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Fabi meets… Tom Leitner

„Fabi meets…“ is a series of interviews with Fabian Lentsch and other skiers, friends and people he meets on the road. Same questions, different answers!

Fabi meets….Tom Leitner – a passionate freeskier since day one! Tom had his first public appearence in the little world of freeriding later than most but rapidly broke into the small group of the world’s best competitors. After many years of alpine racing, he joined the ‘new-school’ freestyle skiing movement in the mid-90s, at the same time as many of his friends switched to snowboarding. Born and raised in southern Bavaria he grew up in the mountains, grew up with skiing and later got the chance to travel the world by moving fast and stylish on two sticks. Tom has been part of the very first Snowmads trip A Journey Towards Eastern Suns – unfortunately he’s had a super bad crash back then and was forced to leave Iran way too early.

Name: Tom Leitner

Age: 38

City: Traunstein

How is/was it to grow up around here?

It was paradise when I was a kid. I had the privilege to grow up very free and to be outside a lot. I definitely believe that  my childhood gave me the basis for everything I do these days. It`s those childhood memories that I strive for, even if more subconsciously than consciously.

Well, I`ve been skiing for thirty five years now and it has been one of the constants in my life.

What do you think about skiing? Have you ever tried it or seen someone ski? What do you associate with it?

Well, I`ve been skiing for thirty five years now and it has been one of the constants in my life. It`s my passion and it can take on so many forms. I think it can potentially fill up a lifetime. There`s always place for progression, even if our physical abilities decline with age.

To me backcountry skiing has a unifying power, too. Wherever you meet skiers with a similar dedication, you will most probably find yourself in a silent agreement with them, about certain values, attitudes and preferences. It’s like a secret bond of people who have made similar experiences, which, in the end, lead you on a certain path in life. 

Skiing chose me, I would say

Why did you choose this job/career?

Skiing chose me, I would say. It`s not like it has ever been a career path to me. One thing came after the other and for a couple of years I was able to make a living of it. Looking back, it’s been only a short period in my life and only one aspect of my life as a skier. A very special time of my life with certain privileges that most people don`t have the chance to experience.

What are you most passionate about and why and what makes you happy?

It`s definitely my family. Ten years ago I never would have thought that I`d become a family man. But the course of seeing a kid grow up from the start and experience humanity in its purest and most innocent form has definitely left a mark on me. But every dad knows that it is something which can not be explained until you experience it yourself.

I believe that vague fears are something to be tackled and to be actively overcome.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I mean, you only become the person you are through making all the mistakes and follow a couple of misleading trails here and there. Still, looking back, I wish I’d have had more courage in certain situations. I believe that vague fears are something to be tackled and to be actively overcome. It took me some time to figure that out in my life. But I am a very happy man at the moment, so I believe that everything had to go the way it did.

What is freedom to you? 

Personal freedom to me means the ability to realize the countless possibilities around us and to have the discipline to grab them. Freedom has a lot to do with discipline.

Love, What is it?

I am surely not a man to give a definition. But I definitely know that it is the answer and the way.

How do you spend most of your free time?

I love to be active in nature. It gives me peace of mind. Apart from that I am alway busy, somehow. Even if I don`t have a real job, haha!

What does money mean to you?

I don`t care about money, as long as there`s enough, haha!

How to follow Tom and his adventures:
Instagram

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Kung-Fu Fabi! A Journey to China (Video)

It was last year when Fabi and some of his friends realized a dream they’ve had on their minds for a couple years already. They traveled to China, signed up for a Kung-Fu school and spent a Summer in the Chinese backcountry. Find out what they’ve experienced on their trip to this rather military style Kung-Fu school.

A couple words of Fabian Lentsch on how he experienced this trip to the far east:

„It was definitely quite a contrast to everything I’ve seen before.“

„About three years ago while climbing a mountain in Austria with my friend Steve he came up with this idea to spend some time in a Kung Fu school in China. He first wanted to stay for six months which wasn’t really an option for me so we settled for two months instead. Jules joined our trip kind of last minute and the three of us traveled to China beginning of summer 2019.
It was definitely quite a contrast to everything I’ve seen before. On the website it said that a good physical shape prior to arriving at the school is recommended. Being an athlete after all I already felt qualified while studying the website at home and kept going into the mountains and just did what I always do. After the first five days of training I had one of the strongest muscle aches of my whole life. Actually already after three days I would have for sure taken a day off if I wasn’t in this crazy Chinese Kung Fu school. Giving up wasn’t really an option. It didn’t feel right to disappoint our Shifu(master). As long as you are not really sick in the world of Kung Fu you can train every day.

„Everything works in a kind of military style.“

The daily workout lasted from 6am until 6pm with just a few breaks in-between. Taiji, Qigong, Shaolin, Chinese Kickboxing, running, temple stairways running, power workouts, conditioning, playing with sticks, fighting in the ring and and and.
Everything works in a kind of military style. You don’t wanna be late for any of your classes haha. There are weekly cleanups where everybody has to join, lunch and dinner gets served at an exact time for about 30min when you have to return your bowl and chopsticks. The room and bed needs to be tidy with weekly checkups by our masters. Most Shifus are talking Chinese with a translator next to them.

Shot and produced by Simon Lo www.liveflyfree.com

I really enjoyed my time in this school. After about two weeks my mind and my body really settled in and I loved being deprived of all these option I constantly have in life. In the school there was a fixed timetable and I never spent time thinking about what to do tomorrow, where to go and so on.“

Learn more about the Kung-Fu school here

Photo Credits
Simon Lo
Fabian Lentsch

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„Cooking with the Snowmads“ is our new series about Food and Recipes from all over the World.

As Van Life, Traveling and Cooking go Hand in Hand we think it’s a Topic that might be interesting for you. Let’s cook a real Iranian Classic today: Lubia Polo

As we love to travel to Iran we got to know and love the Iranian Cuisine, so we want to bring you one of our favorite recipes.
The Iranian way of cooking is pretty simple in its ingredients yet amazingly complex in its taste and so is Lubia Polo, which simply translates to „Bean Rice“. Seeing the Ingredients maybe you would think to yourself „How could this turn into something special?“ But then you take the time and passion for the process as the Iranians do and in the end you’ll be stunned of how little things you need to create an amazing tasty meal.

What you need

1 Onion

500g Green Beans (best fresh ones, but frozen ones work as well)

2 1/2 cups of rice (Persian rice is perfect for this dish if you can get hold of it, or any other good medium to long grain white rice)

1 tea spoon of tumeric powder at least 1/2 a tea spoon of bloomed saffron

500g pure tomato sauce

Potatoes (optional)

If you’re lucky enough to find a Persian market close by you can easily get your Iranian ingredients there – a couple minutes of intense Persian experience inclusive. 😉

Fabi on a market in Teheran…

How the magic happens

You begin by frying the diced onions in oil until they get some color and add the turmeric powder and the green beans. The tumeric powder is important for the final taste of the Lubia Polo so don’t be shy on using it. The beans should start to get a glassy bright green color when you add the tomato sauce, usually you will use tomato sauce from a can or glass. If its a really thick sauce, pour some water in the can or glass to get the rest of the sauce out and make the sauce more liquid. You don’t wanna make a soup, but it shouldn’t be too thick in order to not burn in your pan. You let that cook for some ten to fifteen minutes if you’re using fresh beans, if its frozen beans that reduces the cooking time to around 5 minutes. Add some salt and let the sauce sit in the pan.

Meanwhile bring some water (about 1 1/2 to double the amount of rice) to boil, add the rinsed rice and let that simmer until the rice is al dente, which means that if you take one grain of rice between your fingernails the middle of the grain should still be a little hard. The Iranians are true masters in cooking rice and one of the many secrets is simply to rinse the rice before cooking to get rid of the starch around the grains. Pour the rice and water through a sieve. After around ten minutes, depending on which rice you use pour the rice and water into a sieve.

„Thadig“ Iranian rice cooking magic

Now the stacking of the rice and the bean/tomato sauce starts, which is probably the crux in the whole process. For that you use a deep pot, pour some oil in and put it on low to medium heat. Cause now another speciality of the Iranian rice cooking magic can be achived, the so called „Tahdig“ It means that in the bottom of the pot you get a amazingly tasty crust of rice, that if you got it right once you ask yourself why you would ever cook rice without Tahdig again. Optionally before you put the rice in the oil you can put thin sliced potatos, which would make for an Potato Tahdig, but to get that right its even more difficult than a plain Rice Tahdig, we ourselves still struggle with that, so probably start with rice only. Put a layer of around 2 to 3 thumbs thick of rice into the pot, take the bean and tomato sauce and stack that on top of the rice, also 2 to 3 thumbs thick. Continue with layering until the sauce and rice is finished, the rice should be the last layer. With every layer of rice you put in pour some blossomed saffron over the rice. „Blossomed“ here means that you put the saffron in some water and let it simmer on low heat for some minutes. Saffron can be amazingly expensive in some countries, so how much you’ll use will be depending on where you live or your budget. Generally we would say the more the better. It’ll give the typical taste of Persia, as Iranians use literally tons of it.

When you ́re finished with the stacking put a cotton kitchen towel around the lid of the pot, which will help to keep the steam inside the pot, so the before „al dente“ rice will be steamed to finish. Leave the pot on a small to medium heat for some 30 minutes while not letting the steam escape by opening the lid many times, which is another secret to a perfect rice. The crux here is to get the rice finished without the Tahdig at the bottom getting burned, you’ll probably need some tries to get it right, but if you do you’ll know that it was worth it. After around 30 minutes you can open the lid and check if the rice is finished and if it is you can stir and mix the rice with the bean/tomato sauce, The rice will get a beautiful yellow and red color and the aromas of sauce, rice and saffron will have merged.

Lubia Polo traditionally is a side dish, we recommend some white bread to go with it, best coming from a wood fire oven, maybe some salad. As there are often vegetarians under us we most of the time cook without meat, if you don’t wanna dispense on meat, you can put it in the bean/tomato sauce, traditionally Iranians use lamp for their Lubia Polo.

Enjoy! And „Nush e jahn!“ -Farsi for „enjoy your meal“, which translates to „Nourish your soul“

We’re curious on your Lubia Polo experience – you’re very welcome to send us a photo or tag @snowmads on Instagram.

Video Recommendation:
Happy camping, happy cooking and good times in the Snowmads Truck

Photo Credits
Florian Breitenberger
Anjuna Hartmann

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How to… Van Life with Fabian Lentsch

Find out how to live in an old, refurbished fire truck. Fabi is taking you on a truck tour through the Snowmads Truck.

(C) Florian Breitenberger

Curious what’s inside the Snowmads Truck?
Fabi is showing you around in the truck, gives some interesting insights on how he’s living in this adventure vehicle and even reveals some van life hacks for your next adventure on four wheels.

That video was shot back in 2016 when Fabi and the Snowmads headed off for their first trip A Journey Towards Eastern Suns.

Enjoy!

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Sharing the Stoke in Armenia

The Snowmads on their journey to the east

This Episode sees the Snowmads venture off course following some botched navigation, but after some backtracking, the boys find their way to Aragatz, Armenia. With less-than-ideal conditions, the crew set out to enjoy the culture, meet some local folks, and share the stoke of skiing. Sometimes, it’s less about that perfect big mountain line, and more-so, having fun with your friends and embracing the cool places skiing can take you.

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Fresh Tracks in Iran

Good times and fresh snow in the Iranian mountains

What happens when you take an old fire truck and refurbish it into the ultimate ski-mobile, pack it full with professional skier Fabian Lentsch and his crew of Snowmads , and hit the road on a massive road trip in search of powder? The absolute journey of a lifetime! In this episode the boys head to Iran and meet up with some of the locals to claim some fresh tracks and good times on the mountain.

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Skiing Epic Dirt Lines in the Middle of the Desert 

Of Dirt Spines and Brown Pow

So the skiing wasn’t all chest deep powder, it happens. But that didn’t stop Fabi & Co. from ripping fresh lines throughout the Middle East. When the crew stumbled upon some of the finest dirt spines that Qeshm Island, Iran could offer, there was no hesitation to strap on the boots and hike up for some virgin tracks… in the middle of the desert. That’s adventure.