After a too-breif soak in the Greek culture, fashion and art capitol, Thessaloniki, our crew was once again sequestered to our orginal mission: the shred. North to a resort called Vigila we barged, our destination mere kilometers from the gritty borders of Albania.
Unfortunately, the only grit we saw was cigarette smoke trapped in the dense fog that swamped the resort, sending us scurrying down the road in search of something to shred. A couple switch-backs closer to Albania we spied a patch of dirt worth a good ollie, jumped out of the van and hit it. Our shred completed for the day, we headed back east for the tour’s culmination- Chris’s big event at Vasalita, a demo and contest called “The Jam.”
Chris had rented out the entirety of the Shilo Inn, located in a small town called Smixic, a few snowy K’s from the resort. Here our crew pilled into a five-person room, with ceilings to match- a bit over five feet as well.
After a sweet night of rest, we threw chains on the rental van and junked up to mountain. A recent snowfall had the lifts seized up, awaiting snow removal. With the lift cleared out, we hot lapped some hot pow, gazing once again into fog as Chris serenaded us with imagery of the now invisible high-alpine terrain at Vasalita.
The next day graced us with more hot pow, along with the opening of an upper lift. The weather lifted a bit, enough for us to shred the best natural half-pipe we’d ever set edge to, as well as glimpse a gnarly conrnice line and some gladded runs through huge Greek trees.
Back at the ski lodge, we set to work fulfilling our duties as demo squad, sessioning the recently erected terrain park- a table top, rail and quarter pipe with a wall ride. Louie and Fox sessioned into the evening, shredding and thrashing with a surprisingly large amount of Greek riders, all of whom were super stoked- parks of any sort are a rarity in Greece.
That night we ate another banquet of a Greek meal, with Christo or one of the Kostas’s ordering us large amounts of potatoes, meat and salad. We drank Rotinna, watched Olympic ice-skating a lived it up.
The next day snow fall had once again blanketed Vasailita. This time, weirdly enough, the top lift was closed even though the weather was less windy. We hiked the natural halfpipe irregardless, shredding the trips driest pow yet.
After we had thoroughly soaked our longjohns with the sweat of hiking, we jetted back to the lodge to judge The Jam. Greek contestants gave it their all, and we scored with vicious objectivity. Except for when Kostas wallied straight up and over the quarter-pipe wallride. We gave him 9 points for that madness.
When all the runs had been taken, the contest broke down like this:
1. Vangelis Pataris
2. George Felekis
3. Antonis Petinos
The winner pocketed a cool 500 euros- not bad at all we thought. We ate our last Greek meal, threw a few more “Yyyyamass!”, and packed it all back into the van. We were out the next day, back to the US.
Amid goodbyes and final salutations, we realized this had been an epic trip. Yes, we found good shredding, and yes we found good people. The Greek are an enthusiastic and genuine people, especially the ‘boarders that shared with us their great country. Butros, for sure, and a big fat “efaristo” to everyone we met in Greece!