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Mattadvproject

Mattadvproject

Love that powder!
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699
Location
Granby, CO
Day 6 – Thu 13th Jan

A cold but clear day! The plan was to head way out and start to ski some of the areas we had briefly looked at from the high point the day before, where we had built the road. We were the first ones up and there was a steep untouched slope ahead of us. This time, there was no evidence of the reactive windslab I had interacted with the day before and the skiing looked good. We couldn’t see the big face we were about to ski, but Mihael and Bobo had skied it many times before and with the better-looking snow, it would be a good option. Mihael dropped in and he was out of sight after 2 turns. Then it was a long wait for him to pop out at the bottom, but there he was. This was going to be a long run!

I traversed a little bit to the right of his tracks and then skied next to them, this was a steep face and a lot of vert (30 plus GS turns) and it definitely had my attention. This was quite the warmup run! The top turns were really nice, probably about 6 inches of soft snow, then getting pretty firm towards the bottom. There was definitely some hooting and hollering going on by the time I got to the bottom. Then I set up my handheld cam to film the rest of the bottom. Then we had a really long ski all the way down through a valley, past a few summertime shepard’s houses before pickup in the treeline. The snow in the treeline was awesome!

We did a couple of quick forest laps before heading back to the top of the mountain and the big open face. There was plenty of room for another set of tracks in it and this time, the face was in the sun. This run was even better as the sun had slightly softened the snow at the bottom. It was creamy turns all the way to the end, definitely one of the best runs of the trip (got it on video, will post that when I’m back in the US). We had the same long ski down to the bottom of the valley and our cat was waiting for us for lunch. We had a lovely pasta (creamy mushroom penne) and some fruit to restore some energy.

We finished the day with some really nice laps in the lower 1/3 of the zone, staying in the cold, less wind affected snow. The skiing was really great in that zone. Sadly, my POV cam died so I didn’t get much footage in that zone. We had a couple of beers to celebrate another great day in the Popova backcountry. Then we had an amazing dinner at a Macedonian steak house on the mountain road, on the way to Tetova. The food there was really good and it was a nice change from the hotel (which has also been awesome!).

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- Matt
 
Thread Starter
TS
Mattadvproject

Mattadvproject

Love that powder!
Industry Insider
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Posts
699
Location
Granby, CO
Day 7 – Fri 14th Jan

The sun was still out and it was a lot warmer, but the winds had really picked up and the snow was blowing everywhere. This was the last ski day for the group sadly….. Unfortunately it would be a challenge to find good snow that wasn't all slabby and crusty. We tried a few spots, but it was hard going. The energy levels were pretty low, so a few of the group (myself included as my knees were pretty sore), called it quits early and only two of the group (plus Mihael and Bobo, the two Macedonian guides), kept going till around 2pm. They actually found some good snow further away, down in the trees and had a fun time. Tomorrow we leave for Skopje and a few cultural days which I am really looking to.

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- Matt
 
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Thread Starter
TS
Mattadvproject

Mattadvproject

Love that powder!
Industry Insider
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Posts
699
Location
Granby, CO
Day 8 – Sat 15th Jan

Time to head back to Skopje. We had a bit of a lie in and then met for breakfast around 9am. Checkout was 11am and then we jumped in the van (about 21 seats for the 5 of us!) and headed out of the resort. It was slow going as there was quite the buildup of traffic, being a Saturday. Once we were out of the resort, then we made a lot of progress. We got to see a lot with the clear visibility and there were some great views of Tetovo. We could also see the old cable car that used to run from Tetovo to Popova Sapka. Apparently, it was damaged during and the the 2001 Macedonian war and subsequently abandoned.

Then we took the freeway to Skopje. All in all, it only takes about 1 hour 10 minutes to get to Skopje from Popova. Meto (owner of Shar Ourdoors) was waiting for us at the Alexander Square Hotel (the really nice hotel I stayed at on arrival) and then he took us on an amazing cultural tour of the city. He told us a lot about the history and what all the statues and buildings were. We started in Alexander Square and then took the famous Stone Bridge over the Vardar River towards the Old Bazaar.

The Old Bazaar is the oldest part of the city and has a lot of Turkish (Ottoman) influence. There are many mosques, Hamman (Turkish baths) and narrow, shop lined streets to explore. We had a lovely lunch in a Turkish restaurant with kebabs, beans in clay pot and fresh baked bread. Then we headed up to visit the Mustafa Pasha Mosque, the largest mosque in the area. Inside the dome was beautifully painted and very serene. Then we visited the Kale Fortress (Skopje Fortress) with its commanding views of the city.

Finally, we hit a craft brewery back in the Bazaar before heading back to the hotel for a couple of hours. At 6:30pm, Meto was waiting in the lobby for us again and we took taxis to the Kamnik Winery for a five-course food and wine tasting. What a place! It has a large restaurant that has a hunting lodge theme. We were served with 5 wines which were 2 whites, then 2 reds and finished off with a sweet dessert wine.

The food was incredible, we had: a fish mouse with squid and caviar; tortellini filled with pheasant and a shaved truffle on mushroom sauce; rabbit and then some duck; finished with desert with several different cakes/mousses. It was an amazing experience and very well-done. We had a great time. Then we went out for a couple of drinks for Scott, one of our guests, for his birthday.

The next day, we had a slow start and all the guests had to take COVID tests (Rapid Antigen Test – 1,000 dinars/$20) about a 13-minute walk from the hotel. Results were available via email, about 30-minutes later. I took one just to make sure I was negative for my next group (which I was). Now I have a couple of days off to recuperate and get ready for the start of the next group, on Jan 19th.

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- Matt
 
Thread Starter
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Mattadvproject

Mattadvproject

Love that powder!
Industry Insider
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Posts
699
Location
Granby, CO
As I now have some decent internet here at the hotel in Skopje, here's a sneak preview of some raw footage from one of our runs in Popova Sapka (shot on the 13th Jan). This was our second run down a really fun, steep face, with great contrast..... hope you like it!



- Matt
 
Thread Starter
TS
Mattadvproject

Mattadvproject

Love that powder!
Industry Insider
Joined
Apr 24, 2017
Posts
699
Location
Granby, CO
Had a nice day off today, exploring the Matka Canyon and caves, about 25-minutes outside of Skopje. It was nice to get out of the smog of the city for a few hours..... back to work tomorrow with the arrival of my next group and our return to Opova Sapka. Round 2 is about to begin....

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- Matt
 
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