16.04.2020

Freeski

Skiing in the middle of the Atlantic

Xabi, 30-year-old nurse, photographer and skier tell us about his ski trip to the Faroe Islands.

 

Xabi (pronounce it Chabi), is a 30-year-old nurse, photographer and skier. Born in the South West of France he now lives in Capebreton, near Biarritz. Xabi doesn’t consider himself an influencer, but a self-taught photographer who is constantly in search of the most beautiful landscape.


Xabi photo


“In real life, I am a photographer and a nurse. More specifically in a resuscitation unit, you know, the ones we’ve heard about for the past two months (you can tell that photography is taking less time right now).

Usually, when the situation is normal, my schedule is flexible, which gives me a lot of free times to travel and take photos.

I am thinking about every resuscitation unit and all the caregivers in France. More precisely my colleagues in Bayonne. It is thanks to their help, that I have had enough time to travel and ski as much as I have. I cannot recommend enough for everyone to stay at home right now and take care of each other.


Xabi photo


But let’s talk about serious stuff, skiing. I’ve always enjoyed skiing abroad, it is a different way to discover a country. In Japan? Austria? Canada? Not this time. We wanted to try something more original, the Faroe Islands.

“Oh really? But, does it snow there?” It depends. And even if it snows sometimes, usually it is not enough to ski. But it is exactly what makes this trip interesting.


Xabi photo

I discovered the Faroe Islands for the first time in October 2019. I was supposed to visit Iceland, but the prices were high, and we decided to change our plans at the last minute. After researching, we found this tiny place in the middle of the Atlantic, between Iceland and Norway. Prices were affordable and way less touristy. Once we arrived there with my girlfriend Soizic Belotti, we discovered an incredible place, full of energy. The weather was rough, with striking cold winds. The Islands are populated by 50,000 people, and 80,000 sheep. During our hikes, we didn’t see a single person.

Despite the weather, every day we dazzled at the beauty of the islands. We couldn’t stop thinking about skiing those mountains. It’s not a common activity to the locals; when the snow falls, it quickly disappears because of the wind. But according to a local farmer, the snow sometimes sticks to the ground for a few days. Exactly what I wanted to hear.

“Babe, we’ll come back in three months.”


Xabi
Xabi

So, we headed back there in January for an 11-day trip. We brought the skis with us, knowing that we might not be able to use them. We plan to explore new hikes and new landscapes, with our ski bags by our sides, hoping they’ll be useful.

Unfortunately our bags didn’t arrive at the airport with us, and took another 5 days before they reached the Faroe Islands.

Anecdote: we stayed at a hotel, an hour and half drive from the airport. The locals weren’t used to this kind of luggage, so they delivered it at the capital, Torshvan, another hour drive from us, Klaksvik. They told us that skis could not fit in their cars, and the bus wasn’t able to carry them. Finally, a taxi brought it back to the middle of nowhere, 30 minutes away from us, it was quite a fight. Unreal.

Without our bags we lost a few days of skiing. Even though the summits were covered white, it wasn’t exactly the best conditions, even for someone from the Pyrénées. We faced the facts: it would be very hard to ski during our trip. We are far from the condition we saw in pictures from past years. Nevertheless, the seventh day, after our daily hike we decided to pick up the car and explore the surroundings. If we could find even a bit of snow, it would be enough.

On the road we found the spot, 5cm of fresh snow on ice. Not the best, but It didn’t matter: the view is breathtaking, weather is calm and sunny. We wanted to ski, so we did. We picked up our skins, and started touring, completely alone with my girlfriend in front of the ocean.

It still seems like a dream while I’m writing it. Honestly it was incredible. Obviously, it wasn’t the best ski day ever, but that’s alright. Skiing is also about sliding down with your friends, girlfriend, family.

Imagine yourselves in this place, it’s euphoria. We finish the last downhill as the sun started to set, getting back to the car to enjoy the last sunbeams. This moment will be burned in my memory forever.


Xabi

 

Two days and few hours of snowfall later, with this amazing landscape stuck in my mind, we decided to go back to the mountain side. I remembered a face that looked well oriented to receive snowfall. I begin the tour, by myself this time. Let’s be honest, I’ll stay a nurse in France, because the conditions were terrible. It almost did not snow, but the beauty outweighed the conditions. A little bit of slalom between a few rocks and mud and I would be happy. One more moment, alone, sliding in the middle of Atlantic. I imagine how great it would be if those faces had more snow… One thing is sure, I’ll be back to ski again.

I started an important photo project about Faroe Islands that will take me at least a year to complete.

We planned to go back in May. We have since postponed, and don’t know when we will be able to travel again. For now, we look back on our fond memories from the trip.


Thanks to Rossignol for supporting ambassadors, athletes and every snow lover. And next winter, no more excuses like “yeah, but I’ll be lazy, I’ll ski tomorrow”.

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, let’s see each other next year, and do what we love most: skiing.”

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