVATION: 750m to 3,029m above sea level TOTAL PISTE DISTANCE: 138km LONGEST RUN: 8km DIFFICULTY: Black (expert) 17% Red (intermediate) 42% Blue (beginner) 41% LIFTS: 49 zellamsee-kaprun.com

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Courmayeur

As the highest mountain in the Alps, with an elevation of more than 4,800m, Mont Blanc has long attracted winter sports fans, but your experience can depend on which side you choose. Chamonix on the French north face courts the thrill-seekers and partygoers, whereas Courmayeur, just 22km through the road tunnel, on the Italian side, promises a more relaxed and sophisticated affair, both in skiing and culture. Sitting 1,224m above sea level, the cobbled town of Courmayeur accesses its main ski area – Plan Chécrouit, around 500m higher up – via cable car. Here, you’ll find 31 pistes across a 41km area. One benefit of being on the Italian south side of the mountain is the lack of direct sunlight throughout the day, meaning more plentiful snow than in Chamonix. But where Courmayeur’s skiing really shines is in its excellent off-piste options, all easily accessible by cable car, the most dazzling being the Skyway Monte Bianco, whose lavish carriages rotate to take in the spectacular views through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. It carries you to Punta Helbronner, 3,466m above sea level, where you’ll find expert-level off-pistes. The dining options are just as sumptuous. There are mountain restaurants at Plan Chécrouit, such as Maison Vieille – an old shepherd’s hut serving traditional food, with patrons ferried to and from the ski-lift by snowmobile. In town, there’s the Petit Royal restaurant in the Grand Hotel Royal & Golf, where diners build dishes from raw materials like mountain potatoes, deer and trout. And if you get the urge to party, there are late-night venues such as Super G on the slopes and Shatush, where you can let down your hair without losing your chic.

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GETTING THERE: Turin Airport (150km away) ELEVATION: 1,704m to 2,755m TOTAL PISTE DISTANCE: 41km LONGEST RUN: 1.6km DIFFICULTY: Black (expert) 15% Red (intermediate) 52% Blue (beginner) 33% LIFTS: 6 aosta-valley.co.uk/ destinations/ courmayeur

GIUSEPPE DI MAURO, ETHAN STONE

Italy at its peak

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Promotion

Cool and laid-back – or ‘Lässig’, as the Austrians say – sums it up perfectly. The Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn is not only one of Austria’s biggest winter sports areas, it’s perhaps the coolest in the Alps, with an emphasis on the wild, unbridled art of freeriding. A gargantuan 270km network of pistes connecting the four towns of Saalbach, Hinterglemm, Leogang and Fieberbrunn, the mountains have plenty to offer 92  



intermediate skiers and boarders – 140km of blue slopes and 112km of red runs, all accessible via state-of-the-art, high-speed gondolas and chairlifts. There’s also plenty to challenge those seeking greater thrills, with black runs including the 3.6km-long Zwölferkogel North Run World Cup piste, which drops 920m in altitude and, at its steepest, has a hair-raising 72 per cent gradient. But it’s for those heading off-piste that the Skicircus really

comes alive. There’s a vast area of freeride routes delivering the unbeatable feeling of leaving fresh tracks in deep pristine snow with nothing but the sound of your skis or snowboard to break the silence, and little to remind of you of civilisation beyond the occasional avalanche transceiver search field or checkpoint beacon. Freeride Park Loegang also offers a hybrid experience of freestyle and freeriding called freeskiing – a 300m natural

deep-snow run with embedded obstacles and kickers. Alternatively, if you prefer to just spectate, from February 22-28 the Skicircus is home to the Freeride World Tour, with the best riders racing to Wildseeloder’s peak at an altitude of 2,118m, before racing down a 620m slope with a maximum 70 per cent gradient. Catch the action from the Lärchfilzko gel viewing station, at a height of 1,645m in an amphitheatre built from snow. THE RED BULLETIN

SAALBACH.COM, MIRJA GEH

Welcome to the ‘Home of Lässig’


Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn

GETTING THERE: Salzburg Airport (1.5 hours away) ELEVATION: 840m to 2,096m above sea level TOTAL PISTE DISTANCE: 270km LONGEST RUN: 7.6km DIFFICULTY: Black (expert) 7% Red (intermediate) 40% Blue (beginner) 53% LIFTS: 70 saalbach.com THE RED BULLETIN 

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guide Get it. Do it. See it.

THE WILD ONE

In the great outdoors, wilderness wisdom beats high-tech gadgets, says survival pro Thom Hunt

BOXING CLEVER

Florian Monteanu, son of Drago in Creed II, has all the motivation you need to reach your goals

IN FOR THE CHILL

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Page 100

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Hibernation is for hedgehogs: step out into winter with this season’s essential gear

JOEL KRAHN

GO WITH THE FLOW

Eight women, one canoe, 715km of Canadian waterway: join the world’s longest paddling race, the Yukon River Quest Page 96

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Teams paddle across Lake Laberge. Its glassy surface can be churned up into metre-high swells on a bad day

YUKON RIVER QUEST

DIFFERENT STROKES Hallucinations, hypothermia and 715km of paddling: writer Eva Holland attempts the world’s longest kayak race through the Canadian wilderness

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am more tired than I’ve ever been in my life. My wrists flare with pain – tendonitis has set in – and the rest of my upper body feels numb. My legs are antsy, dancing with impatience and a lack of use, while the rest of me is struggling to carry on. My butt

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is raw and chafed from hours of sitting on a hard fibreglass bench. I’m in the final hours of Canada’s Yukon River Quest – a 715km canoe, kayak and SUP race – and I’m reaching my body’s limits. With the exception of two mandatory rest stops totalling 10

Waiting for the start of the Yukon River Quest in Whitehorse

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USA

TRAVEL TIPS

FEEL THE GOLD RUSH

Paddling the Yukon River is a unique way to explore the North American wilderness. Here’s what you need to know about the territory’s vast extent and golden age The Yukon River’s source is in British Columbia, Canada, and it empties into the Bering Sea in the US state of Alaska. The race itself takes place in the Yukon Territory, Canada Midway, teams take a seven-hour break, and support crews clean their boats and gear

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HISTORY NAME The name itself is a contraction of Yu-kun-ah, which means ‘great river’ in the language of the First Nations Gwich’in people.

HARRY KERN (3), JOEL KRAHN

EVA HOLLAND

A racer tapes up his hands to protect against blisters from the paddles

hours, I’ve been paddling round the clock for three days. As our boat nears Dawson City in northwest Canada, I feel a rush of anger. As the fast-flowing Yukon River slips by tall, rough cliffs topped with skinny evergreens, I crane my neck to look up at the rock walls above me, and I see graffiti everywhere: scribbled tags and peace signs, a mess of spray paint sullying the wilderness. “Who would do something like that?” I think. But there aren’t really any tags on the rocks, I later learn. They’re a hallucination brought on by sheer exhaustion; I no longer know what is real. The Yukon River Quest is the world’s longest annual canoe

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I’ve dry-heaved over the side of the boat and fallen asleep mid-paddle stroke and kayak race. It follows the river northwest from Whitehorse – the capital of Canada’s Yukon Territory – through the sub-Arctic wilderness to Dawson City, home of the Klondike Gold Rush. Racers launch themselves downstream in solo or tandem kayaks or canoes, in larger Voyageur canoes with anything from four to 10 paddlers, or on stand-up paddle boards. Most of the land the racers pass

POPULATION At 482,443km², the Yukon Territory is slightly larger than California (423,970km²) but home to fewer than 34,000 people, compared with California’s 39.5 million. KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH After gold was discovered in a local creek in 1896, 100,000 prospectors set out to the Yukon region. A little over three years later, most of them had left for new gold fields in West Alaska.

SIGHTS (NEAR WHITEHORSE) YUKON WILDLIFE PRESERVE Bike, ski or snowshoe the 5km viewing loop to view caribou, bison and lynx at close range. MILES CANYON Once a daunting site for gold seekers (many died crossing), it’s now famous for its stunning views. TAKHINI HOT SPRINGS A pair of natural mineral pools (37°C and 42°C), used by local First Nations for centuries.

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USA

GET READY

TAKE ON THE YUKON

What to do when bears attack, and how condoms help when there’s no time for pee breaks: find out how to prepare for and survive the world’s longest paddling race

NAPPY CREAM For rashes and sores in uncomfortable places. The longer you’re on the river, the more you’ll need it.

THE MARATHON STROKE A short, quick paddling stroke is more energy efficient and limits follow-through to avoid repetitive stress injuries.

CONDOM CATHETER OR SHEWEE So you can go on the go. Practise your technique ahead of time!

STAY FUELLED Some rely on shakes and gels; one racer did it mostly on cola and chewing tobacco. Find the foods that work for you.

YUKON RIVER QUEST STATS Complete river length 3,185km Bridges that span the river Four Distance covered in the race 715km Fastest-ever finishing time 39 hours, 32 minutes, 43 seconds (2008)

Teams that attempted the 2018 race 103 – a new record Teams that finished 76 Countries represented in the 2018 race 15 Years the race has run 20

Racers travel the Yukon by map and GPS. The river can be braided, and finding the right current is vital

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The Tough Birches enter Five Finger Rapids, the only major rapid on the 715km course

through is uninhabited. They carry tents, sleeping bags and waterproof fire-making materials as they go, in case they capsize in the river’s hypothermia-inducing water and have to hunker down on shore to await rescue. I’m in a Voyageur canoe with seven other women, all but one of us rookies in the race. We’ve dubbed ourselves the Tough Birches, and set a moderate time goal: we’re aiming to finish in 55 to 60 hours, not including our 10 hours of mandatory rest time. (The winning boat would finish in 40-odd hours, while the slowest would be closer to 80.) My reason for entering the race: I want to know what it feels like to push myself as far as I can go. And maybe beyond. Now I have my answer: it hurts. But I’ve also learned something about my body’s ability to carry on beyond all my expectations. During the course of the race, I’ve dryheaved over the side of the boat, iced the agony of my wrists with river water, and fallen asleep midpaddle stroke. But I’m still going. Over the past few days, we have charged across the river’s

major obstacles, including the 50km-long Lake Laberge, beneath a scorching sun. Wind can whip up Laberge into 2m swells, but the lake was glassy for our passage. That night, once we had made it off the lake, we sang our way through the brief hours of sub-Arctic summer darkness – thanks to almost 24 hours of light, you can remain on the water through the night – as the river twisted and turned. Later, under an illuminated midnight sky, we fly through Five Finger Rapids – named after the five channels, or fingers, that pass through four basalt columns, the middle and left of which can be deadly. We make it to the finish line in a time of 57 hours, 42 minutes and five seconds, smack in the middle of what we’d aimed for, and good for 25th place overall. I’m exhausted, confused, cold and – somewhere beneath all that pain – proud. We’ve done it. And that much, at least, is no hallucination. Tempted to take part in next year’s race on June 26-30? Sign up at yukonriverquest.com

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EVA HOLLAND

PREPARE WORK YOUR CORE The race is too long to get by on brute arm strength. You’ll need to rely on your trunk to get you through.

JOEL KRAHN, JOEL KRAHN/YUKON NEWS

GEAR BEAR SPRAY In case you find yourself sharing the shoreline with a grizzly or two. But try not to use it unless you have to.


Do it

Survival

MASTER THE OUTDOORS

WILDERNESS SURVIVAL HACKS

TOM KIRKMAN

MATT RAY

Thom Hunt is an expert in bushcraft, spear fishing and foraging, but says it’s simple knowledge rather than fancy skills that will allow you to thrive in the wild

Whether walking across the Western Sahara with Berber nomads, or reindeer herding with the Arctic Sami people, outdoor expert Thom Hunt is primed to survive. But he doesn’t use high-tech gadgets or complex skills to cheat death, relying instead on wilderness wisdom. “I love the outdoors,” Hunt says. “It’s the rawest experience, and there’s no get-out-of-jailfree card – you’ve just got to have the local knowledge or you’ll get caught out.”

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KNOW YOUR SHIT There’s a simple way to check for large predators nearby, says Hunt: “How fresh is the dung? Also, by examining what’s in the poo, you can determine the animal that left it.” Bears are great foragers, and you can see bugs and berries in the dung. “If it hasn’t got a skin on it, smells fresh and doesn’t look dried out, I’d be like, ‘Damn, OK…’ because you know there’s a predator in the vicinity.” Sometimes you need to be wary of non-carnivores,

too: “Red deer are bigger than horses and will attack you. I’m 6ft 1in [185cm], and their shoulders are almost up to my head; they’re enormous beasts and weigh more than a ton.” BE A FIRE STARTER Your 4x4 breaks down as a sub-zero night approaches fast: how do you start a fire with no matches or tinder? “Shorting a 12-volt battery, or car battery, across the terminals creates sparks. Wire wool works well, because the wire is so thin it lights up like a filament in a light bulb and becomes a small spark and ember.” And there are natural firelighters in the woods: “I’d be looking for ‘fatwood’. If a tree has snapped off above ground, the stump will be jacked with pine resin. Take a knife to it and scrape off some tiny shavings. Create a spark near it and the resin will go up instantly.” LEARN BARE-BONES FISHING Most survival kits have a fishing line and hooks, but you can make your own: “Strip the fibres off the stem of a nettle plant, then roll and weave them – they’re flexible and strong.” Next, find a thorn at an angle to make a hook: “In the UK, I’d look at hawthorn or blackthorn.” Then get some bait: “Find rocks or mud, have a dig and you’ll find crustacea, ragworms and lugworms.” Set your lines in place; Hunt sets 12-20 baited lines. ‘In fresh water, look for little areas with depth, an undercut bank, overhanging tree or eddy – you’ll often get fish hanging around. In the sea, wait for the lowest tide, stake your

“There’s no getout-of-jail-free card – have the local knowledge or get caught out”

long-line in the deepest part and then wait for the tide to come back in.” EAT AL FRESCO To eat safely in the wild, Hunt recommends identifying three edible plants. “Mint has opposite-pointing leaves and a square stem,” he says. “No known members of the mint family are poisonous; it’s also diverse and very common.” For a mushroom that won’t make you foam at the mouth, hunt down the chanterelle: ‘It’s impossible to confuse with anything dangerous – bright yellow and never infested with bugs like porcini can be. It’s very common in beech and oak forests in autumn.” Lastly, there’s wild garlic: “It grows in spring and is easy to identify because of the smell. And it cooks well.” GO UNDER COVER Ask how the environment can work for you, says Hunt, who has spent time with the Sami tribespeople in six-hour snow storms. “At -25°C, if it’s dry and not windy it’s not that bad, but with wind chill and snow drifts it feels like -50°C. You wouldn’t last long. Use anything that’s already there to get out of the elements: a rock face, a line of trees, even a snowdrift. Ice is actually a great insulator.” Hunt always carries a shovel in the Arctic so he can dig a snow hole as quickly as possible: “You want to be south-facing, with rock behind you and shelter that warms up the quickest – think like a lizard.” Natural fibres are often better than hightech clothing: “[Specialist outdoor brand] Filson uses Mackinaw wool, because wool fibres are hollow and air pockets create insulation. It makes sense: it’s been designed by evolution.” Thom Hunt is an ambassador for Filson; filson.com. Check out his survival courses at 7thrise.co.uk

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Do it boxing with heavy weights workouts. As a teen, I trained one muscle group per day, four or five exercises per group, four sets per exercise. These days, I lean towards CrossFit to utilise my power, speed and coordination.”

TRAIN LIKE A PRO

WAY OF THE DRAGO

Real-life fighter Florian Munteanu, the son of Ivan Drago in Rocky spin-off Creed II, knows what it takes to be the most feared boxer in movie history – and how you can punch above your weight, too

“EVERYTHING IN THE MONTAGE, I DO IN REAL LIFE” No Rocky film is complete without a training montage, and Creed II is no exception, although Viktor’s exercise equipment is less stateof-the-art than Ivan’s Soviet supergym in Rocky IV. “At first, Viktor trains the old-school way,” says Munteanu. “He and Ivan live in a shithole and have no money, so it’s just heavy weights and running in the dirt. Later, it’s more modern. But I can’t give too much away…” Fortunately, Munteanu can reveal details of his own training, which he says he 100 per cent incorporated into the montage. “I grew up boxing, so that’s the biggest part of my training, with leg and pad workouts, sparring, running, keeping my stamina up. I train twice a day and balance

BIG NASTY CUTS

How to make it big in the ring GIVE YOURSELF A GOAL “Dolph and Sly are legends, and their Rocky IV fight scenes are unbelievable. The goal was to compete with that level. I think Mike and I did a pretty good job. When we finished, we were in a bad way – like 20 painkillers per day.” DON’T BE TOO PROUD “I’m a newbie, so Sly took me aside and gave advice about the business. He told me what he’d do, and I really appreciated that, because he knows what he’s talking about.”

“VIKTOR DRAGO IS 90 PER CENT THE REAL ME”

EAT CLEAN (AND CHEAT) “I try to keep it clean – meat, rice, potatoes, a lot of vegetables – but during the week I’ll have at least two cheat meals or I’m not comfortable. Pizza or doughnuts, just for my mental health.”

“When I first got the offer to cast for this role, I knew immediately I’d get it, because it’s so much me,” says Munteanu. “It was very easy to play the character.” Likewise, with his boxing, he works to his strengths. “Even though I’m a heavyweight, my fighting is very loose – not having my guard up

BRING THE PAIN “Viktor Drago would win in a fight with Florian Munteanu, because he has so much pain inside. Never underestimate a guy who brings pain into the ring, because he’s letting it all out on you. You can’t compete.”

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“MICHAEL B JORDAN SHOWED ME COMMITMENT” Viktor Drago may be a big deal, but it’s Adonis Creed – played by Michael B Jordan – who is the film’s main star. This didn’t faze Munteanu: “Physically, he’s not as tall or big as me, but he’s in tremendous shape. Of course, when it comes to boxing I’m the more experienced one. So I told him to use his feet more, because he’s the smaller guy, but also quicker – and footwork is 80 per cent of boxing. With footwork, you create the punches that come later; you create the angles. “Mike was a fast learner and a very hard worker. That impressed me the most, because he already has the résumé, but he’s still one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met. He showed me that 100 per cent isn’t enough; sometimes you have to go for 200 per cent.”  Creed II is in cinemas from November 30; creedthemovie.com

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TOM GUISE

all the time, because I feel more comfortable with my hands down. My fighting style is based on reflexes and speed; it’s a natural ability I have. When I was younger, my coaches and trainers told me that I should take advantage of this ability, so we developed it. But the speed was always there.”

Father/son dynamics play a big part in Creed II as Lundgren’s Ivan coaches Viktor. “He listens to his father, doesn’t talk back, but grows to realise that Ivan’s approach is maybe not the right one,” says Munteanu. Luckily, his own paternal experience is more positive. “My father was always training. I saw him in the gym, running, hitting weights, boxing, and he always took me with him, even at the age of five or six. It was written that I’d follow in his footsteps and become an athlete. The greatest lesson he has given me is: always think with your heart. A lot of people have the wrong motivation – to get rich quick, for example. My father said that everything I do should be for those I love; if my motivation is right, I’ll accomplish the goal.”

ANDIKO PHOTOGRAPHY, WARNER BROS, INSTAGRAM/FLORIAN MUNTEANU

When casting the sequel to the 2015 hit movie Creed, Sylvester Stallone was faced with a nearimpossible task: to find someone who could not only top the greatest-ever villain of the Rocky series – Rocky IV’s Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren in his physical prime in 1985 – but who audiences would also believe was that character’s son. In Florian Munteanu, Sly got his man. “We had a one-hour Skype session and I convinced him,” says the 28-year-old boxer, actor and fitness model, who, at 193cm tall and weighing 111kg, is a powerhouse of practical fighting muscle. “Seeing Sly on your screen… you can’t believe it’s happening. But then I focused on what I had to do.” The German-Romanian has applied the same precision to his fitness career; trained from the age of five by his boxing father, Munteanu entered adulthood with a degree in sports, media and event management from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Today, under the name ‘Big Nasty’, he posts training clips for almost 130,000 followers on Instagram. With the release of Creed II this month, his following is only set to grow. Here’s how he became Viktor Drago…

“MY FATHER TAUGHT ME REAL MOTIVATION”


Fitness Florian Munteanu: would you deny this guy pizza once or twice a week? Exactly…

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Equipment COLD-WEATHER KIT

PACKING HEAT

Winter delivers an easy excuse to wrap up and stay indoors. But with the right equipment, there’s an ice-cold world of fun and adventure to be had during this season. Here’s everything you need to be a sub-zero hero…

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Winter gear

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1. OAKLEY Flight Deck snow googles, oakley.com 2. MONS ROYALE Yotei Powder Hood LS top, monsroyale.com 3. MERRELL Thermo Rogue Mid Gore-Tex boots, merrell.com 4. VOLCOM Sweep beanie, volcom.com 5. MCNAIR Ridge shirt, mcnairshirts.com 6. MONS ROYALE Approach Tech Mid Hoody, eu. monsroyale.com 7. ARMADA Throttle gloves, armadaskis.com 8. STANCE Stoney Ridge Backcountry snowboard socks, stance.eu.com 9. FORMEX Element Ceramic Bezel White watch, formexwatch. com/en 10. O’NEILL Logo Hybrid T-shirt, oneill.com 11. SWOX Sunscreen Zinc 50, swox.com 12. VOLCOM TDS INF Gore-Tex snowboard/ ski jacket, absolutesnow.co.uk 13. DOUCHEBAGS The Vain wash bag, douchebags.com 14. SWOX Sunscreen Lotion 30, swox.com 15. OSPREY Rolling Transporter 90 bag, ospreyeurope.com 16. VANS SK8-Mid Reissue Ghillie MTE shoes, vans.co.uk 17. JBL Xtreme 2 speaker, jbl.com 18. BEATS BY DRE Beats Decade Collection headphones, beatsbydre.com 19. GOAL ZERO Venture 30 Power Back, goalzero.com 20. SWOX Snap cap, swox.com 21. OAKLEY Prizm Crossrange Patch sunglasses, oakley.com 22. GARMIN VIRB 360 action camera, garmin.com 23. COLMAR ski pants with belt, colmar.it

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KEEPING A FLOW PROFILE

Spanish-language rap battles, snowboard craziness and dirt-bike drama – just some of the this month’s highlights

WATCH RED BULL TV ANYWHERE

Red Bull TV is a global digital entertainment destination featuring programming that is beyond the ordinary and is available any time, anywhere. Go online at redbull.tv, download the app, or connect via your Smart TV. To find out more, visit redbull.tv

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9

December   LIVE 

RED BULL BATALLA DE LOS GALLOS WORLD FINAL 2018

See MCs from Spanish-speaking countries across the world unleash their lyrical skills in head-to-head freestyle rap battles at the 12th edition of this contest, staged this year in Buenos Aires. Last time around, Mexican Aczino won the title on his native turf after defeating rookie Wos from Argentina. Will home advantage work in the favour of this year’s Argentinian hope, Dozer?

Up in his (Gaucho) grill: Thorny (red cap) vs Danyelus in Argentina

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November /December

Hear hand-picked music and interviews with influential artists. This month’s pick is…

Dozer (right) beats fellow MC Stuart to win the national final in Argentina in August this year

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GUSTAVO CHERRO/RED BULL CONTENT POOL (2), ORCHARD ENTERPRISES NY (2), METHOD MAGAZINE/RED BULL CONTENT POOL, CARYS HWUS

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December   PREMIERE 

DROP EVERYTHING

Award-winning film-makers Matchstick Productions (Claim, Days Of My Youth) present a fun-filled adventure through the world of freeskiing, with stunning locations, a potent soundtrack and stellar cinematography.

FIRST FLOOR

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November   PREMIERE 

METHOD MOVIE 3

The final film in this series from Method Magazine is another globetrotting collection of insane snowboarding and good times. As the makers say, “All you need is your board, your homies and a bit of help from Mother Nature!”

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November  ON AIR 

Every Thursday (7PM GMT), host Shawn Reynaldo casts an ear over the latest releases from the worlds of house, techno, disco and beyond, and speaks to some of the artists responsible (past guests on the show have included Mr Fingers, Peggy Gou and Bicep). And, as the end of 2018 approaches, Reynaldo will be dedicating several episodes to his review of the year.

December   PREMIERE 

MOTO 9: THE MOVIE

Journey to the world’s most incredible riding locations with MOTO 9: The Movie. From the soul-shredder life to the woods to the AMA Championship, this film brings every part of the dirt-bike spectrum to the screen.

LISTEN AT REDBULLRADIO.COM

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November Divine Proportions Consider yourself a party god? This is your scene: a theatrical cabaret hosted by Dionysus, Greek god of wine and fertility, which runs until January 12. Drink bottomless real gold-leaf cocktails, then dine on a threecourse banquet in the clouds, before heading to Hades for fire-breathing fun. The Vaults, London; thevaults.london

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November Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Can’t stand all those superhero movies? Probably best give this a miss. But for everyone else waiting for the next Avengers film to wrap up the 21-movie Marvel Cinematic Universe marathon that began with Iron Man in 2008, this immersive experience is a must. Join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, with film props including Iron Man and Captain America’s suits; you can even wield Thor’s hammer. ExCeL London; avengersstation.co.uk

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Nov/Dec/Jan to 22 Nov The Abandoned Room: Dynamo The Bradford-born magician is known for performing illusions as a mass spectacle, most famously levitating above The Shard. But now he’s returning with a far more intimate act, in a purpose-built theatre, to an audience of just 90 who will be “directly involved in the magic”. The Mandrake Hotel, London; seetickets.com

to 24 Nov

NITRO CIRCUS: YOU GOT THIS

One year ago, motorcycle stunt supremo Travis Pastrana made history in front of London’s O2 Arena, backflipping his bike 23m between two unmoored barges on the Thames. Now, following his triple success of topping Evel Knievel’s stunts in Las Vegas this July, Pastrana is back at The O2 – this time with the Nitro Circus crew of freestyle motocross, BMX, scooter and inline champs – for another history-making spectacle. The O2 Arena, London; theo2.co.uk

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On November 30, the Manchester indie-rock four-piece fronted by Matt Healy (pictured) release their long-awaited third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. It’s the prelude to a big 2019 for The 1975 as their giant stadium tour kicks off in January in Belfast, before heading to Glasgow, Cardiff, then moving around England, with two dates at London’s O2 Arena. This will be followed in May by the band’s fourth album, tentatively titled Notes On A Conditional Form. Various locations, UK; the1975.com

GETTY IMAGES

9

to 25 January The 1975 on tour

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Action highlight

Great waves, who needs them? Not surfer Kai Lenny. The Hawaiian appears to float above the Hudson River thanks to hydrofoil technology. A submerged wing on his board’s fin provides the necessary speed and lift. Even watching New Yorkers were impressed…

The next issue of THE RED BULLETIN is out on January 8 110  



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KYLE LIEBERMAN/RED BULL CONTENT POOL

High and dry


Contrarian*

*

one who buys bronze when others are piling into gold

Market sentiment favours flashier watches. The contrarian, unswayed by sentiment, judges the asset’s underlying value. Water resistant to 600m and featuring a Swiss-made automatic movement the C60 Trident Bronze OmbrÊ COSC Limited Edition certainly stands up to scrutiny. Not only is it supremely robust and reliable but the corrosion-resistant bronze case, acquiring its own patina over time, makes each one truly unique. Available in 38mm and 43mm versions, either raw or patinated, this is surely an exploitable mispricing opportunity if ever there was one. Do your research.

christopherward.co.uk


FILSON.COM/UK 9 & 13 NEWBURGH STREET, LONDON, W1F

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The Red Bulletin December 2018 - UK  

The Red Bulletin December 2018 - UK