Making my own chocolate #reduceplastic

A piece of star-shaped chocolate on a plate.

I have found an inspiring blogpost about making chocolate yourself and tried it out today. Here’s the recipe: https://cakeinvasion.de/schokolade-selber-machen-vegan/

Only three ingredients are needed: cocoa, coconut fat and powdered sugar. That means that you might be able to quickly make yourself some chocolate anytime you crave some, if you keep basic baking ingredients at home! That sounds pretty calming to me ;)

The process is easy, although it takes some time to melt and mix the ingredients. I was able to produce a pretty decent result, so everyone with minimal baking knowledge (reaaaally minimal) can do it too! Next time I will use syrup as sweetener instead of the powdered sugar to avoid having lumps of sugar in the finished chocolate.

International Women’s Day – Outstanding Women: Mitzi Albl

Members of the Grazer Damen Bicycle Club posing on their bikes for a photo

Since today is International Women’s Day, I wanted to introduce to you one of the outstanding women who paved the way for us sports enthusiasts, enabling us to ride a bike, skate, snowboard, surf and so on.

Members of the Grazer Damen Bicycle Club posing on their bikes for a photo
Elise Steininger, Vincenza Wenderich, Louise Sorg, Mitzi Albl, Louise Albl (v. l. n. r) Abb. in: Beiblatt der Radfahrchronik zum „Radfahrhumor“, Nr. 16, 1893, S. 539, Steiermärkische Landesbibliothek
Picture from http://www.pionierinnengalerie-graz.at/grazer-damen-bicycle-club-gegruendet-1893/

 

The woman I want to present is Mitzi Albl from Austria. She was one of the founding members of the Grazer Damen Bicycle Club (Ladies Bicycle Club Graz), which was founded in 1893 and was the first bicycle club for ladies in Austria, one of the first clubs in Europe in general.
1893 was a time where women still had to endure a lot of suppression. They were expected not to wear pants, not to sweat and in general, keep their attention to their work as housewives and mothers. Yet these women organized bike riding workshops for newbies, had a special club attire (including pants and modern caps!) and got together for group rides.

 

Through their courage to oppose the societys guidelines they cleared the way for women to use a bicycle as means of transportation, for working out and for fun.

For this, I want to thank Mitzi Albl and her peers! To show my gratitude, I named this blog after Ms Albl when I founded it in 2006.

May we cycle together into a future where nobody is suppressed because of their gender!

go with the flow!

relaxing with a view!
relaxing with a view!

let me get this straight – i love winter sports. i love splitboard touring, i love snowboarding, i love cross country skiing, i love going for a walk in a wintery wonderland. last winter, i was very frustrated by the weather. we had had only a few powder days here in eastern austria, and it didn’t look much better in western austria. i was in a bad mood, constantly waiting for this one big dump that i had hoped for since the season before. but it never came.
we enjoyed some really great days in the mountains, but it just didn’t feel like a proper winter.
about 10 years ago, we would get lots of snow, even in the flat lands of eastern austria. when you were unlucky, you had to shovel yourself a passage through a snow windlip on the street to my parents’ village to get through by car. in the morning, you’d find your car hidden underneath some 30 centimeters of freshies and dug in even more by the snowplough. you could often go cross country skiing on the fields nearby, you could bobsleigh down hills, you could go skiing or snowboarding on the mountains close-by.
these times seem to be long gone. and so far, it doesn’t seem like they will come back this winter season.
i have gotten in one splitboard tour in lower austria in november and since then, nearly all the snow has melted and temperatures have risen again.
having a break in the sun.
having a break in the sun.

the big difference to last winter is my personal stance on the weather. i have decided not to get upset about the lack of snow and warm temperatures anymore.
i will do whatever i can to minimize my own negative impact on the climate, like reducing the waste i produce, reusing or repairing stuff before buying new things, eating a plant based diet and using my bike or my feet as means of transportation as often as possible.
i often pick up trash that i find washed upon a beach or lying around in nature. 3 days ago i found an empty bottle of vodka in a forest. i collected it and carried it with me until i reached the next trash can.
i will continue to do things like that because i truly believe that everyone of us can make a positive impact on the environment.
but still – i can’t change the weather, i can’t make it snow and i can’t reduce the temperature.
it is of no use to be upset because of the weather.
i have decided to adapt to the current situation, go with the flow and make the best of it!
for me, this means not driving hundreds of kilometers to the next glacier to be able to snowboard. i’d rather stick to the options i have in my nearer surroundings and embrace the beauty and fun that can be found here.
while i won’t be able to work on my snowboarding technique this way, i still can continue to build up stamina, balance and muscle power to help my body perform even better (and by the way, this year i have finally acknowledged that my body is already capable of so much awesome stuff, i’m really grateful for that!).
a fiery sunrise.
a fiery sunrise.

 
two weeks ago on sunday, i decided to flee from the ongoing fog that has been plaguing the valleys and flat land for the last week. i hopped into the car, drove for 30 minutes and then started a short hike. although i was tired and it was cold and foggy at the parking lot, i soon saw the first rays of sunshine and enjoyed a wonderful hike! it was warm and the birds sang a lovely song.
last weekend, roman and i finally had the chance to go on hikes together again!
on saturday, we conquered the paulmauer and on sunday, we summited the göller, both mountains in lower austria. the first one being more of a little hill, the second can be called a decent mountain already ;)
here are some pictures…

Marie-France Roy – Quality of Life

Still from the movie Marie-France Roy - The Quality of Life

Marie-France Roy is not only one of the best snowboarders in the world, she is also into other boardsports, such as surfing or skateboarding, and a dedicated environmental activist.

Quality of Life is a short film about MFR, where she gives us an insight into her last season, talks about producing her kickstarter campaign funded movie The Little Things (watch the trailer here), and explains her connection with nature. we can join her in the garden of her self-built home, go snowboarding with her and watch her surf with friends.

#JulboAthlete Meeting Austria 2015

the austrian and german #JulboAthlete pack.
the austrian and german #JulboAthlete pack.

i’ve gotten the opportunity to be a #JulboAthlete during the last season and i have enjoyed using their products a lot. Julbo Eyewear is a company from the french Jura region, which was founded in 1888 by Jules Baud. they have a long history in producing eyewear, especially technical glasses for alpinists and athletes of various other sports like climbing or trail running. they produce 75% of their equipment in europe, which is a plus in my book.
on the 24th of november it was time for the first #JulboAthlete meeting for austrian and german riders in salzburg.
#JulboAthlete Meeting
we met in the Julbo Showroom, where all the different products they have to offer are put on display. at first, we were able to get to know each other, meet some familiar faces again and chat a bit.
then it was time for the presentations.
we started off with a round of introductions of all the Julbo staff and athletes. we then heard talks about the history and aim of the company and we were able to learn about technical details of the various types of glasses. for example, that Julbo has the glasses with the widest range of possible adaption in light ray transmission of all glass manufacturers and that they use material that was originally developed for military use. that explains the high resilience of their products.
 
the Julbo Aerospace goggles, ISPO Gold Award winner.
the Julbo Aerospace goggles, ISPO Gold Award winner.

we were introduced to the newest member of the product range – the Julbo Aerospace goggle. this goggle is perfect for freetourers (people who use lifts for freeriding but also do hikes to reach their favourite descends). it offers a brand new functionality – you can easily lift up the glass a few millimeters to allow for maximum ventilation. Julbo even won the ISPO Gold Award for this innovative product!
[vimeo 115638238 w=500 h=281]
 
after the presentations, we headed for lunch were we could deepen our connections and feel the team spirit.
excited exchange about the Julbo products.
excited exchange about the Julbo products.

the day ended with us choosing the products we would like to use for the upcoming season. it was really fun to discover all the different glasses, goggles and helmets, to try on our favourite ones and check with the other riders which helmet or goggle fit us best.
i’m pretty sure everyone chose the Julbo Aerospace goggle, as it’s really a welcome idea to have the opportunity to let in fresh air after a sweaty hike up or maybe an exhausting plow through deep snow.
 
i can’t wait to get my hands on the new equipment and to test out the new products on my next trips into the great outdoors!
thank you Julbo for having us, it was really informative and fun to be your guest!

PIEPS Freeride Team Meeting 2015

pieps_board
representin ;)

it has certainly become a nice tradition that the PIEPS Freeride Team meets up every year at the stubai glacier at the beginning of the winter season.
on the 27th of october, a foggy day, it was time for this years meetup. everyone arrived at the valley station mutterberg early in the morning. this year, we were even more people than before, because in 2015, PIEPS has built up the PIEPS Experts Team, consisting of experienced mountain guides and alpine professionals, who also took part in the meeting together with us freeriders.
greetings were exchanged, stories of the past summer were told and new connections were made. then it was time to enter the gondolas for the ride uphill.
pieps_meeting1
meeting up at the gondola

we spent the day near the top station gamsgarten, where the PIEPS crew instructed us at five different knowledge stations on avalanche rescue techniques and showed us their products in detail, like the PIEPS DSP Pro Ice (which is basically the PIEPS DSP Pro with a different, more stylish look) and the improved PIEPS Jetforce backpack.
pieps_meeting2
the PIEPS Jetforce backpack demonstration

not only were we able to refresh our knowledge, we also could do a comparison of the functionality of avalanche beacons from different companies. this is especially important for the ones among us who work as guides and need to have an excellent knowledge of various beacons that guests might bring with them.
the PIEPS Freeride Team meeting ended traditionally with cake, coffee and chatting at the Alpenhotel Fernau.
 
it was a very informative day, with lots of friendly encounters and laughter.
i’m very happy to be supported by one of the best avalanche rescue equipment producers worldwide. i have to say, i’ve been a fan of PIEPS products since i started freeriding and splitboard touring, and in my personal opinion, they make the best products available. i also have used PIEPS products before i got the chance to be a part of their team, because i truly believe in their reliability and usability.
i want to thank PIEPS for their ongoing support and the big effort they put into the PIEPS Team Meeting year after year!

an ode to the great outdoors.

IMG_8870
today i went on a little solo hiking mission on my beloved muckenkogel. the muckenkogel is a mellow mountain in lower austria, just a 30 minute drive from my home, which offers 4 different routes to the summit from one starting point and a few more from other points in the valley. the muckenkogel is only a bit over 1200 meters high, still you will have to master 900 meters altitude difference when you start your hike in the valley. all these facts make the muckenkogel a perfect mountain for me to work on my endurance. other than that, it’s also really beautiful there, thus i want to sing an ode to the great outdoors (not odors… post-hike odors are not ode-worthy in my book).
IMG_8872
the summit of the muckenkogel in the upper middle of the picture.
hiking is not a badass activity. it’s not glamorous, neither is it very exciting. still, i get excited on a regular basis when i’m hiking and this emotional high is due to the wonderful feeling that being in nature gives me.
i love to take in the vibrant colors of the sky, the plants, the rocks, the animals. when i’m inside a coniferous forest and i inhale the wonderful smell of a warm forest floor covered by needles from the trees it feels like a short holiday for my brain. watching butterflies twirl around in the air delightens me. and discovering a lizard or a beautiful bird is natures version of a surprise egg to me.
these sensations, combined with the physical demand of walking uphill and downhill, make hiking one of my favourite past-time activities.
IMG_8874
waterfall number 1 of 5.
and just so you know: science has just proven that being inside a forest is beneficial for our health (which we had already assumed before, hadn’t we? ;)). it reduces stress and the terpenes that plants emission to communicate with each other increase the power of our immune system.
we should all go for as much hikes as possible!
 
 
IMG_8873
found a broken glass bottle in the forest and picked up the shattered pieces.
please don’t leave glass in the woods, it can cause a fire!

 
 
IMG_8875
(the great odors)

Hello Julbo Eyewear!

a short time ago, i got offered a sponsorship by Julbo, a company founded by Jules Baud in france more than 125 years ago, that manufactures glasses, sunglasses, goggles and helmets. they have heroes in their team like skier Glen Plake or climber Ines Papert. of course i was happy about this offer and agreed.
on the second of january, just before we headed to Großarl, i received a package from Julbo, containing 2 goggles (Orbiter and Eclipse), 1 pair of sunglasses (Suspect) and 1 helmet (Dune).
Julbo Glasses & Helmet
glasses from top to bottom: Julbo Eclipse, Julbo Suspect, Julbo Orbiter. Julbo Dune helmet.
 
i’m going to give a short feedback on the products, in case you’re interested in getting new equipment.
i have tested them on the slopes, as well as when freeriding and on splitboard tour.
the goggles both sit very comfortably, also perfectly in combination with the helmet, offering a rather wide view. both glasses adjust to the lightness automatically. the Zebra Light glasses are suited for a weather range of partly sunny to overcast or foggy. the Zebra glasses are good on days where the weather lies between sunshine and slightly overcast conditions.
the visibility is very clear. i have so far never had glasses that adjust to the lightness and i was positively surprised at how well the adjustment works! no changing of glasses anymore, that’s really nice!
the goggles are permanently ventilated, which is an important feature in my book.
the helmet is rather lightweight, offering a cozy fit. the size can be finetuned by the turn of a wheel on the back of the helmet – i love that! no matter if i’m wearing a skull cap or nothing underneath, i can adjust the helmet to a tight fit in the matter of a second.
the sunglasses are as light as a feather. they feel very durable. we will see, how they hold up over time, but i’m positive.
they sit snugly, which means they don’t shake around when moving, but still they don’t press into the temples of my face. this is important, because when i go on a splitboard tour and the weather is good, i usually will be wearing the sunglasses for 2 to 3 hours. if the sunglasses start to hurt, you have to wear them over a headband or beanie to avoid pain. this causes a looser fit and more movement of the sunglasses, which is not very desireable.
to sum it up, i’m very satisfied with the products i received and will happily use them whenever i go ride.
thanks Julbo for your trust and support!
-> visit the Julbo website