M I R T E W A S H E R E
Why was Mirte here?
Sometimes you meet the right people, sometimes you meet adventure. We got both. A rendez-vous with one Mongolian snowboard teacher lead to the biggest story in my career.
Lost in Mongolia
The travel takes four days, if you have not too much trouble on the way. Permits need to be organised, cars should not break down, the camels might run off, the plane can be delayed or the luggage can get lost. All of it didn’t go as planned for us…
There is one ski area in Mongolia, located in the main city Ulaanbataar. There are two lifts, but barely any users. Still, there is a community for snowboarding, one that is formed by two guys and called the Mongolian Professional Snowboard Federation. They do everything they can to develop snowboarding in their country, from importing boards to teaching each other how to ride. We met the guys in Austria, got invited to Mongolia and voilá: a three week expedition to the Altai Mountains – where the highest peak of Mongolia is located – was planned. Our team included four Europeans (riders, filmer and me) and four Mongolians (of which two riders, one filmer and one cook).
From the basecamp at the bottom of the Alexander and Potanin glacier you start splitboarding. First a two hour hike down over the moraine, then crossing the ice and melting water of the glacier in two to three hours extra and from there you bootpack up the line in another two hours. Before you’re back at the base camp after a day of riding, you have been on the mountain for about ten to twelve hours.
We ended up being refused by the border patrol of the national park Tavan Bogd (the acces to the Altai), but playing guitar with them after all, because we were the first snowboarders in history to enter, split and ride the mountains of the five kings (Tavan Bogd).
Every day something special, interesting or adventurous happened. Being on the road with Mongolian people made sure that our impression of the country is way more intens and widely discovered then when you travel differently. They told us about history, snowboarding and culture, but we were also able to communicate via them with local farmers, eagle hunters, kids, mountain guides, the border patrol and many other people that we met along the way.
The full story will be published between October 2017 and February 2018 in several printed media, five languages and two continents. Stayed tuned…
Camera button pressed by @mirtewashere, pictures of Mirte clicked by @jamsebastien.