My cool friends is a tribute to all the talented people I know doing rad things, just because they can. I want you to know about them. I want you to be inspired by them.
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I would say Rosie and I were not much more that acquaintances when she paid a visit to Chamonix this winter. We had been ski touring together once with a mutual friend in NZ. She dropped me a message to say she was coming for a week and to ask if would I like to hang out on my days off. I jumped at the chance. Chamonix is wild place but often finding playmates on the same schedule as you is difficult.
It turned out to be a bit of a storm week so we headed for the lifts. However, when we got to the top of the first gondola we were hit by a savage wind. I instantly thought about skiing straight down again. “The good thing is” Rosie said in her ever cheerful way “if the wind is bad on the frontside it’s normally better on the backside”.
The next chairlift was the most horrendous ride of the season, most likely of my life. I zipped up everything as tight as I could, only my eyes were exposed, still the wind whipped the fresh snow in our faces and our teeth chattered. We shouted to each other across the wind, and eventually burst into fits of laugher at the ridiculousness of it all. Finally, we started singing “always look on the brightside of life” to maintain morale and forget about our numb limbs.
If it wasn’t for Rosie’s enthusiasm and positive outlook I would have gone home. Which is a shame as I would have missed the fresh powder and tree skiing on the backside of Le Tour. I also would have missed swapping endless tales of adventure with Rosie on the slow creaking chair rides back up.
I still don’t know where Rosie went to school, what her parents names are, or where they live. I might have asked in passing but it didn’t really matter. What mattered was our similar outlook on life, our love of the mountains, and our quest for adventure. It felt like we had been friends for much longer than the number of hours we had spent together.
Rosie was visiting Europe briefly, spending time with her friends and family before heading to Canada to start life there for a few years. She had been in New Zealand on her working holiday visa previously. When I asked her “why Canada?” “why not try and stay in NZ longer?” her response was simple, she was turning 30 and it was her last chance to get a visa for Canada. I thought her courage was remarkable to up root and go to a new country by herself just because she didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be there.
She admitted she was nervous starting over again. But Rosie has a quiet confidence about her and I knew she would do just fine. I wasn’t surprised when she messaged me to say after ski touring with some contacts I had given her she had been invited to join the Seeking Balance, Finding Adventure team. The team are going to Patagonia in October to sea kayak and ski tour in some remote areas. Seeking Balance, Finding Adventure is a group of women passionate about the outdoors and climate change, you can find out more about them and their mission here or follow them on Facebook here.
Rosie herself is a little bit harder to follow, more likely to be off having adventures than instagramming or facebooking about them. She’s a bit of a social media hermit. We occasionally write long pen pal like messages to each other but other than that I guess I’m going to have to wait until the stars align and we end up on the same continent again. However, I know when we do cross paths again we will be able to talk and laugh like old friends regardless of how much or little time we have spent together.