One of the Ski Independence reservations team, Jamie Stevenson, is embarking on an incredible challenge in March of this year: to ski 20 different countries in just one month, break a Guiness Ski World Record and raise money for Disability Snowsport Scotland. As a fully qualified ski instructor there’s no doubt that he’s up to the challenge – he just has to hope his car and the sat nav are too!
20 Different countries, 31 Days
On the 1st of March 2014, I am departing on an epic journey to set a new Guinness World Record and raise money for the Disability Snowsport Scotland Charity. I am looking to ski in 20 different countries in March 2014.
- Starting at the Cairngorm ski resort in northern Scotland was a no-brainer for me; being Scottish and based in Edinburgh it makes sense to kick the whole challenge off from here and then head south. I considered starting in Oslo, Norway and finishing in Scotland, but I decided the snow will be more ‘guaranteed’ in the Scandinavian countries, rather than the more temperate Scotland!
- I am required by Guiness to complete a full run in each country I visit, so I will be jumping on the funicular at Cairngorm at 9am and should hopefully be on the way south by 9.30am. This will be the start of a route that takes me over 6,500 miles. I am driving this route on my own, in my 2008 VW golf.
- Day 2 and 3 are relatively quiet, as I need to get myself from the north of Scotland to the Pyrenees; this is to check off Spain and Andorra from the list of 20. The following days I will head up to Chamonix, Verbier, Courmayeur, St Anton and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany.
- After this I head down into the Balkans to tick off Slovenia (resort: Žičnice Vogel), Serbia (Stara Planina) and then Bulgaria (Bansko). This will be a particularly difficult part of the trip as the Sat Nav reception is classed as “partial coverage” and the alphabet goes from my native English to the slightly more complex Cyrillic. My Serbian is a bit rusty too…
- I’ve built a few rest days into the trip, mainly to ensure I am not spending too many hours behind the wheel which, of course, may result in complacency. Should I get lost, or can’t find the resort, I will obviously use the rest days to catch up.
- After a rest day in Sofia, I’ll start to head north again, with the final destination of Norway in the back of my mind. I will head through Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland. After Poland I have planned to ski Lithuania and Estonia, but these are touch and go as these countries are obviously not skiing Mecca’s and will have potentially closed for the season (or indefinitely!).
Ski World Record Rules
To set the new Guinness World Record, I must ski on an OPEN ski run – I cannot get to the resort and hike up. Therefore, it is crucial that all the resorts are open and have snow. The fact that the resort of Otepää in Estonia is only 200 metres above sea level puts me on edge at this stage!
After Estonia I jump on a ferry to Helsinki to ski in Finland (resort: Messilä), then another ferry to Stockholm to ski in Sweden (Romme Alpin) and then drive over to Olso to ski my final resort of Kongsberg Skisenter.
It’s sure to be an experience I will never forget and something I am really looking forward to. Ski Independence have very kindly sponsored the countries of France, Switzerland and Austria (of course, we feature these resorts in Europe!) as part of this sponsorship package, I will be completing a Ski World Record video blog which will be uploaded to the Ski-I website regularly – the plan is daily, but should internet be lacking, it might be the day after! I’ll also be updating my own Facebook page with blogs and other videos too.
Any personal donations are very welcome at my Just Giving page.
Good luck from everyone at Ski Independence and we can’t wait to follow your progress!