It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong”- Yvon Chouinard
A small clan of Sanuk surf teamers has returned from a trip to the Arctic. They have some insane stories. Here’s a terrfying tale told by East coast rippershredder Philip Goold:
Descending down the mountain. I am now in the 4x4. Knees are still ice packs. Fantasizing about driving on the east coast, home. Where there is no serious consequence on either side of the road. Flat. No ice. Sitting in the passenger seat without my stomach tightening around every curve minus a guardrail. Only to be followed by a cliff that would have your finale in a damn frozen river.
Swell and better winds lead us to a decision to drive through the night into the interior of a country filled of ice, snow and nowhere near ideal driving conditions. Somewhere around midnight we stop to check out the northern lights and take some photographs. Amazing again. But we thought we might be able to get a better view from around the corner. Hop in and move around the corner approaching a steep hill, more of a mountain.
As Brett and I coast down we were coming up on the other car in our caravan, ahead of us, a little too fast. So to slow down on the ice, we down shifted. Decreased to 3rd, no slowing. Down to 2nd still same speed, getting uncomfortably close now. Waiting till the awkward 2 wheel drive van allows us to shift to 1st.
Time and distance are not in our favor right now so instead of hitting the car in front of us and sending us both pin-balling onto either side of the road. We tap our breaks. All it took was a tap. The tail sets free & we slide atop of the 2 inch thick ice overlapping the road.
The vehicle does a full 180 and as soon as we hit the side of the road, with an offset bank to the right side of this mess of a road. The driver side digs into far too much snow and we begin to get off balance. We are now about to flip but something stopped us. We had all the right momentum to keep going in the right direction that the laws of physics are meant to send that way.
We were on a slant, tipping the way that you are thinking, the way that would send us into even more of a pickle. Again, somehow we tipped back the other way, all four tires on the snow. We didn’t flip? Five mph faster and we would have undoubtably been upside down.
Silence breaks with some panicked sighs and Brett looks at me with an immediate puzzled and obvious smile that we are stationary. He holds his hand up for the high five. We naturally jump out, run around the car in a foot of snow and embrace with a hug, no homo. The other guys ahead of us have to do a u turn on a two lane frozen highway, and by two lane I mean one lane with room for two cars to squeeze, when it’s dry. Not covered with the worst driving conditions known to man.
Quite a few methods were exhausted within the next hour trying to get this thing out of the snow and back onto the road. None successful. Including stuffing board bags underneath tires, for traction. Burky had the only operational cell phone on the trip and somehow we had service to call for help. A car drives by that speaks the native tongue a little better than our American asses. He directs the emergency men to our exact position. All five in the 4 wheel drive, waiting for help, sitting patiently and discussing how lucky we are to not have drifted to the left side of the road where it was an easy 100 foot slope compared to our side. The left side would have been a sure fire way to flip, slide, or roll straight into a free ride to the hospital, which there were no towns for 70 kilometers in either direction.
The tow truck shows up and goes to rig up next to the van. I’m putting my inadequate winter gear on to go help when Alek yells to shut the door. With frantic eyes I notice a semi coming down the hill flashing his lights. The tow truck in the right lane and us parallel, still in the left. There is no space for the multi ton ice road trucker to fit and certainly not sufficient distance to stop, Alek hits the accelerator. Traction control combined with new 4 wheel drive technology gets us out of the way and the semi who would have demolished both vehicles squeezes through with no space to spare.
That’s a total of three vehicles come in the vicinity of our scene from the time we wreck to the time we get out, a good 3-4 hours in -4 degrees Celsius with 40 knot wind drivin snow. So if you are not bracing the gusts standing on this ice the wind blows you to the other side or till you fall over.
Observing one of the tow attempts a board bag comes loose and lands on my back and acts as a sail pushing me with some scary force, I made the executive decision to fall backwards. Surely it was hilarious to watch, but at least I didn’t go off the side. Anyways a few more tugs with this guys mutant of a snow truck we are back up on the road. It is now 5 AM and I’m not a night owl.
Confident that I will be awake for the remainder of the night. Lots of shit going through this head. Lucky is what it was. There are plenty of places here that if we were to pull the same stunt in a different scenario, I wouldn’t be typing right now. As much as you’d like it to be, traveling is not systematic. It is not predictable. We drove over 60 hours this trip and I didn’t bat a lash at the fact of sitting in a chair for that long. There was too much scenery to stare at. Too many good conversations. And too much excitement to see what we were going to see around the next corner. Like one of the countries many speed cameras screaming, “Flaaaaaashhhh”, as we barrel past it unknowingly.
See the photos @ www.philtervision.com
2 years ago 5 notes Arctic Circle Surfing surf frozen snow chilly baren freeze ice semi danger adventure Alek Parker Brett Barley Philip Goold Sanuk Surf Squad