Visconti’s Africa Snowboard Safari
Our adventure has been as wild as the animals that inhabit this continent. Honestly, maybe it was American ignorance, but I thought there would be roaming safari animals grazing and racing through out all the land. Although I did not actually think I was going to hand-plant the head of a giraffe, I was hopeful of the possibilities. My dreams of racing a leopard down the limited snowscape were quickly crushed when I realized the only thing afflicting this continent is a deathly contrast of race, gender and class. The disconnect between the wealth of the bourgeois and the depravity of the poor is unbelievable. Likewise we are fully living in this blend. For those of you that do not know, my trip is split three ways. Snowboard Safari Part 1 is an ultimate journey to the ends of the earth to snowboard. Part 2 is an African safari at the Krueger National Park. Part 3 is a humanitarian venture into the slums, referred to as townships, to meet a child that Joel Parker and I sponsored with World Vision, a faith based non-profit seeking to change the world! Words and photos will never be able to do justice to the lifetime experience I am submerged in with great friends in a forgotten part of the world, but let the following updates, at least, spark your imagination and grip your attention until Snowboarder Magazine's "Snowboard Safari" editorial and Nation Foundation's "Anthropology" are unveiled!
LOOK FOR THE FULL PHOTO GALLERY AT THE END
After nearly 36 hours of traveling, for others 56, Stevie Bell, Scott Stevens, Ryan Hughes, John Cavin, Joel Parker, Janssen Powers, and I arrived safely at Afri-Ski Resort in Lesotho, Africa. Accommodated by the resort, we were comfortably gifted two swiss-style ski chalets. Fine dining, exquisite South African wine and great company off set the jet lag, however in waking to an African sunrise with visuals of a enough snow to craft our creativity all restlessness and weariness were forgotten. The past five days have been unforgettable as we inspired the minds of the niche African snowboard culture, touched aborigines hearts with warm western welcomes, and created relationships with locals that due to globalization and modern technology will cross pollinate our lives eternally.
All our expectations of the snowboarding were abundantly destroyed. Expecting little, we gained much. Our photographic and videographic attempt at exposing the world wide passion for snowboard culture was extremely successful. We shredded lines in the rugged terrain of lost mountain ranges, rode surprisingly progressive park features, and used our minds to sculpt the begotten snow canvas of Africa. I will not allude to the images and footage we have already stacked, but let it suffice to say the journey half way around the world has been well worth it.
The real worth has been in engaging with the local ski and snowboard community. Afri-ski is the only ski resort in Africa and brings in snow sport enthusiasts from around the world. They give new meaning to hospitality and welcome; but the warmth they extend is not felt by physical touch, but by the gallons, I'm sorry- liters, of local spirits they drowned us with. From early morning sun rise shoots to late night moonlit shots, we are in snowboarders heaven. A grand finale party was thrown for us last night, and even though the youthful and reckless African snowboard culture, blinded by American snowboard stardom, attempted to get us to forget our adventure by forced inebriation, this experience is one that nothing will be able to haze, blur or fade.
The snowboarding section is coming to an end and we are preparing for the raw reality of Africa. But until a future update, which will more than likely be difficult due to limited wifi, please celebrate with us in our success of Snowboard Safari Part 1. Please continue to pray for our safety and health.
With blissful adieu, I love you all,
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