As you probably know or not as the case may be, I am away from the UK for all but 10 weeks of the year, and with the house in Slovenia now fully stack with what could be summed up as my worldly lot, I still travel on tour all Spring, Summer and Autumn long. By late April every year I head to Valsesia, more specifically Campertogno to visit and stay with Anto & Alberto on the island in the middle of the Sesia River. It’s like a small paradise, the food is great, the beer and wine very fine and the company, travelling paddlers and locals a like good value too. Of course I work for several weeks when in Valsesia, the Steep Creekin’ is by far the best you’ll find in all the Alps at Spring time. It’s like a warm up for the main event of the Summer, that is going to Norway where adventure paddlers go.
Om arrival I get my fix of Papadella con Leppi, thick ribbons of pasta in a Hare sauce, this is such a wonderfully simply yet delightful dish, washed down with buckets of the dolcetto wine of Piemonte. I love Soča, she is a prefect place, the most prefect of places to be, but Sesia is also in my heart, a Spring sweetheart for a season, but what a season always to behold.
The work soon started, its a great job, but hey you knew that all along, but every year goes by and I enjoy the work ever more, I love it, mainly because I can see the enjoy my coaching brings to individuals, you can shape their outcomes, their mastery of paddling to arrive at a new comprehension of white water or take them beyond their aspirations to somewhere else in their paddling, at times it’s an amazing job. Occasional it rains and for this early May for 2 weeks, and it was cold too, but even under a grey sky, with snow down to 1800m, the water level conditions prime, only happy days could be had. Here is some of that high water and dull day action….
During the first week, the sun shone on occasion, whilst at another time, the ford to island was almost covered it was a mixed bag on Spring conditions and with only rain fall in the river’s we had not seen any snow melt, as all the low mountains were white topped around. The Norway crew left and Team Jock arrived, well a day late as the ash cloud provided a delay and re-routing for them. The rain did not stop, but the party continued, as more levels dropped to make way for some prime steep creekin’.
The week passed well, the sun appears on the last day and everyone fired it up for Gronda Boof clinic and Egua action. There is always much to do on technique development, and the last week was no exception, nice how it is to change the outcomes, more time is always needed. Over the Summer I will write a number of technique articles to accompany the Genotype 2 DVD release from last year, that should go into CKUK this Autumn. Until then you can always get the DVD, or post questions on here or on Gene17 Facebook Group Page or Page. If you like what you see remember you can join us in Italy or elsewhere, see G17K for details.
At the Valsesia River Contest, Satu entered us into the Topo Duo BoaterX. As I had not been in this boat since 1994, when guiding a female member of Plymouth University Canoe Club down the Chateaux Q on the Guil in the French Alps, I was uncertain to how this old school log for two would run a line. In the prelims of 3 boats, we had a paddle tussle with another crew and made second place, which for a 6 boat final meant avoiding any locking of paddles, so we opted for the outside line, and fired up the guns for a straight charge into the main rapid, ahead of the pack, after sharply getting my wife to keep tempo, I had time to realise how much the topo duo disturbingly flexes through the waves, alarming indeed. I can only hope Jackson’s duo effort is a little better…. Oh we won a big box local wine and fine cheese, that’s what I call a fine prize to share with one and all.
After that, we had a few sessions on runs, the weeks have past by and the delights of the Piemonte & Ticino Spring are all soon over. I have a few more posts, one of which will address a central flaw in boofin technique promoted in this article. In the mean time here is my wife enjoying the Landwasser waterfall in Valsesia.